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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Too Much Winter

It was another week dominated by cold weather and so much more snow...

Monday was a pretty standard day of me working from home while Kira tried to keep Merritt from total despair. We had pretty steady snow all day, but Kira did manage to get Merritt to the library for a brief outing, and I took Apollo on a walk in the afternoon to try and keep him from eating us all. That poor dog has had it rough. He doesn't handle cold very well, and the snow has been so deep that it goes above his legs, so that he has a hard time moving around in it. I think he sort of blames us for the weather.

Avey dyed her hair blue again. It had slowly faded to a sort of very light gray, and she had planned to just leave it because of swim class at school. As if to prove to us all that we can't have things we want, her swim teacher broke a bone, and so they couldn't do swim class. Now she spends her PE time walking around a track. They do have plans to get back to swimming, but it won't be until closer to the end of the school year. Anyway, with the delay, she went forward with coloring her hair again. It turned out a little brighter than she'd hoped, so the next day she used another dye to make it darker blue. We somehow don't have pictures yet...

Hannah stayed home Monday night because of the still-accumulating snow, so once the boys were in bed the rest of us tried out a nature documentary about Ugandan wildlife. It was surprisingly riddled with adult themes, making us all blush a bit, but still interesting.

We awoke Tuesday to another 3 inches of new snow on top of what still hadn't melted. School was still on, so I shoveled half of the driveway before coming back inside to get breakfast going for the kids. I shoveled the other half after breakfast, and then did the rest of my work routine. I had to shovel one more time in the afternoon because it snowed more during the day.

Hakan's Requested Hairstyle for a Day

We slept in a bit on Wednesday before getting going on the routine. I had some meetings throughout the day while Kira kept the kids going on their remote learning. They did a pretty good job sticking with it.

From the master bathroom I noticed some large icicles out of our window, but within reach.

I took out the screen and grabbed one to show the kids.

Hakan's been really interested in them for a while, even eating most of an icicle just for fun. Kira caught him on one of the sunny days this week standing under the icicles on the roof and catching their drips in his mouth.

I'm just glad nothing fell on him, as they're getting pretty large, and our roof is rather high.

Hannah made it her project to get Apollo a doggy to play with, as his usual friend's family has to stay with him during playtime or he gets anxious, and they didn't want to sit out in the snow to let them play. She tried Facebook to find someone in the neighborhood, but without much luck (probably just too much snow for everyone). On Wednesday, she went to pick up the dog from a family we know, and brought him to our house. They did play a bit, but the other dog has more of a low-key disposition, so he puttered out after not too long. I took him on a walk in the afternoon to get him some sort of outing. The boys watched Pinocchio during dinner, just to break up the routine a bit.

One of our resolutions for Merritt is to get him to do things besides watch his tablet during meals. It's not that it's entirely a bad thing that he watches, because just yesterday he and I were working on a wooden shapes puzzle and he informed me of which one was a pentagon and which was a hexagon, getting both right. He then told me that that puzzle did not have a heptagon, because those have seven sides. I was impressed to hear that information from a guy who can't even keep his underwear dry, so there's something nice about the educational videos he watches. Anyway, he's bored during meals, and so we have been trying to read books to him, or when his brothers are home we sometimes have them all sit together in a sort of cage match to the death. We're still working on it all, but at least he's making good steps.

Thursday morning was a horrible disappointment to Carver, as he had heard somewhere that a video game we pre-purchased would be playable then, but then it wasn't. He'd even written it on the calendar weeks ago, and has been counting down the days. My sources said it would be ready the following day, so he was thrust back into purgatory for 24 hours. It was otherwise the typical very long day in the city for me. I was surprised at how I found energy in between my courses to work on other things. Usually, I need to just recuperate and keep up on emails that pour in.

I got a really nice email from the department chair (the a person - not inanimate object) to inform me that the dean and he had advocated on my behalf to get me a raise on top of the raise that comes with promotion. It doesn't kick in until August, but it was still good news, and will help to make up for the pay cut they gave us this semester.

