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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Home, Sick.

Updated: Mar 20

What a wild week! I left Kira with a mess of sick children while I go play in Philadelphia...

Last Saturday we had a play date set up with Jesse's girlfriend. He and I went to pick her up from her Girl Scout cookie sales while Kira left with Avey and Merritt to go for some shopping to replace Merritt's scraps of material that he wears over his feet. To call them "shoes" would have been an insult to shoes. I ate lunch and supervised the play date, although they didn't really need any supervision. Even though it was cold and muddy outside, Jesse wowed her with his pogo stick skills, and she chased Apollo around a bit.

Carver was looking forward to his sleepover for a friend's birthday that afternoon, but then they also invited Jesse, so we spent part of the day getting them all packed up. Once his girlfriend had been picked up, I dropped both boys off for the sleepover and looked forward to a relatively easier night (like a sucker).

Kira was home with the others, and Merritt whined about how awful it was that he had to go and get new shoes. At least he had the TV to himself while his brothers were gone. Hannah came over early, thinking that maybe we could get to our watching a little earlier than usual, but fate would have none of it...

A little after we had gotten Merritt into bed, we got a text from the mom at the sleepover. Jesse wanted to come home. I made the short drive to get him and then found out what was going on. I worried that he'd been picked on by some of the other kids there, but it was quite the opposite. The family has a large plot of land and it includes some dense trees. It was totally dark, and he and Carver had gotten a little lost during a game of laser tag. Jesse, who had never been lost at night in a strange place, got quite panicked. He really wondered if they would ever be found again, even though there are plenty of houses within a minute's walk. In any case, that was just too much for him. The other boys eventually found them, and one of them was especially supportive: really going out of his way to help Jesse feel like he was safe with him. The emotional turmoil had made him feel like he needed familiar surroundings, though, so home he came. He told me about his plight, and then I went upstairs to stay with Merritt so he could fall asleep (he gets scared alone in his room), while Kira got to hear the story next. Once they were both down, we watched just a little bit of TV and then changed the clocks before going to bed.

Sunday morning was pretty typical. Kira went to an early meeting while I got the kids ready, and then Hannah picked them up. I quickly showered and then drove Hannah's car to pick up Carver from the sleepover. He had a good time, although he was tired. We hung out a bit and then he got going on his tasks for the morning. I started cooking lunch and then Hannah brought the other kids home. Merritt had apparently been a pill through the meetings: he started tearing at a notepad back to let out his rage.

Of course, in the car ride home he was in a fine mood, but then the second he walked into the house he remembered how mad he was, so he put on a show about how boring church had been.

After lunch, Jesse was motivated to earn the rest of his money he needed for the treadmill. He finished his jobs, and then thought that meant we could go right then to pick it up (it was after 5 p.m.). He was pretty sad when we explained the next steps in the process (have to contact the seller, make sure they still have it, arrange a time to go look and test it out...). He did look, but the one he had seen was no longer available, so the plan was to keep an eye out. I also suggested that he could request a treadmill as his big birthday present if that's what he wanted. He seemed to like that idea, and we haven't heard anything else about finding a used one, so we shall see.

The rest of the day was nothing unusual. We had family night, dinner, and then put the kids to bed before having a chat with Avey and going to bed ourselves.

Kira let me linger in bed on Monday. She then took Avey while I stayed to clean up the kitchen. I did work, then did a meeting, then Hannah and I made a run to Costco. Kira left for work while we were gone, so Hannah and I unloaded the haul and then I got back to work while she went to drive bus.

When the bus brought home the younger two boys, the weather outside was just awful (wet and cold), and so Jesse engaged with Merritt. They were really good buddies for a good long while, and they even planned to do their reading homework together.

Carver came home on the bus, but Avey had rehearsal after school. Carver had arranged to play online with his friends, so he went to do that. Kira had a break at work just in time to bring Avey home from rehearsal, and then she went right back to work for an evening client. She was then back for bedtime.

I finally gave up on the weather turning warm again and so I removed the heated mattress pad that had malfunctioned and put on the new one. We needed a couple of days to figure out how to work it, but it's nice to no longer be cold for the first half hour or so of lying down.

