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  • Elijah Ricks

Stuffy

Updated: Sep 18

We almost made it through this week without any illnesses...


Last Saturday afternoon, the kids were invited to swim in the neighbors' pool, so they went to do that while Apollo played with their dog. I worked on taking apart our old box spring. It had just been sitting on my workbench because I just couldn't bring myself to work on it as I was still recovering from COVID. I finally did finish taking it apart. It was probably a waste of time, but I saved the wood that might be useful for something in the future (or I'll just burn it), and I figured I'd recycle the metal spring. The spring lived in the bed of my truck for the rest of the week until I could take it to the recycle place.


Anyway, the kids came back from the pool, and so I cut Merritt's and Jesse's hair for their school pictures later in the week. Carver puts up such a huge fight over his haircuts that I decided to let him be in charge of his hairstyle. When he's ready for a cut, he can come to me. I'd say he's about 3 weeks overdue, but what do I know?


Kira took the dog and Merritt on a walk just before bedtime. Merritt's made some great progress on his reading this year. He surprised us a couple of weeks ago when he brought home a library book and then proceeded to read through the whole thing himself, needing help with only a couple of words.


We learned that Isaac made it safely back to Colorado that night. We also learned later in the week that he's a much closer step to getting into the piloting school to which he applied, so we're wrestling with celebrating his success and the agony of the idea that he won't come live near us.


It was rainy all day on Sunday, as if to mourn Isaac's absence. I got the kids off to church and then baked and cooked to have a meal ready for when they all got home. The big news was that Kira was released as Relief Society President, and Hannah was released, too. Kira then was called to be Primary President, and we should find out Hannah's next calling soon. Hannah opted to stay home after church so that she could catch up on chores and prepare for a talk she's giving at church tomorrow (on "listening").


After we had lunch, Jesse wanted some help getting a rat into a harness he and Avey had purchased the day before. Unfortunately, the harness itself was too small for the most docile rat, so instead I fashioned a larger one out of a shoelace, and we used the little leash that came with the original harness. Templeton was not thrilled to be in it, but when we got him outside, he seemed to enjoy exploring.

Of course, the grass was all wet from the rain over most of the day, but he tolerated it pretty well.


Merritt got on an obsession to earn some money for a new video game, and so I came up with several ideas for things for him to do, and then supervised him for the afternoon. He nearly got to his goal that night, and then finished it up the following morning right before school.


Hannah did join us in the evening for a while. Avey stayed up late working on a school project.


It was another rainy day on Monday. I let Kira sleep in a little in the morning, getting the kids ready for school. I then drove Avey to school, and came home to do lots of work for my day job. Kira left for her day of clients. I had a final meeting for one of my service positions at the university that afternoon, and boy am I glad to leave that one behind me! That will free up a little time to focus elsewhere.


Once the boys were home and occupied, I spent some time building a large waterproof tray to put under the rat cage. Its purpose is to catch all of the little paper bedding that the rats tend to shove out of the cage and onto the floor. It seems to be working out so far. Now to deal more with the stench of the vermin... Our next goal is to try putting some charcoal odor absorbers around in the tray I just made. Avey also found out that the plastic platforms I made probably encourage them to do their business there instead of in the litter box, so I've removed those to see if that makes a difference. I suppose our next alternative is that I have my olfactory epithelium removed. I barely use it anyway.


Tuesday was typical stuff. I had a very busy day in the city, even without any afternoon course. I spent a lot of the time playing catch-up from last week. The boys were excited by the new video game that Merritt had bought, and so they spent most of their afternoon focused on that. It was a standard evening otherwise.


Wednesday was also more of the usual. It was picture day for the younger two, and so we spent a little more time on the boys' hair styling and clothes. I had a busy day ahead. I had planned to cut the grass, but it was soaked outside, so I decided I should let it dry out first. I instead did some work, and then Kira and I went to Costco for our month supply of food. Hannah came by to pick up her Costco stuff when we were back, and then left to drive the bus. I cut the grass and line trimmed while Kira left to pick up Avey from school to run some errands and go to an appointment. The boys came home right after I finished with the yard work. Jesse was very motivated to finish his homework because he had arranged with a friend on the bus to go over to his house. I checked in with the boy's grandmother, who usually watches him, and she said it would be fine, so I sent Jesse over once he was done with his homework. He ran into the boy's mother in the driveway, and she sent him home. Apparently grandma didn't know the plan that day, and so Jesse came home pretty disappointed, but he handled it well. The boys were able to play the next day, at least.


