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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

As Cool as School

Updated: Aug 15, 2022

This week brought the school year, lots of work with wheels, and squirrel deaths.

Last Saturday afternoon, it was very hot and humid, and so I took Merritt back to the splash pad again where he had a good time and I roasted. Nobody else wanted to come, so they all lounged at home while Kira tried to get her several obligations fulfilled.

We came back home and I whipped up some gluten-free cookies with Carver's help, and then it was a typical evening of dinner, bedtime, and TV with the ladies.

Sunday morning was pretty standard also. Once the kids were off to church with Kira, I messed with the truck some more, trying to locate the source of the creaking sound in the suspension. I decided that what needed to happen was to remove both front wheels to get a better look at everything, and probably better access. Of course, I wouldn't have time for it that morning as I needed to pick the boys up from church while Kira stayed for a meeting. I brought them home for lunch and then I cooked for Kira and Hannah once they were on their way back. It was rainy most of the day, so we stayed inside to entertain ourselves. We had a short family night lesson about school starting on Wednesday and what to expect.

Kira took the two younger boys on a bike ride before bedtime, when it wasn't raining. Hannah came over for a card game later that night.

On Monday, I got the kids fed while Kira got ready for work. It was a cloudy day, fixing to rain, and so we were mostly stuck inside again. I tried to do lots of work, and the kids spent most of their time on screens. Once it was raining steady, I tossed all of the kids in the van and made them come with me to get ice cream. We picked up Hannah on the way and said hi to Kira briefly before her next appointment. We then dropped Hannah back off at her office and then went on to the library where the boys had a good time, but Avey was pretty bored and hungry. We went home for dinner and a standard night otherwise as Kira stayed at the office late to wrap up paperwork.

We had a rough night as our neighbor's car alarm went off several times for some reason, waking us. I woke up at 5:00 and then could not get back to sleep with the boys' noise downstairs. Jesse likes to see how fast he can run, and so I can hear the thumping from the upstairs, even with my earplugs in. Merritt can't stop jumping when he plays certain video games, and so I also heard his two little feet pounding every few seconds. I gave up and came down to make waffles. Once Kira was up, I napped.

It was a beautiful day weather-wise, so I cut the grass after my nap and then everybody but Avey went to an event at the park where Carver could meet all of his teachers. He starts at the intermediate school this year, which is 5th and 6th grades, and then there's middle school of 7th and 8th grades before high school. He has a schedule more like middle school, where he has a different teacher for most subjects, so it was nice to meet them. His friends were also at the park, so they played after meeting teachers. I walked Apollo around the park as he tried to find garbage to eat.

Kira then dropped Apollo and me off at the house and then they all went to Jesse and Merritt's school to meet their teachers. Carver was given the choice, and he opted to go along to see his old teachers. They had a good time, and seemed in a good mood when they got home.

Wednesday was the first day of school, and so the alarm went off far too early to be legal. We got the boys fed and ready. It was a huge contrast to last year when Merritt had never been on the bus or to school - we had the routine down this time, and they were pretty excited to go. Now that Avey is in high school, we have to drive more like 15 minutes away, and the school is very big, so there were at least a billion cars trying to get there. She was there on time, at least, but we may need to come up with a new game plan to avoid the traffic.

Kira enjoyed the quiet at home for the day, and I decided to finally rotate the van's tires, as it has been far too long. That took only about an hour, and it seems to have also solved a problem we've had for a while - there was a clicking sound on one of the wheels that no mechanic could reproduce, but that we heard about 80% of the time we drove. It drove (#pun) me nuts, and now that the tires are rotated, it seems like it's gone. So weird.

After that, I got cleaned up and then did my day job work. I had promised Merritt that I'd make his favorite treat for when he got home from school, so I ran to the store for ingredients and then made those (muddy buddies) before the bus came.

It was strange when only Jesse and Merritt got off the bus - Carver and Avey now take the same bus home. But they said that the day went great - Jesse really likes his teacher (Carver had her in 3rd grade also), and Merritt likes his teacher (she's new this year). Merritt made a new friend on the bus, and she is also in his class, so they had a good time.

Carver had a good report for the day also, and didn't get too lost in the school. He gets to see his best friends a few times throughout the day, and likes his teachers so far.

I left to pick up Avey, because she had an appointment at 4 and so we wanted to give her some time to unwind at home before heading straight there. That didn't work out very well, because every single human in Chesterton was trying to get out of the parking lot once school was over. We spent at least 20 minutes just trying to get out of the parking lot, and then the traffic to get home was bananas. So Avey got maybe 10 minutes at home before we had to leave again. I didn't get to hear much about her day because she was so very tired. She has a schedule more like a college week, where she goes to different classes on different days of the week. That meant that she would have a second "first day" on Thursday, but I suppose at least there's some variety.

