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  • Elijah Ricks

The Great Reopening

Happy Father's Day!


We kicked off this week with a whole lot of busy. Hannah's car has had a rattle in the exhaust pipe when it idles, and she was able to narrow down about where it was, but needed to call on the professionals to see if they could resolve it. I drove her down to the mechanic in the morning, and dropped her off at work on my way home where I had a video meeting scheduled. I was nervous about how the meeting was going to go; It was a dissertation defense, and I had offered the student some fairly extensive feedback that she did not really implement into her revisions. I was worried we would butt heads or her faculty mentor would want to argue about it, but I felt pretty firmly about it, so I didn't want to budge. Luckily, the meeting went very well, and although the student was still not very receptive, I got a clear sense from the mentor that she understood and agreed with me.

I then did some of my other Roosevelt work, making decent progress before going to pick up Hannah from work. Just as we were nearing home, she got the call from the mechanic that her car was ready - they think they know what the rattle is, but it's nothing pressing, and they are having trouble finding a replacement part, so she's going to hold off for now. She did get new brakes, though.


Kira had clients coming that afternoon, and then had a phone call scheduled for the rest of the evening, so I dealt with the kiddos the rest of the day. They were fairly cooperative, and then at bed time we somehow got into a discussion about taxes. The older two boys were pretty interested, so they kept asking questions and it went on for a while. It was kind of funny, and who knows what sorts of dreams that set them up for during the night.

Tuesday I got some pretty decent work done in the morning while the kids did their usual playing and such. Kira left to get some blood drawn, and then had a phone call in the afternoon for her church calling, so I figured I should get the kids out of the house. We opted to try out the playground that is next to a dog park. Hannah stayed with Apollo, and I stuck with the boys while Avey stayed home to work on projects. Apollo didn't play as much as he used to, which may have been partially due to the heat, partly because of the dogs there, and maybe he's not feeling 100% back to normal yet. It was the first time that Merritt had been on a swing since the lockdowns, and it was magical to see his reaction to swinging again. He always loved swinging, but this time was like it was the first time he had ever done it - he was giggling with glee like he'd never had more fun.


That night, Kira had a haircut appointment set up with our new neighbor, as it turns out that she cuts hair professionally. Some schedule issues came up so that she had to postpone, but she did eventually get it cut later in the week. Here's the before-and-after:

Isn't she smokin'? She wasn't sure whether it was long enough to donate to a charity, but measured after and found that it was. She's arranged to donate it to a place that makes wigs for children who are getting cancer treatments.

Wednesday was a nice, productive work morning for me, so that I'm feeling less pressure to get everything set for the start of the semester. We had thought about maybe making it a beach day, as the weather was hot, but we decided to try later in the week, because Kira's been feeling the need to get supplies for our upcoming road trip. Two of the boys needed summer shoes, Avey needed a new tank top, and things like that, so we made the afternoon a shopping excursion. We didn't find everything we'd hoped for, but there's this new thing out now called the "internet," so we tried it out for most of the rest.


Kira took a couple of kids to the dentist in the morning on Thursday while I listened for the others and tried to do some of my day-job work. They came back with clean bills of health, and word that Carver's got a small army of permanent teeth getting ready to pounce on his baby teeth. He has two loose teeth now, so we're sure to get several visits from the tooth fairy this year. Once I called it quits for the day on Roosevelt work, I was feeling pretty anxious to get some house projects done, so I spent a couple of hours on that. I replaced a hinge on one of our gates because the boys bent it swinging on the gate, and it wouldn't close properly anymore. I got that fixed and added a third hinge so that it will hopefully tolerate more weight. I also use a firebrick adhesive to glue my fire pit bricks together. The mortar I had used was not doing anything to keep them together, so I upped my game. I'm glad to have that done.

Avey's Art Project

Friday was the party day. It was forecast to be hot, so we made it a beach day. We wanted to leave as soon as we could, so I came downstairs to start breakfast in a bit of a haze, and I flipped out a bit when I found that the refrigerator was off. The lights were off and the control panel wouldn't do anything, so I started panicking like we'd need to move all of our food to a neighbor's house or something while we got a repairman over. As I woke up more, I got my troubleshooting brain working and tried plugging it into a different outlet. It came on, and so then I noticed that the outlet behind the fridge had been tripped (it's GFCI). That hadn't happened before, so I hope it was an isolated incident. In any case, we're thrilled to not need a new fridge.


We left for the beach as soon as we could to try and beat the crowds (a lot of people come from Illinois), and we got a great parking spot. The problem with getting there early is that the water is still pretty cold, but fortunately the kids didn't care.

Avey and I took shifts strolling the beach with Apollo, who mostly hoped to scavenge dropped food, but enjoyed several comments on how adorable he is. Hannah joined us after she was done at work, and found us with some luck as we don't have cell service there. It probably helps that we almost always go the same spot. We were all out of sunblock when she got there, but we ran into some family friends there who had plenty of sunblock to share.

We came home in the early afternoon and began the grueling process of cleaning up. I was dragging all day for the inadequate sleep, but it was nice to chill out in the evening while Kira was off getting her hair cut.


Saturday was to be spent on road trip preparation, so I got our snack bin packed, made treats, and packed myself. Kira spent most of the day working on laundry. Hakan had made a deal with Avey where they would split a personal fan she bought, so she asked him to pay for half of it. He'd just spent all of his money on our shopping trip earlier in the week, so he was in the mood for some chores. Kira and I got him doing all sorts of things, and he was a good little trooper, even helping to fold and organize some of the laundry.


With things opening back up, and using some Father's Day money from a gift, I took Kira out on a date Saturday night. The restaurant was operating at 50% capacity, so we had to wait for a table (they won't take reservations), but it was nice to have a quiet restaurant.


Today was the first day that church was held back in the building, although meetings were kept especially short. I got the kids fed and dressed while Kira got herself ready, and then off they begrudgingly went. It's going to be hard to get back into that routine.


This next week is mostly going to be driving in the stupid car. We've got to do some packing today and tomorrow, but then Kira has a lot of clients tomorrow, so she'll be gone for about half of the day. We take off on Tuesday morning and hopefully everything will go smoothly!

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