I worked with the other boys on their homework until the ladies made it home. For Carver's cello practice, I sat at the piano and played along with him. That evening, Jesse was focused on the upcoming talent show. At the moment, he's trying to figure out how he can play the "Imperial March" from Star Wars on my French horn and then choreograph an epic light saber battle on stage. I spent some time working out how to play the song on the horn, but of course it took me several years to get proficient, and he's going on a total of 20 minutes working on it, so progress is slow. We'll see if he keeps working on it or comes up with another idea...


Thursday was a typical day in the city again. Classes went well, and then I came home on the train/bus ride to help with dinner and bedtime. During the day, Kira had a meeting with the previous Primary President to get oriented, and that went well. She also stopped by to visit Hannah while she was in the neighborhood. Before I made it home, she and the boys went on a walk around the neighborhood to find another one of Merritt's friends. Now that we know where they live, it might be easier to get them together. They've been talking about sleepovers and such, but I just can't imagine Merritt making it through a night away, so we may have to try it at our house sometime.


Friday morning, Avey needed to be at school earlier than usual to take a make-up test. I drove her while Kira dealt with the boys. Carver had a sore throat the day before, but Friday morning he was also stuffed up, so we kept him home. I was home in time to see the other two boys off, and then I met Hannah to play racquetball. We had to cut it a little short so that I could get home in time for another stupid meeting, and then I did work. Kira spent most of the morning trying to figure out how to deal with a difficult-client situation. She came up with a solution and now we'll see what happens. Carver seems to have average energy, but is just dealing with the nose and throat, so we hope he'll be back to normal in another day or so. Merritt was a little stuffy on his way to school, but he's been worse since coming home, so he seems to be a day or so behind Carver. So far, the rest of us are alright.


I took my box spring to the recycling place that morning, earning a whopping $4, so that's maybe 50 cents per hour of labor. Stay in school, kids. I came home to be with Carver while Kira picked up Avey to take her to lunch on the way to the chiropractor for some maintenance. They were back just before the bus brought the younger two home. I then left to try to find some charcoal things, but our small town does not have anything like that, so Kira is going to try at a bigger place while she's out today.


I had a little saga this week that I dealt with while out that day, so I'll tell the little story. I got a flier in the mail about how fiber optic internet is available in our area now. I had seen the crew putting in the lines nearby, so tried to sign up. The website sure makes it seem like it's available at our address, so I tried, and it kept getting stuck and told me to call their customer service. I did, and they tried to sign me up also, saying that the service is available, but then it got stuck with them, too. They told me to call back with my order number in a day. I did, and that lady couldn't figure it out either. She called me back after some computer issues, and put me on hold for 10 minutes before telling me that the service isn't yet available at my address, and she didn't know when it would be. So I was a little frustrated, but just gave up. What should happen this morning, but that we get a ring on the doorbell and the fiber optic crew tells us they are going to be running the lines in my backyard now? So that took about 30 minutes, and now the service should be available, and I can go ahead and sign up. This had better be worth it.


Anyway, it was a typical evening getting kids to bed, except that Merritt was flipping out. He was clearly exhausted, but in denial. He did eventually calm down enough to realize how tired he was. He refused any medicine to help his nose clear up, but then came down to ask for some after it became clear that he was going to struggle to breathe all night. That's some pretty big progress for him, so I'll take it.


This morning I was up to break up fights, and then fed everyone. Kira has a stake Relief Society thing to attend, so she's gone for about half of the day. Kira, Hannah, and Avey will go meet a dog that Hannah and Avey will probably tag-team to care for in the near future. Otherwise, I'm just going to try to keep the peace here, and maybe get a few things done.

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