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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks


It was a mildly romantic Valentine's week over here in Northwestern Indiana.

Last Saturday, Kira walked with Jesse over to a friend's house because he really wanted to see if that friend could play with him, but we had not met the parents yet and so we didn't have their number. We also didn't know if they were upstanding citizens of the community or heroin dealers deeply involved in a puppy-murdering cult, so she went to take stock before releasing our 8-year-old to their supervision. They were gone a good long while, so instead of wonder if they had been murdered, I held down the fort over here. I entrusted Carver to a few minutes in charge while I ran Avey downtown where she hung out with her friends. Kira and Jesse came back not long after that - the friend was not able to play at that precise moment, and so they had gone to the neighbor with whom Jesse frequently plays.

With the decent weather, I offered to take Merritt to a park after lunch. He made friends immediately with another boy about his age, and then as soon as that boy had to go home he declared he was bored out of his mind and parks are no fun. We stopped by the library briefly to pick up a couple of shows for him, then came home. I then picked up Avey and we went to pick up some material she could use to give her friends Valentines later in the week. Ivy was over when we got home, and the boys were outside playing with Ivy's human siblings. After they left, Merritt watched one of his library shows and Jesse stayed outside as long as possible. I played catch with him for a while even though it was getting so dark we couldn't see. That kid is going to live outside this spring... The kids bathed and after they were in bed we started a movie with Hannah.

Sunday was a pretty typical morning. Once the kids were ready for church I started taking apart the furnace to see what had been making that squeaking sound every time the heat comes on. It's not very loud, but it's enough that it will keep me awake at night. I had a hard time figuring out where it was coming from, but the fan seemed like the most likely place. I got in far enough to know that it wasn't the things I thought it might be, and then I figured I should put it all back together before I got so deep that I messed stuff up. I scheduled a professional to come figure it out Tuesday. I showered and then drove to pick up the kids from church so that Kira could stay with Hannah and practice a song.

We had lunch at home and then Avey and Jesse cleaned the rat cage while I washed the van and Hannah washed her car while it was pleasant outside. Jesse really wanted to take one of the rats outside, so we did our best to get one in a harness. He did escape briefly, but we got him back with no trouble. Apollo was watching us through the glass door, losing his very little mind the whole time.

Kira and I then took the two younger boys and Apollo to a park for an hour or so until it got too cold again. It was a typical evening of school preparations and bedtime routine. I went to bed early, absolutely exhausted, but I can't say I slept especially well.

Kira let me stay in bed a little longer on Monday, but we got the kids to school between the two of us. I then worked until Hannah came over to join me on the monthly Costco run. It went fairly smoothly, although she was dealing with some pesky texts throughout. We unloaded everything and then Kira left for work and I did grading until the bus came.

Merritt was in a foul mood when he got home. He's been rough for a lot of this week. He just seems extra tired, but lacks the insight, so he is very cranky. We had a normal afternoon of homework. Kira thought she would have a later client, but they postponed and so she was able to be home for bedtime. Hannah brought over a praline cake with homemade whipped cream. That really hit the spot as a little treat before bed.

I slept terribly for some reason, so Tuesday was quite rough for a Valentine's Day. My classes were alright, and Kira dealt with the furnace guys while I was gone. They found a loose screw on a damper down in the crawlspace that was the source of the squeaking. I wished I had thought to look down there. I did grading after my classes and came home. Kira had cut up a pizza into the shape of a heart - that is a small tradition in our marriage, so that was nice.

I swung by the store on the way home to get a pizza that Carver could have. Kira then did a "heart attack" at the front door, leaving a treat and some paper valentines for us to find. Merritt was in rare form again, so all he did was try to ruin everything for the rest of us. We got him to bed not a moment too soon. Hannah was on a bus trip taking a sports team to their event, so she did not join us that evening.

I lingered in bed a little longer on Wednesday and then took Avey to school. Kira had planned a temple trip that day, so she got ready and then left while I worked and then took Apollo on a walk. Jesse went straight into the garage when he got home so that he could ride around on a bike.

He stayed out there to break his pogo stick record several times. I can't imagine having that kind of energy.

Kira was home not too much later, and so we bathed the boys, got them to do homework, and had an otherwise typical evening. Avey stayed late at school to help with the next production. She is on tech crew again, doing spotlight again. She was there until 8:30 that night, but at least they fed her. Hannah came over for TV that night.

For once, I slept great a night before going to the city early. That helped a lot with my long day. It was very cold out and there was icy rain for much of it. Kira had the house under control by the time I made it home. Because there was no school the next day, Kira let the kids watch a movie while I finished up some grading. We got them to bed later, and then Kira was on the phone with her mother while Hannah and I shared the TV.

I was excited to sleep in on Friday for a change, but then I could hear Merritt raging downstairs, so I got up to see what the problem was. I broke up the fight and then used my snowblower for the second time this season, making short work of our 3 inches or so of snow on the driveway.

I then fed two of the boys and went to shower for a meeting. After that was done, I came downstairs and Merritt couldn't seem to keep from saying everything that entered his mind. I offered to take him to a store, and then we waited for Avey to get ready so she could join us. He just kept talking about all sorts of stuff. I fed him lunch, and then he yammered on the whole drive to the store, telling me all about tiger sharks and snowy owls and whatever else he happened to think about. We went to two stores and then came home in time for him to join Jesse and Kira at an indoor play place where Jesse's girlfriend was going to meet them. They had a blast. I managed the house.

I gave Avey a ride to hang out with friends downtown (indoors), and picked her up later. Hannah spent her day off going to the Shedd Aquarium again, so that must have been nice, even if the walk from the train station was very cold. She was tired after that long day, so she stayed home that night. We finished a movie without her.

Merritt Marked Our Soft-Boiled Eggs

We slept in this morning, and then I got up to feed the boys. Our snow is supposed to melt this afternoon, so we shall see what the rest of the day holds for us. Kira has some meetings this evening. We got our tax return, so maybe we will try to take advantage of some of these President's Day sales and get a couch that isn't a death trap!

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