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  • Elijah Ricks

Gust Deserts

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

This was another full week of activity, including some wind that gave us a run for our money...


Last Saturday, Kira and Avey had gone to a Relief Society activity, leaving me in the lion's den with the hungry cubs. By the time they got home, they were both very tired, as was I, so they tried to unwind a bit. I supervised the boys longer, and Jesse got an idea in his head about going off of a ramp with his bike, so I figured we could try it out. We started really small, and then he worked his way up.

It was so stupid cold that I was impressed and appalled by how long they wanted to stay out. Just as I thought they were finished with the ramp, they wanted to go on a bike ride in the freezing cold, so I obliged them and went along.

We made it home alive somehow. Kira took over the kids and I went on a short drive just to get out of the house for a few minutes. Once home, I showered and practiced the horn before starting the bedtime routine.

Merritt's Worked Hard on Mazes and Connect-the-Dots

Sunday, Avey went to help out in primary, and said that it was pretty rough, so she may think twice about doing that again. With the house to myself, I took it easy, and then cooked lunch for everyone. I fed the boys once they were home. Jesse was bored in the afternoon, and that usually means he's bothering his brothers or his brain is stirring up some project. This time, he had in his head a large cardboard house. We didn't really have any cardboard around, and I was pretty pooped from the rough day before, but we talked about what he was after and then I figured I could spend a few minutes on it. He and I used some scrap wood in the garage to build a little frame, and then we draped old sheets over the frame to make a little hut. We strung up some extra Christmas lights inside of it, and voila...

They had a little wonderland. It was a huge hit for the rest of the night. The boys found all sorts of games to play in it, and made it their own little refuge.

Of course, now it's just sort of taking up space as it's lost its novelty, but they still play in it a little. I'll probably take it down or move it in the next while. Apollo still likes it well enough...


Brass choir had been canceled for the day, but then it was back on after the guy in charge found out he'd misunderstood his daughter's schedule, so I went and did that late, leaving Kira all alone for bedtime.


Monday came early after a very windy night. Avey did not sleep very well for all of the noise. She complained in the morning about how her window did not seem to be working, so after she left for school I inspected it to find that it was not actually closed all the way. It's working much better now that I've closed it!


As soon as everybody was at school, I worked. Kira was gearing up for a busy day of clients, but couldn't seem to get a clear answer on who was coming until it was almost time to leave. Anyway, she left and I just kept working until lunch. I had so much to do, and so many other tasks pouring in that I didn't really get a break. I had a meeting to conduct immediately after the boys got home, and although it usually lasts only 20-30 minutes most times, this time it went 90 minutes! Avey made it home during my meeting and took Apollo on a walk, and then by the time I came down to tend to the boys, Merritt had nearly resorted to cannibalism - he was so hungry. I fed everybody and then did homework with them and the bedtime routine. Hannah opted not to come, and Kira made it home around 9, having had a pretty good day with some new clients.


Tuesday was fixin' to be busy. On my way to the train station, the stupid check-engine light on the stupid truck stupid turned back on. Now I wait for that stupid part the mechanic ordered. It's on back order, so maybe I'll never get it. Anyway, it was my last week of classes, and maybe because it was such a busy weekend and Monday it felt like it was Thursday all day. Weird. Anyway, Kira went grocery shopping at home, and I helped with dinner once I was home because Avey's choir concert was that night. I took her early, and then went back home to help round up the boys, and pick up Hannah on our way to the school. The concert was really good, although we look forward to the days when Avey has her own 1-hour solo session. You can hear the songs she was in here, here, here, and here.

The boys were pretty good sticking through the whole thing. Merritt was very interested in a volleyball and soccer ball that had gotten stuck up on various fixtures in the ceiling of the gymnasium, so he spent a lot of the concert asking us about them, and pointing them out to us all. We got home past the boys' bedtime, and so it was quite painful getting them all to bed while they fought us for a few more minutes to goof around.

Wednesday was full of work for me, although I tried to take a break. Once Merritt was home, he offered to show Kira his school papers that he'd made that day. I jokingly complained, "Why does Mommy always get to see your papers before I do?" With a straight face, and a matter-of-fact tone, Merritt responded, "Because I love Mom more than you." I wonder what age it is when a child realizes there are things that are true that they still shouldn't say... But really, I laughed very hard at that one, because that's as it should be I think. He should love his kind and loving mother more than his daddy, who's basically just a walking punching bag who pays for his food. I get it...

