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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks


Last Sunday afternoon, I decided it was time to clean our tub. As I scrubbed, I was devastated to find that the crack the resurface guy had filled in was forming again. That, on top of our still-collapsed ceiling in the laundry room, sent me on a bit of a tailspin about this whole home-owning nonsense. Suddenly, everywhere I looked in our house was just a liability that was sure to break if I looked at it... Thankfully, I was able to keep my wits about me enough to realize that I was mostly just tired, and I should take some deep breaths. I sent an email to the resurface place, worried that they would say there was nothing else to do, and so "good luck getting a brand new tub installed in your narrow bathroom, loser!" I was relieved that he immediately arranged instead to have his guy come back out to repair the crack at no cost. Whew!

Monday was a typical morning. I calculated final grades for most of my courses and sent out the bad news. I then spent the next couple of days dealing with the students who were surprised to find that they hadn't done anything all semester, and a few who hoped to get just a couple of more points at the last minute. I dealt with them on a case-by-case basis.

Kira had lots of clients. She left in the morning for her appointments, and so I kept Merritt from the brink of madness. I baked Carver some cookies, and Merritt rode his bike while I walked Apollo in the neighborhood. I noticed that Merritt was looking awfully big on his bike, so I mentioned it to him. He likes everything just the way it is, though, so he dismissed my concerns.

Kira got home for her afternoon break just as Hakan came off the bus. I left for a couple of errands to include picking up Carver from robotics club. While out, Avey texted us that she had missed the bus because she was changing after swimming in gym. It was the first time they'd actually gotten in the pool, and so it was new enough that she hadn't worked out the timing. I had time to run by and pick her up before getting Carver, so I did that. Carver told us all about robotics. Their robot is all done, and so now they are doing some little competitions with the other groups: they have several tasks that the robots have to complete, and they assign points based on how well they do.

At home, Hakan was playing with the neighbor kids. They have an older sister who lives with her dad in Chicago, but she was over here to visit her mom for a couple of days. Her little sister insisted that she come over to meet Avey, who is her same age, and so she came over and awkwardly chatted with us for a while. The kids eventually went into the backyard, and so they lingered out there for about an hour. She said, "You guys have a nice yard!" so she's welcome over here anytime.

Kira left for her evening clients, and we wouldn't see her until late, but her appointments went very well. After dinner, Merritt asked if he could go to bed early, so I took a big sip of water so that I could then spit it out in shock and disbelief. He was asleep by the time Hakan was ready for bed.

Hakan's Impression of an Egyptian Pharaoh

I let Kira sleep in Tuesday morning and got the kids to school. I then had a dissertation to read. It was short, but too short, and so it needs quite a bit of work. The roof guy came over in the morning to have us sign some paperwork for if he can get the new roof approved. He still didn't have a firm date for our ceiling repair, but told me that they had decided to outsource it to another company. So now I'm not sure why I'm still talking to him, but maybe if he can get us a new roof I'll shut my mouth.

Kira and Merritt did his virtual preschool, and he had a good time making more crafts and practicing drawing. Kira was especially impressed that he worked so long on it, as he'd probably never sustained a focus on drawing for that long before.

Merritt and I went on another bike ride and Apollo walk. I was again struck by how large he seemed on the bike, so I tried raising his seat, but it was at its maximum height. When we got home to the garage, I suggested he try out a larger bike a neighbor gave us. I put on the training wheels and moved over his bell and everything, and he seemed excited to try it. He rode on it in the garage for a while and decided that it will do just fine.

After a few minutes, he said he was done with his old bike, and so I put it out in our lawn with a "free" sign on it. I had painted it and replaced the tires some time ago, and so I was a little sad to see it go, but glad that another kid could use it. It was gone in a couple of hours. Merritt's ridden his new bike for the last couple of days, and it's working out great!

I ran a few errands that afternoon while Hakan played with the neighbors again. Hannah was over a little earlier than usual, so the boys had fun talking her ear off before bed.

I was up a little earlier than most Wednesdays because I had an appointment for my first COVID vaccine that morning. I fed the boys before heading off to it. It was fine, but the guy in the curtained area next to mine screamed when he got his shot. I pieced together later that he has some developmental disabilities, as he sat near me in the waiting area afterward. Now that they've opened up the Pfizer vaccine to teenagers, I brought it up with Avey, who said she'd think about it.

Kira tried to keep the kids focused on their remote learning, but Hakan was on another kick of procrastination. I did some of my work while Kira took Merritt on a bike ride, and then she took Merritt to his Kindergarten screening. We had not realized that she could not go in with him, and so that caught us all by surprise. Merritt cried when he had to go in by himself, but he went, and the teacher told Kira that he got comfortable shortly after getting in there. She said he did fine on the screening, but we didn't find out more about that. We assume that it was mostly questions about the alphabet and colors and whatever - Merritt's bread and butter.

