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  • Elijah Ricks

The Winds of Summer

We had a full week of wild weather, lots of playing and work, and some pretty good fun.

We kicked things off with another trip to the huge parking lot where the kids could freely ride their bikes and scooters with minimal worry of traffic. We all went this time, so Apollo sniffed around while everyone else explored on wheels.

I made an attempt at repairing my flat tire, but the hole is in the worst possible place (right next to the valve), and I don't have the correct glue. I tried a glue made for shoes, and seem to have slowed the leak, but it's still there [sigh]. At least I can enjoy watching the kids' freedom.


Monday I started off with work stuff, and then got a disappointing email that made it sound like all of my courses would be taught online again. I don't mind that so much as all of the work that it meant I would have to put into recording the rest of my lectures on top of all else I have to do. So while I tried to adjust that into my planning, I then got another email stating that at least one of my courses is going to be on campus, probably. So now I don't know what's happening. I think it would solve a lot of problems if that one course is on campus, because that would give me access to my very quiet office where I could record my lectures without fear of whining dogs and screaming children interrupting. I suppose nothing will be solidified for some time, still.

Kira had a busy day of her work again, with 4 clients and followup work keeping her away until late at night. It sounds like things are going pretty well, though. The boys were good for me during dinner and then for bed.


Tuesday was rainy off and on, but when Kira needed some time for phone calls, I took Merritt to ride his bike while Avey walked Apollo. It was pretty windy all day, and we got rained on a little bit on the ride, but what was crazy is that a gust of wind came, and I heard a loud crack, then looked to see what it was and saw a tree split right down the middle, and one half fall into the front lawn of a house. It was wild, and I was so glad that the tree missed their house, as it looked heavy enough to do some damage. I was a little paranoid over the next few days as it was still really windy, and I kept thinking what if a large branch broke off and fell from a tree while the kids or I were under it? We have some trees in our backyard that are probably 100 feet high. They are far enough from the house that I think our structures would be fine, but anybody in the yard would be fair game.


Wednesday morning had two phone meetings in the morning for me, both of which were painful. Both were for dissertations for my students. One of them made a mistake with the automated emails, and so now, long story short, she has to throw out all of her dissertation data and start over. Thanks a lot, ethics board. The other is a student who seems bored with his own project, and so I'm not sure what else to do about it. I'm supposed to make sure it's methodically sound, but I have a hard time putting so much time into it when it just doesn't seem all that important to him.

Wednesday was especially busy because our new neighbor asked us to babysit his kids while he ran other kids to their parents. They are good kids, but with me stuck on the phone, and Kira feeling like no one else is watching them, it was a bit stressful. Add onto that the gusty wind all day (apparently originating with the hurricane down south). We were both tired the whole day, and so when our other neighbor invited us to use her pool, we both felt like that was too much to handle, so we tried letting Avey go with Kira while I kept the boys at home, and let them run through the sprinklers. That went pretty well, except that Kira meant to get some work done, but just chatted with the neighbor, and then the boys spotted Avey in the pool from their bedroom window. They didn't put up much of a fuss, at least.

Thursday was better, for me at least, because Kira let me sleep in, and then I awoke to find that I'd been paid early, so then Hannah and I decided to make our Costco run. That let me skip out on my schoolwork I've been finding tedious, and then in the afternoon I trimmed our hedges that have been getting a little obnoxious.


Friday, after a normal morning of work, I took it easier than usual, and Kira prepared to take the kids to try fishing. Poor Merritt misunderstood the plan, and thought that they were leaving right then, and so he climbed into the van and buckled himself in like a good big boy, but everyone else was inside, getting things and themselves ready. After a few minutes, the motion-sensor light turned off, and so Merritt was left in pitch-black, strapped into the car. Although he is good at buckling himself, he lacks the strength to unbuckle himself, and so he was in the dark, screaming and struggling for several minutes before Kira realized that she hadn't seen him for a while. We were all horrified to learn that he was out there, scared out of his mind for several minutes. We talked him through some things he can do next time, like not buckling himself without someone there, being sure to turn on the light switch, and I will disengage the motion-sensor so that someone has to use the switch for the light to be on or off. His mood seemed back to normal quickly, but his eyes were puffy from crying for the rest of the day. We made sure to process it with him several more times and reassure him.


Anyway, Hakan's been pining for a fishing trip, so Kira was good enough to let him try. Unfortunately, the lines got tangled almost immediately, and they spent most of the trip trying to get them untangled. I just couldn't justify skipping another day of work, but I felt guilty about not being there to help with the poles. In any case, they enjoyed the outdoors.

Since the wind died down, the weather has been glorious, with warm sunshine, but a cool breeze, so I've been pushing the outside, too. Saturday morning, after Kira let me sleep in again and then made the family waffles, I broke up the last of the wood from the old shed, and in the afternoon Kira had arranged to do a sort of joint-project support phone meeting with her friend in Colorado, where they would work on their own big projects and check in with each other over the phone to be moral supports. Kira worked to arrange the kids' clothing that has been sitting in totes and bags in our bedroom since before the dawn of humankind, and feels like she made good progress during their time.


I took the boys on a picnic, getting cheeseburgers on the way to a park we know and love. They were thrilled to find that the playground had reopened, so they had a good time swinging and sliding for the first time in months, and then we went exploring on the trails. Hannah had gone birding that morning and came home to discover about 6 ticks on her clothing while she was sitting for breakfast. We were, therefore, especially vigilant at checking ourselves when we got home.

Apollo has been acting himself for the last several days. We still don't know what it was that was making him feel ill, but that shot they gave him seems to have done the trick. He's barking at passersby again, and he's running a lot more, and his appetite has returned to normal.


Avey's been dog-sitting for the neighbors again, earning an honest living, and they've invited us to use their pool in their absence, but with how cool the breeze has been, we're not sure we're up for it. We may try it later today, as Hakan has been dying to try out these flippers he bought himself with birthday money. He's been wearing them around the house since they came in the mail, waddling everywhere like a penguin with awesome hair.


I didn't get to many projects this week, which was kind of nice to not feel the need. I did fill in some wall gaps in the garage in more preparation for painting, and I added some supports to my bottom shelves in the garage. I took out the stump of an old bush that Merritt has tripped over twice, and of course trimmed the hedges and broke up the old shed materials.


This is our last full week at home before making our trek out to the Cope Family Reunion and impromptu semi-reunion of Rickses. I'm going to try to squeeze in as much semester prep as I can, although I have more phone calls this week, too. It looks like we'll need to enjoy our cooler weather while we can, because it's supposed to be hot out west!

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