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  • Elijah Ricks

Winter Blunderland

Updated: 5 days ago

We finally have some hope of getting out from under the snow, but this week sure made us pay for it.


We've had lots more snow throughout the week. Avey and Hakan even went out to shovel what was on the driveway last Sunday, and they all played outside for a good while even though it was bitterly cold.


Once we were all inside and warm, we played a family favorite game called "Thimble Full of Water." You put some water in a thimble (hence the name, "Thimble Full of Water"), and then you come up with something that everyone is supposed to guess at. If they guess what it is, you douse them with the thimble full of water. Merritt, of course, can't just play the game - he has to script exactly what will happen. So he'll tell us what he wants us to guess, and it's always a color. We all know that he'll choose yellow, because he never deviates from that. However, he will tell everyone their part. "Mommy, you get it wrong. Avey, you get it wrong. Carver, you get it right." So then we sit there like idiots and go through the whole script. Merritt really enjoys it, but when we try to introduce uncertainty again, he protests.

It was Valentine's Day, of course, but for a Sunday not a lot was out of the ordinary. However, Hakan and Carver made Valentines. Hakan's was just for Kira, but Carver's was for both of us.

Here's what it says on the back:

"Dear Mom and Dad, I couldn't have better parents than you two. I couldn't be as smart as I am right now if it wasn't for you two. Thank you for being my parents. Love, Carver.


That kid sure knows how to win us over! Hakan's was very cute, too. He wrote how he loves all the hugs and kisses and cuddles that Kira gives him.

We enjoyed a dinner of rotisserie chicken with baked potatoes that I prepared, although we got the chicken pre-seasoned, which was nice. Hannah came over for dominoes that night.


In the wee hours of the morning, we heard Merritt making some soft whining sounds, and then we learned in the morning that Avey had heard him and took him to the potty during the night. That sure was thoughtful!


Monday was Presidents' Day, so the kids were off of school. Good thing, too, because we awoke to about another 8 inches of snow piled on top of what hadn't melted yet.

I shoveled half of the driveway before coming in to start the breakfast routine. The older boys then volunteered to help with the second half after we ate. They did a good job, and by the time we finished the snow pile at the end of the driveway was taller than they are.

Kira had a phone appointment with a client in the morning, and then in the afternoon, Hakan went to play with a neighbor kid in the snow. Merritt wanted nothing to do with the snow that time, and I frankly couldn't blame him - I don't want anything to do with it anymore either. I recorded a lecture and then had a phone meeting in the afternoon, during which Kira left for her evening client. The snow kept coming down all afternoon, and then I found Merritt was crying in his bed about how bored he was. I suggested he go outside, which he shot down again, and then I suggested he could play in the bathtub, which changed his entire world. He had a grand time in a bubble bath. Hannah let me know that, because the snow was supposed to fall all through the night, they had declared a remote learning day for Tuesday. The kids were glad to hear of that.

After getting the kids ready for bed, I figured that I should shovel what had accumulated on the driveway so far. Hakan and Merritt came out to help - putting their coats over their pajamas. It was dark by then, but at least there wasn't any wind. Hakan worked really hard on the 3 inches or so that had accumulated. Merritt shoveled around in random directions, but at least he put in the effort. We finished the driveway so that Kira could get up it when she got home, and then I put the boys to bed. Kira got home shortly after that, and then she and Avey and I sat down to finish a movie. We were done a little after 10, and then I went back out to shovel another 3 or 4 inches off of the driveway before going to bed. Avey came out to help after a few minutes, and then Kira came out to help, too. Shoveling the snow isn't so bad, but now we're at a point where we have to lift it up about 4 feet to toss it on top of the piles that are already there. That's what really makes the muscles sore.

Accumulation on the Shed

After we finished the driveway, Avey went in the backyard to clear a little path that Apollo could use when he needs to do his business. Even so, he wanted nothing to do with the outdoors.

I awoke Tuesday glad that we had shoveled what was there the night before. I went out to shovel up another 4 inches or so that had accumulated overnight, and then came in to help with the breakfast routine. I then did my work and taught class while Kira kept the kids on task with their remote learning assignments.


In the afternoon, I picked up Hannah for a trip to the hardware store. Although our forecast had very little snow in it from there on, I figured I should see if they had any snow blowers. If I bought one, then I could guarantee it wouldn't snow any more for the season, and that was alright with me. I asked someone there and she said that they were completely sold out of all snow blowers and even snow shovels. I had feared that, but at least I saved the money for now. I'm glad they had more rock salt, anyway. I bought the other things I needed, but Hannah was disappointed to find that they did not actually have the item she wanted, even though it is listed as "in stock" online at that store. Thanks a lot, internet.


When we made it home, I baked Carver some gluten free cookies and got dinner going for the kids. It snowed most of the day, but the forecast said it was supposed to stop at 4. It didn't really let up until maybe 8:00, though, so Hannah decided to stay home for the evening. At bedtime, Merritt invented a new game, where he plays catch with Avey or whoever at the same time that I try to hit the ball with pillows. He calls it "pillow fight catch."


