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  • Elijah Ricks

More-vid 19?

We expected a somewhat hectic last week of school, but we were not prepared for all that happened.


We polished off last Sunday with a nap for me while Kira took the boys and Apollo on some outings. That was very nice for me, as I am rarely so wiped out that a nap will work, but I was apparently that wiped. They had a good time, and I felt much better after a good rest. I should try that more often...

Avey, Captioning Yearbook Photos

I woke up after a while to get our late afternoon meal started: Hashbrown casserole which I made taco seasoned. It turned out well, but worked best scooped onto nacho cheese Doritos. Mmmboy...


Merritt was awful all afternoon and evening. He was like a landmine with a hair trigger. He was just miserable and completely open to making everyone else as miserable as he. Getting him to bed was painful, but totally necessary - sort of like a root canal. He's had a few rough days like that here and there, and we wonder if he's just been getting up too early because of his bladder, and then he doesn't have the self-awareness to know he'll feel much better if he goes back to sleep.


In any case, that same evening a couple of tempered glass screen protectors came that Avey and I shared as early Christmas presents. It's been only a week, but I am a full convert - I will never go back to those stupid plastic ones. It's like I've got a new phone: it's crystal clear. Anyway, that may have been the highlight of my week.


Hannah left for her apartment after the meal, and so Avey, Kira, and I had a calm evening once the boys were in bed. Kira played the piano for us a bit, and I read some.

Monday was chock full of grading. I had about 40 essays to grade, and about 30 statistics assignments waiting for me, too. I got a good chunk of it done, but had to keep at it the next day, too. Kira worked to keep the kids on task with their schoolwork. We're happy to report that the school plans to move back to in-person learning in January, barring any further acts of God. I won't hold my breath, for now.


After Kira left for her clients in the evening, I got a bug to do something big, so after getting the boys ready for bed, I rearranged our bedroom with their "help." I think it's a more efficient use of space, and now it's arranged so that one of the lamps turns on with a wall switch, and the background students will see from my desk is less embarrassing (Notice that I didn't say "not" embarrassing.). The kids are sure having fun with the different layout, treating our room as the party room.


In fact, it was really funny the other night... I moved our love seat over by the window, and placed it at an angle to the wall. Merritt likes to now stand on it, with one foot on the love seat and the other foot on the window sill, straddling the gap underneath. He was doing this a couple of nights ago, and Kira warned him to be careful. He said, dismissively, "I'll be fine." Then, within about 2 seconds, we all heard him drop to the floor with a clang. About a full second later, we heard him whimper, "ow."


He was not hurt badly, so we felt ok trying to muffle our laughter at his hubris-caused misfortune.

One unintended consequence of rearranging our room is that I had forgotten why we had the bed in the original spot - it was covering up a gaping hold in the carpet that was there when we bought the place. The carpet needs to be replaced in the whole house, but we figured that wouldn't be a great plan as the kids were still so prone to puking wherever they stand, losing control of their bladders at the tip of a hat, getting marker and paint on every surface but their intended medium, and spilling every liquid that is not in the firm grip of an adult. Anyway, now they are slowly getting out of that danger phase, so I'm getting more interested in replacing the carpet, but we'll have to see...


Tuesday is when the real fun happened. I had a painful day of grading, but got almost finished with it all. Kira got the kids through their schoolwork, and Merritt was saddened to not have any library class to attend (it's over for the year). That night, Carver reported that he felt pretty crummy: mostly a sore throat. We got him to bed and hoped for the best, but he awoke the next morning feeling a bit worse. We scheduled another Covid test for him, and Kira took him in that afternoon. The results came back 2 days later - negative. By then he was feeling pretty normal, anyway, but now the sickness is making its way through the rest of us. Hakan came down with it, and now I have it, too. It's not really bad - just uncomfortable and draining.

Wednesday was otherwise a pretty dumb day. After grading all of the essays that were due, I had one student send a rather rude email insisting that I had graded his incorrectly. I double checked and then sent him a much longer explanation for what was wrong with his paper: things I had clearly laid out in the assignment description, and that I had warned him about on earlier drafts, but that he apparently completely ignored. It's not like this grade should have been a surprise. He didn't argue with me about how bad the content was, but he was very hung up on the formatting issue (that was barely even part of the problem). I finally had to have a virtual meeting with him to show him exactly what was wrong, and that shut him up real fast. Maybe he'll try reading and following instructions in the future...


At bedtime, Merritt and I were in my room, and he brought up the topic of parents, and then that led to talking about how Kira's dad died. He then explained his understanding of the afterlife. He said, "When you die, you got into space, but then Jesus just really grabs you and throws you in heaven."


I think he must have pieced that together from terms like "Jesus saves us, so we can go to heaven," and such. He takes things pretty literally, it seems.

Thursday was lots more grading, but I finished up a couple of courses, so that was a nice feeling. Carver was still feeling bad, and I joined him later when I got the final word from my employer about how they need to cut everybody's salaries temporarily. This pandemic has really hurt enrollment across the country, and we're not immune (#pun) to it. Apparently it's bad enough that they are cutting our pay for 6 months, hoping that things will improve for next fall. That's just great. We won't be on the streets or anything, but I'm pretty upset about less pay for the same amount of work. At least I found out that I made it through the first round of tenure review. Hopefully there will still be a university to work at once the process is complete.


Friday, to add injury to insult, I awoke with back pain. It seems to be mostly related to having moved the supports for the bed once I moved the bed. I think we've got it right now, but we'll see. It's much less severe than other times - my back is almost back to normal now. In any case, I finished up the rest of the grading I had to do, and started posting grades for students to review. That always brings in a slew of whiny emails from students who didn't listen to instructions, didn't follow advice, but who now don't want to face consequences for their choices. I try to be firm, but fair.


The kids were glad to get through their last school work before the break, though Carver is now several days behind, due to his illness. We've worked out a plan with him so that he can be done with it all before Christmas, but we'll see if he can stay motivated. Our Christmas tree is a sight to behold - the presents are taking up about as much space as the tree itself. It's sort of getting hard to move around in that room (I'll need to get a picture). We're very fortunate to be in such circumstances, and are thankful for all those whom we love and who love us.


We can hardly believe that it's Christmas week already - so we've got some caroling and some last shopping to do before the big day. There's also snow forecast for us, which couldn't come at a better time! Let's keep our fingers crossed that Hannah's flight is still on, and that we get a good snowfall for sledding and snowmen! We'll let you know what happens!

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