Merritt's Craft on the Left, Jesse's in the Center


Merritt has also been pretty interested in our wedding photos that hang above our bed. He was telling me the other day how I didn't have a moustache when Kira and I got married, but when he explained it to Avey and me, he called it a "smoushmash." Frankly, I think that's a much better word for it, so I've written a formal proposal to Merriam-Webster.


We tried making some changes to the boys' sleeping arrangement. We moved Carver back into his own room, because he still needs us there with him to fall asleep even if he's in with his brothers. While doing that, Jesse realized that he had a memory foam topper on his mattress. He'd always had it, but I guess he didn't realize it was there. He wanted to try his bed without the topper, so we tossed it on the floor, where Merritt and he played with it for a good long while. Merritt decided he wanted to sleep on the mattress topper, so Kira made it up for him the next night, although she then found him asleep in his own bed by morning.


Thursday was my last day of classes, but the kids were home because of some teacher workday or something. They kept Kira very busy, especially because Carver was feeling ill with some sort of mild cold. My last classes went well, and then I had lots of grading to do and last preparations for completing the semester. Once I was home, I helped with dinner and bedtime preparations, then Kira and Avey went shopping so that Avey could get out of the house.


Kira got chatting with Jesse and found out that he has a girlfriend. She discovered a note that had a little drawing and said "I love you." We talked a little about how to address that, and then it came up as she was talking with him. We've discussed what he thinks it means, and what sorts of things they do and all that. So far, it seems relatively harmless, but we'll keep a close eye on this situation. I knew this kid was trouble, but I don't think any of us understands just how much yet.

Bed Head

Friday, Kira made me sleep in, which I needed badly. Of course, she needed sleep, too. Anyway, I got up after everyone but Carver (he was still sick) had gone to school, then I checked the mouse traps in the crawlspace and found them empty. That's more good news, I think. The smell continues to diminish a little more each day, and so with no more signs of rodent activity, I am cautiously optimistic that we're onto a solution. I then went into the backyard to rake up some of the leaves that had blown into the side of the yard with all of the wind. I went around the side of the house to discover a huge leaf pile, so I then worked to slowly get those leaves moved to the fire pit and burned. I finished just when it was time to take Apollo to his friend's house. We were trying to get things out of the way before a big rainstorm that was forecast. I came home to shower quickly before joining a pointless meeting for work. In the afternoon, I fixed some Christmas lights on the house before the boys got home. Avey rode home on the bus, but then I dropped her at the library to hang with some friends before I went to a couple of grocery stores.


I picked her up an hour later or so, and then just as the boys were laying down to sleep for the night, our power went out. That, of course, set the house in a new uproar. We scrambled to find flashlights for each boy and set up candles and such elsewhere. Once they were asleep, we watched a DVD on my laptop for a while before it was too hard to keep our eyes open. The power came back on a little after midnight, thankfully.


It was a brutal wind early the next morning, making it difficult for me to sleep. I was dragging painfully all day on Saturday. I found our recycling bin in the middle of our yard, tipped over. A little decorative Christmas tree we keep on the porch had blown over and the ball ornaments were all over the yard, too. We fed the boys and bathed Merritt. I got working on a little project in the garage - I'm planning to make a little table cover with a base of Lego plates to see if that will interest the boys at times. Really just anything to get them to stop demanding screens is my aim here. Anyway, I got that built, but now just need to buy and install the baseplates. Kira messed with her calling for a good while, and then was planning on taking the older two kids to a high school choir concert to support some kids in the branch. Merritt didn't want to go, and Jesse decided last-minute that he didn't either. I took them to a park where it was cold and windy, but they lasted a good hour. We came home where I fed Merritt and myself, and then Kira took her crew to a candy store and for fast food on the way home. Merritt sounded pretty bad by the end of the night, so it's clear that he has whatever Carver had. Just before bedtime, we played a new card game that Avey tried with her friends and really liked, so she bought it. It's a family friendly version of Cards Against Humanity, and it's lots of fun. It's mostly bathroom humor, which tickles Merritt to no end, so that's been a nice addition. Once they were in bed, we worked on our DVD a little more, but still didn't finish before bedtime for us.


Today, Merritt stayed home with his cold, but it's quite mild. It is still pretty windy, but at least the sun is out. I have a 2-hour dress rehearsal for the Christmas program I'm in on the horn, so that ought to be a riot.


I'm all done with classes, but I'm still going to go into campus on Tuesday and Thursday to be sure I am available for any last-minute freakouts from students. It will also help me focus on getting my crap done.


Take good care of yourselves!

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