Friday, Merritt woke us up with a tantrum that would make a Tasmanian devil blush. I came downstairs to find that the boys had started playing that new video game together, but that when they wanted to try a 2-player option and hoped to get Merritt interested in something else, he decided to hold the Switch hostage. He seemed on the verge of burning the entire city to the ground if he didn't get his way, but I was able to talk him off of the ledge before he did something we'd all regret.

I had a morning full of video calls with prospective doctoral students trying to get into our program. Most of them were great, with one who seemed overly fake and rehearsed, which was rather off-putting. In the last 3 minutes of the interview with one of them, our internet decided it needed a break, so that was rough. I did get back on, fortunately, but I felt bad for the student. I sent her an email that it was all my internet, and wouldn't have any effect on my rating of her.

Kira took Merritt and the car in the morning to go and visit a bedridden sister in the branch, but it was an unfortunate visit, as they had to wait for a while and then she wasn't acting herself due to some medical issues. When they got home, I took the van for our monthly run to Costco. Because I was tied up in the morning, and Hannah couldn't come in the afternoon, I did it alone. It was okay, but more crowded than usual. In any case, I came home when the boys were all back from school, and so they all helped bring the stuff inside: Merritt thought he was hot stuff carrying his one thing at a time.

We were all thrilled to find in the mail valentines from both grandmas. The kids were very excited to get some mail!

I went to pick Avey up from a special drama club meeting to finish the set. She was invited because she was one of the students who actually works during drama club. The teacher provided pizza for the hard workers, so that was a nice treat for her. Whenever I go to pick her up I see some enormous icicles coming off of the buildings. Kira got a photo when she went out.

Friday night, Kira and I went out for our Valentine's date, trying out a restaurant we've seen a few times. It was nice, but just so cold to be out. I seemed to get everything wrong with my order, too. I ordered a soda for my drink, but then realized I probably would have preferred to eat breakfast. I ordered chicken strips because soda doesn't go with breakfast, and thought I'd try their "spicy maple dipping sauce," thinking it would be more like honey mustard, but it was basically just syrup. I may need to try that place again with a clear game plan.

Saturday we awoke to about another 6 inches of new snow. At this point it is just ridiculous how much snow we have. One of our markers for the depth has been the fire pit in the backyard. Kira put in a 2 x 4 to mark where it is. A few days ago we could at least see the top of the bricks, but it's completely buried now.

Carver and I went out to shovel the driveway, but were glad when our neighbor brought by his snow blower. He did about half of it for us, probably saving my back from going out.

Carver then stayed out to play for a while, and I finally convinced Hakan to get dressed and go join him. Carver came inside right about when I got Merritt convinced to go out, but at least they all got out.

One game Merritt and Hakan played was hiding in the bushes behind our trash cans, but of course they couldn't agree on how to share the territory, so just fought. I tried to reason with Merritt about finding his own spot because Hakan had already staked his claim. He just screamed at me, so I said, sarcastically, "Oh, you're fun." He shouted back, "No! I'm! NOT!" Too right, bud.

Because they couldn't seem to get along in the front, I suggested we build snow walls around the trampoline in the backyard and they could make it a little hideout cave thing. So that's what we did then.

That made for a fun and exhausting morning of shoveling snow for me, but at least they had fun.

For lunch, we thought we'd all go out to eat and then make some trips to stores, as Avey was hunting for some clothing items, and everybody needed to get an outing. Merritt completely refused to go anywhere, so that split us up. I took the other kids to the restaurant, and then Kira took them to stores. Merritt let me cut his hair while they were gone (it just needed a little more fixing), and then he showered. They came home and Kira worked on unloading the car of a lot of food she'd picked up from someone who didn't want it. We kept a few items we can use and she took the rest to the church today to see if she could find someone needing it.

We got the boys to bed and Hannah opted to stay home again as the snow was still falling. We woke up to another inch or two on the driveway, and it's snowing right now, too.

There's some hope of warmer weather in another week or so, but this next one looks like a whole lot of winter. The kids are excited to have Monday off for President's Day, but I have some meetings, and Kira has clients to see, so maybe they'll be willing to just play in the snow or something...

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