It was my first day back at school after my spring break, and so I guess I was worried about being late or something. I slept terribly, and then got up to go to the city. Kira got everyone to school. In the afternoon, she took Carver to sign up for band once Avey was home with the other boys. Carver had hoped to get matched with percussion, and everything worked out, so now he is on his way.

I made it home during dinner time, so I helped a little with that and then got Merritt to do his homework. Once the younger boys were in bed, Carver stayed up doing his math homework, and so I worked next to him grading statistics homework. Once he was in bed, Kira and I watched a little and called it a night.

Kira let me sleep in a little again, and she had to wake the boys up to get them ready for school. Maybe it's the time change, or maybe they are also getting older, because that's been going on more and more lately - they sleep in. Merritt was then angry that he had missed his chance to play some video games before school. I thought he might be able to play a little once he was all ready for school, but then the bus was about 7 minutes early (substitute driver). Luckily, by then he had forgotten just how mad he was.

I worked and got packed for my trip to Philadelphia the next day. When the time came, I picked up Avey from rehearsal a little early and then took her to an appointment. She had left her coat at a friend's house a couple of weeks before, and so we also finally picked that up on the way home. Kira dealt with the kids, but the two older boys were invited to go play with friends, and the weather was pretty mild, so they took advantage. Of course, that meant that they had not done their homework or had their showers before dinner. Merritt had passed off his +9 test, and so he was feeling pretty good and then we could skip practicing math for the day. He felt kind of crummy at bedtime, and so we kept an eye on him.

Thursday I was up before my alarm and then Merritt was the only one awake by the time I left for work. I had a normal day of teaching and then did as much grading as I could before heading to the airport. Just waiting for the train there I thought I might die. There were some very strange people at the station. One guy seemed really out of it, and he was holding a plastic cover that goes over a cake you might buy from a grocery store, but the cake was gone, and his right hand and sleeve were covered in frosting. I realized that this guy had just eaten an entire cake by himself using only his hands. There's no telling what a guy like that is capable of.

Anyway, I traveled to Philadelphia and everything was as planned. I got to my hotel about 10:30 p.m. Back home, Merritt was feeling a little nervous about leprechauns and their mischief. Jesse took the initiative and helped him put together a leprechaun trap, just in case.

It was ingenious, really. That seemed to also help Merritt feel better.

Jesse planned to also leave a note the next morning from the mysterious leprechaun:

Unfortunately, during the night, Jesse started getting pretty sick. He was in a lot of pain: mostly his throat. He stayed home from school the next day.

I had a meeting in the morning in Philadelphia, and then I went to a lunch where my dissertation student would get honored for a travel award she got. That was nice. I caught up on some other work things and met with some old friends from graduate school, and had a generally nice time.

Kira let me know that all was not well back in Chesterton. Not only was Jesse home sick, but then she got a call that Merritt had thrown up in the morning at school. He had gone to the bathroom, thankfully, and so there was no mess and he didn't have to suffer the embarrassment in front of his classmates, but he was sick, and that meant Kira had to take care of two sick kids with me gone.

She took them both into the doctor, wondering if it might be strep. Merritt tested positive, but Jesse was negative. The doctor started them both on antibiotics. Of course, then Carver came home on the bus and felt really crummy, so she left Avey in charge of the others and took him in to see if he needed meds, too.

No diagnosis for him, though. Kira got them to bed early, but then Jesse threw up. It's not looking good, so I hope that the meds get working soon.

I am on my last day of the conference, so I hope to finish up and then go see a few sights around town. I did go by a market near the hotel yesterday, and it sure was impressive! They had so many little restaurants inside this big open floor. I will have to check it out again.

There is chocolate, and pastries, and soups, and anything else one would want to try.

Part of my venturing out was that I had stupidly left my contact lens case at home in my rush to get out the door. I found an optometrist who helped me out, though, so we are all set now.

I think I'll try to get to the Liberty Bell later today.

I have a very early flight tomorrow morning, so I'm going to try to get to bed very early tonight. I should be home around noon, but I don't think that Kira will be taking the kids to church, so I won't beat them home.

Let's hope that Kira doesn't come down with symptoms, and that the rest of us can avoid it too! We'll see what today brings...

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