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  • Elijah Ricks

Breaking Norms

Updated: Jan 16

This was a relatively lazy week, mostly due to exhaustion. Don't worry - we still managed to overexert ourselves.


Due to the unfavorable weather, we mostly just hung out on Saturday. In a surprising turn of events, Carver decided he wanted to earn some money toward a new game he's been eyeing, so he wiped down the walls of the dining room from all of our food spatter we've added over the years. He then dusted and emptied the dishwasher before getting paid and downloading the game.


It was sort of raining in the evening, but the cold was concerning. I went out to throw away something in our trash bin, and I slipped all over the driveway in my shoes. Kira and Avey were planning on attending a choir concert at the high school later that night (to support some kids we know), so I warned that perhaps they should take the truck (with the new tires and 4-wheel drive). Kira wasn't sure she wanted to go anymore, but I offered to do a test drive around the neighborhood. It wasn't nearly as bad as our driveway. Avey, now not sure she'd get to go to the choir concert, but needing an outing, floated the idea of visiting a candy shop to which some friends had introduced her. I offered to take her there, again finding that the roads were not as bad as I'd feared. We came home and Kira decided that she would go to the concert after all, so they took off and I got the boys to bed.


Sunday was standard stuff in the morning, getting kids all fed and dressed. I then did laundry and dishes before getting going on our tacos with brownies for lunch. Those are two separate things, though. We didn't put brownies in the tacos, as that would be weird. So instead, we ate the tacos, and then, a few minutes later, we ate the brownies. They mixed in our stomachs, but not in our mouths, and so that worked out pretty well.


Hannah beat Kira here for lunch, and after we all ate, we just lounged. I was suddenly very wiped out, feeling like I needed to sleep for the night by about 3:00. We had a brief family night and got the kids in bed at their normal time, and then I went to bed early, although I still did not sleep very well. I wondered if maybe I was coming down with something, because that type of fatigue is pretty rare for me.


Anyway, Kira was up on Monday to deal with the boys, and she tried to let me sleep in, but Merritt was erupting over something, so there was just no way I could sleep through that. Once kids were at school, I went in for a COVID test because we all have to test negative before we can go back to campus. It was timely, given my fatigue, and I half wondered if it would come back positive. I heard a couple of days later that it was negative, though.


Kira kept busy with preparation for her clients that day, as well as with the many demands of her calling. Luckily, she didn't have any clients until the afternoon, so she did not need to feel rushed. She left just a few minutes after the boys arrived home.


I was feeling a little better in the afternoon (probably due to the demand), so I made some treats for the kids and managed homework. Jesse was actually a huge help with homework, as he read to Merritt (murdering two birds with one rock, as they say). Carver then helped Jesse with his homework while we all drove to pick up Avey from Drama Club at school. They were good sports about dinner and bedtime, thankfully.


Kira let me sleep in a bit on Tuesday, as I was back to feeling fatigued, although not nearly as bad as the past few days. I was up to see the kids off, and then I had a phone appointment with my doctor. She told me that I'm going to die of a heart attack at any moment unless I stop making stupid choices about what I eat. At least, that's what I'm choosing to hear so that I will actually feel motivated to stop deep-frying everything I shove down my pie hole. I've cut out butter and almost all red meat from my diet, and I'm really working on eating more foods with good cholesterol. I've told Merritt to look me in the eye every day and say, "Dad, I want you to be around to meet my children." He doesn't remember to do it, though, so it sort of defeats the purpose. Maybe if I post it here on the blog, I'll be more likely to stick to my goals...


Anyway, as I did more semester preparation, Kira left for several errands. She arrived home just before the boys' bus, and then it was the standard homework flurry. Merritt's teacher sent home some flashcards for Merritt to learn "+0" facts like "1 + 0" and so on. He passed them off immediately and then strutted around like a peacock the rest of the day. He's right to be proud, though, as he has a good head for numbers. A couple of days ago, he told me, "Dad, 50 plus 50 is 100." I confirmed that, and then he said, "And Dad, 25 plus 25 is 50." I took a little longer to confirm that one, but then I asked him, if that is true, "then what is 25 plus 25 plus 25 plus 25." He thought about it for maybe 5 seconds and then said, "100!" Perhaps the apple falls very far from the tree, because there's a famous story in my household about how I thought 100 plus 100 equals two cans of olives. Compared to me, Merritt's on his way to become the next Einstein.


Jesse decided this week that, even though he really wanted to pierce his ears, he could probably survive if he just wore clip-on earrings. He worked with Avey to find a pair she had, and then he wore them to school the next day:

We worried a bit how it would all go over. I think in his mind he envisions everyone gushing over how awesome and macho he looks, so I was concerned that he would get teased a lot. He came home and reported that nobody was mean about them, and most people just commented on them briefly. He got a few compliments. I think that's probably good, because no one was mean, but I think it was not as much of a reaction as he had in his mind, so maybe he'll grow out of this phase...


He wore them to school the next day, but he seems like he's slowly realizing that earrings are not the key to winning friends and influencing people.


Wednesday was pretty standard stuff. I finished with my semester preparation and then goofed off the rest of the day before the boys got home. Jesse left to play with a friend, and I picked up Avey from library club a little later. They worked on creating their characters for Dungeons and Dragons, so that sounded like fun, although most of the kids there didn't really know what they were doing, as this is new to them. It was homework, showers, and dinner before bed.


Kira had signed up to help with Merritt's class on Thursday morning, so she left to do that while I did some work. She said it was pretty chaotic, and that the kids were adorable. By the time she left, a little fan club had formed around her. She didn't get to see Merritt as much as she'd hoped, but he gets plenty of her attention at home, I suppose. She found some artwork of the other two boys in the halls:


She went to a chiropractor appointment on the way home, and then she and I went to Costco together for the monthly stock-up. That was a first, as I'm not sure we've ever gone to Costco together, and certainly not without children. It was especially busy that day, so it was nice to have another pair of hands to push one of the carts (I always need two). We made it home to unload before the boys got home, and then it was standard homework stuff and dinner. I roasted some almonds, because they are supposed to be very good for cholesterol. I look forward to experimenting more with flavors to make them easier to choke down.


Friday was different, as after the kids were gone, I did some last checks on my courses' online modules to find some last errors. I corrected those, and then Kira and I went to get my booster shot for COVID (my university requires them), and then we went to see the new Spiderman movie together. I had, of course, already seen it with Avey, but Kira hadn't yet seen it. It was good to watch it again, and Kira really enjoyed it. We made a quick stop at the grocery store on the way home and then were there in time for the bus. The boys relaxed, and Avey's bus came. She thought about joining some friends who were hanging out downtown, but opted not to go this time. We all occupied ourselves before Kira left to attend a wedding at the church. She left at dinner, and then went shopping afterwards, so she wasn't home until about 10:30. Avey kept the older boys entertained with a card game while I chased Merritt around, and once they were in bed, Hannah joined us for a movie.


It snowed a little last night, but not enough that we could do anything with it. At least it's not windy, so maybe the kids will at least venture outside later.


The kids have Monday off, Kira will be at work all day, and then I start going back to campus on Tuesday, so this should be a full week ahead of us!

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