The morning came far too early on Wednesday when Carver came in during the night, crying because his eye hurt. Kira got up to try to flush out whatever was in there. He eventually went back to bed, and then woke up feeling fine later. We never figured out what it was, but we're just glad we're mostly done with these night interruptions. We were both exhausted the rest of the day, so I was glad to not have to teach, but I still had phone meetings with prospective students. I was so glad to not have to shovel any stupid snow the whole day.


After I ate lunch, I took Apollo on a walk and then Kira took Avey to drama club. I had a phone meeting in the afternoon, and then I gave Apollo an overdue bath and went to pick Avey up. When we got home, Kira was in the front yard with the boys and some neighbor kids playing in the snow. They worked on converting our old snow fort (that got filled in with new snow) into a snow cave.

Hakan's been working on it throughout the week, also, although it probably won't last this next week.


Hannah joined us for the evening, and reported that her work place is now starting to get moved over to the first floor of the house where she lives (she lives upstairs). By the end of the week, it was officially moved over, and so we'll see how that works out. I'm sure she's happy to not have to go far, but it might end up being too close to where she sleeps. I just hope she doesn't get a bunch of calls all the time asking her to just pop down and do a few tasks for people who aren't there...


Thursday took me back to the city for my long day. Things were pretty average in that it was exhausting. For my last class of the day, so many students had things they wanted to talk about after we were done that I didn't get off of the video call until 3 hours after we started class. That wiped me out for most of Friday, too.

This Lawn Chair's Been Getting Dripped On

At home, Kira said it was a very smooth day. Some shoes that Avey had ordered came, but they were just a little too big, even though they were the same size as the ones she had tried on at the store. They were a slightly different model, but we didn't expect that much difference. Hannah came over in the evening before I was home, but she mostly entertained herself because Kira was on the phone with her mom, and Avey was working on building a Rube Goldberg contraption for science class. It turned out really nice - she showed me a video of it when I got home at 10:45 that night.


Friday morning I woke up before the alarm, so I turned it off and let Kira sleep in. I did the breakfast routine and got the boys out the door to wait for their bus, and then I drove Avey to school before coming back and finishing Merritt's breakfast. Kira had a lunch scheduled with a sister from the branch, who asked her to be her matron of honor at her wedding in 2022. She was rather surprised at the invitation, but it's sure a nice gesture. After that, she and Merritt went on some errands to stores before picking up Avey from drama club.


I finished up the work I had to, and then took Apollo on a long walk. I was home in time to greet the boys off of the bus, and then got dinner going while Kira unloaded the car from her errands. It was a typical evening for us, with Hannah joining for most of a movie.


On Saturday, we slept in a bit. I made a quick trip to the post office and then I wanted to get some of the snow cleared off of the roof. The forecast for Sunday was finally getting above freezing, and I was starting to worry about the ice dams that had formed in our gutters. I used a push broom to clear off about 3 feet of snow from the edges of the roof all around. It was crazy cold, and notably dangerous, but I was very careful, and kept reminding myself that I have life insurance.


With that done, I showered and took Carver and Avey to some stores. We returned Avey's shoes she'd bought online, and then got her a pair that fit at the store. We then ran to another store where she picked out some new sheets for her bed.


Once home, I gave Hakan a touchup hair trim, as I hadn't gotten his new style quite right the last time. We did the usual bedtime routine, although the boys were suddenly very interested in exercise, so they tested out Avey's weights.

Avey told me that her light was out, and so was Carver's. That had happened a few months ago, but I had jiggled some wires in the attic and they came back on. It was late, so I figured I'd leave it for Sunday to figure out.


Hannah came over to get some dough ready for calzones the next day, and then we finished our movie.


Sunday, after getting the boys fed and dressed for church, I started to troubleshoot the electrical problem. Because both times they went out when Carver turned on his light, I figured I'd start with his switch. It wasn't getting any power, so I checked his ceiling fan, but it wasn't getting power either. I went into the attic to trace the wires and see where the power source to Carver's room was. The fun part was that, because I was alone, I used the baby monitor to watch the lights and see if they came on when I jiggled specific wires. I tried to get Apollo to let me know what was up, but he just stared at me like I was speaking Greek or something. Long story short, I figured out that there was a wire in Avey's ceiling fan that wasn't making good contact with the other wires, so I got that all fixed and put everything back together. What's stupid is that it's my fault in the first place, because it's probably a problem I created when I wired Avey's closet light to her ceiling light. But I tested it and it worked great for 6 months or so before there were any problems! The lights all work now, at least. I was just cleaning up as everyone else came back from church, and now we're anxiously awaiting our calzones as the dough rises.


The weather is above freezing today, and is supposed to get there each day this week, so I'm keeping a close eye on our gutters, hoping the ice melts fast enough to keep the other water from pooling on the shingles. Of course, it's supposed to snow later this afternoon...


Let's hope that we'll see this snow melt away and maybe things will look more like spring soon!

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