Anyway, we left for her appointment and then got some fast food on the way home, which lifted our spirits. Kira took care of the boys at home while we were gone, and she found out more about their day. We got them in bed, and then Hannah came over to tell us about her day driving the bus. It turns out that a Kindergartner on her bus gave her a fist bump and a kiss when she dropped him off! We figure that he's used to doing that when his mom or aunts drop him off places, so he's just unaware of the significance of the kiss. He seems like he's piecing it together, though, because he toned it down to a hug the next day.

We called it an early night, but then Avey was trying to help Apollo wind down. He tends to get antsy at night after his first nap on the couch, and so she took him outside to see if he could calm down once he saw that we weren't under a zombie attack. She said that he went exploring under a large bush, and then she heard a squeak and found that he had apparently killed a small rodent. We couldn't tell quite what it was, but it looked like it was very young. Some consulting with Hannah leads us to believe it was likely a baby squirrel, although we didn't get a good look at the tail to be sure. Anyway, that seemed to give him a new taste for blood, because he was shooting the death stare at the rats the rest of the evening.

Side note: Apollo has come to tolerate the rats' presence much better in the last few weeks. Although he has no problem expressing his jealousy when Avey or Hannah gives them any attention - he will yelp at them like he's been physically hurt.

Thursday was the second day of school. The boys were ready early, and so they just hung out in the front yard while waiting for the bus. It was a beautiful day, and they seemed excited for the new experiences coming. Kira drove Avey to school. Once the boys were gone, I ate and then removed the front wheels of the truck to work on finding that creak. So this week I removed 6 of the 8 car wheels we own, although there's still time for me to find a reason to remove the other 2...

Anyway, to make a short story longer, I think I found the problem. I replaced the shocks months ago, and I think the new ones may have been the source of the noise, so I greased up the points where the rubber presses up against the metal, and that seems to have done the trick, although let's give it some more time to be sure.

After a shower, I took Kira to the church to drop her off for a meeting, and then I went to the hardware store and then grocery shopping. I then picked her back up and we dropped off some flowers for a friend in the branch (it was her birthday) before heading home. Kira then got working on her calling stuff, and I built a case for Carver to carry his cello bow back and forth from school. Rather than bringing home his cello, he keeps the one we rented here, and then uses one at the school, but he takes his bow with him both places. A case online was like $40, so instead, I built one for about $12 of material that was actually free because I used rebates for some of it, and materials I already had for the rest:

I think it turned out very well, and Carver was very pleased also.

I cleaned the rat cage once the boys were home. We got caught up on their days. Things seem to be going very well. Jesse told me last night that he is disappointed when it's time to wrap up at school because he likes how his teacher teaches. I expect he really thrives being around so many kids his age, too. Anyway, I then took Apollo to a park for a little outing, and then came home for dinner and bedtime.

Avey found another dead rodent under that same bush, and so we think Apollo must have struck again at some point. It was the same type of rodent, although we think it's a strange place for a squirrel nest, so who knows? Apollo keeps checking out the bush during the day, so I doubt anything will try to live in there ever again.

Friday morning, Kira let me miss breakfast and then took Avey while I got the boys out the door. They were ready early again, so maybe we'll start getting up a little later. I was surprised to find that I'd been paid early, and there was a large chunk of extra money, too. I later found out that the University had given us all a one-time bonus, probably to make up for the fact that they can't afford to raise our salaries to keep up with inflation. Anyway, it was a nice surprise, at least, and so Kira and I decided to go shopping for a bed on our way to Costco. We have never had a proper bed frame the whole time we've been married, and so we finally opted to get one that real people might use. We picked one out, and it will arrive on Tuesday. Now we just need to order our new mattress sometime today, and maybe we'll get some solid sleep...

We came home from our long shopping trip to unload Costco, and then Kira tried to get some stuff done for her calling (and other obligations) while I tried to put out more fires from work. The kids came home from school, excited to be done with the first week. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and so Kira and Avey attended a barbecue put on for anyone in the music programs at the high school, and then when they came home, we decided to have a little party in the backyard. Jesse really wanted to try out his car in the dark to see how the headlights worked, and Carver had wanted a fire in the yard, and Avey had wanted to make s'mores. So we figured it was the best night for it.

It was a lovely night, and then we got the boys to bed and started a movie. Hannah went to the temple early this morning, and so she stayed home to get sleep that night.

Today is another gorgeous day, so we're hoping to get outside a lot. I've got to cut the grass, and maybe we can get the boys to ride their bikes or something.

Tomorrow, we are going to sing "I Am a Child of God" in sacrament meeting, so with any luck they won't laugh us off the stage...

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