Kira came home and dropped off Merritt before taking Avey to their chiropractor appointments. I was in a weird place with work, where I had finished all there was to do for my spring semester, but couldn't yet start on my summer preparation (waiting for the university to do some stuff first). So I got going on a few little house projects. I replaced our refrigerator outlet after the GFCI outlet had tripped a few months ago and shut off the fridge. I read up on it, and it's not recommended to use a GFCI outlet for a fridge for exactly that reason, so I finally changed it out to a new one. I then organized and cleaned up the garage for a while. Hakan finally did his remote learning stuff, and so then we all played outside for a good long while. He was excited to hit the baseball for a while, but then quickly switched over to a racquet. The girls came home for dinner. Hakan insisted he wasn't hungry, but as I continued to press, he finally came up with a genius plan - he requested a grilled cheese sandwich with a scrambled egg, cheese, and bacon crumbles on top of it. I shed a tear of pride as I made it for him. He loved it, and requested it again last night.

Avey and I went on some errands to some stores. I got a few of Hakan's birthday presents all lined up on that trip. He reminds us every day how close his birthday is. At home, Hakan and Carver watched some more of Harry Potter. Avey and I were home in time for the bedtime routine, but had a movie we wanted to watch, so we got them in bed and then started our show while Kira was on the phone with a friend. Hannah was busy with a church training that night, so she stayed home.

My shoulder was sore during the night, so that gave me some trouble sleeping, but I was up to get the kiddos off to school before showering and going on a run to a hardware store and then making our Costco run for the month. It went pretty smoothly, and then I was home to unload with Kira and Merritt's help. Merritt thought he was hot stuff carrying his one bag of chips at a time - it was fun to see him feeling more confident and feeling like he was contributing to the family task. After the food was all put away, I assembled a new deck box I had bought at the hardware store: it's quite the step up from our cracked plastic bin that was already too small and whose lid hated to stay in place. I then painted some trash cans we have - I know that sounds stupid, but these cans do not match our bathrooms at all, and so I thought it would be a cheap and easy way to improve the look, and it did.

I went to pick up Avey from her after school club, and she decided we should go see if she could get the vaccine right away. I ran with it, but the place told us that they were pretty swamped and so it would be better if we made an appointment online. I did that as soon as we got home, and got her all set for after school the next day.

Friday I spent the morning getting my summer course ready after a phone meeting with the university. They'd finally gotten around to their changes. They want to make the online courses more universally organized, which is fine, but then that means I have more work to do. They also had some suggestions I didn't like at all, which I will ignore. After that, I fed Merritt lunch while Kira left to visit the bedridden sister in the branch. She is not doing well, and so Kira's pretty concerned. I also moved our digital piano from the front room to our bedroom as we prepare for Kira's grandmother's baby grand piano to arrive (probably in June). I'm excited to have it in the house so I can feel like a real big shot, but now I feel like I really should practice the piano more. The kids have all enjoyed having the digital piano in our room, too - so they serenade us right around bedtime with their compositions and dancing.

The part I'd ordered for our washing machine finally arrived in the mail that day, so I installed it in a few minutes and the leak is gone!

That puffed up my ego nicely for the rest of the day, considering the fact that I know nothing at all about washing machines. Looks like old, balding dogs can learn new tricks...

Anyway, Kira came home and then holed up in our room to do a Relief Society presidency meeting for a couple of hours. I got the boys off the bus and then got them occupied so that I could go pick up Avey for her vaccine. The pharmacy was very busy, so it was good that I had filled out the paperwork ahead of time. Her shoulder was sore right away, but she hasn't had any other side effects, so she's excited to get on the path towards normalcy.

Kira and I both slept in on Saturday morning, and then after breakfast, Kira worked with a friend in Colorado to keep each other working on tasks they had been putting off. While she did that, I supervised children. I gave all the boys haircuts, and then they showered. Then Hakan played with the neighbors, and so at lunch I offered to take the kids to get some drive-through before going to a park. I offered to take the neighbor kids, too, although I regretted that later. The restaurant got our order right, except they forgot the 6-year-old's sauce for his nuggets. I tried to go back inside to get it, but they were all locked up. By then, the drive-through line was 8 cars long, so I wasn't going to wait. He said it was fine, so I believed him. He ended up not eating his nuggets at all.

I walked Apollo at the park while the kids played, although the neighbor girl has a tendency to pick on kids as her way of being entertained. I had to intervene a few times. She then gave me a hard time about putting on her seatbelt before coming home. Anyway, the kids at least had fun, and Kira got a lot done in our absence.

Avey's been dog-sitting for the last few days, so that's been messing with her sleeping a little. She'll be glad to get paid, though. She got signed up for girl's camp this summer, too. She's been working on an art project at nights while we watch TV, so when she's finished maybe I can put photos here.

The weather is finally getting more mild, so I hope that means the boys will want to spend more time outside - like, I don't know, maybe on the playset I built for them. I'll probably spend a lot of this week on preparing my summer course, and hopefully getting some more outside projects done before it gets hot. The kids have another couple of weeks of school, and Hakan won't stop talking about his upcoming birthday...

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