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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Ricks Reunion 2021

Updated: Jul 19, 2021

We arrived in Colorado around 4:15 p.m. last Sunday, and it seems like we haven't stopped moving since then...

We first dropped Hannah off at Nana Laura's, where she was staying, and we said some brief hellos before we went to Kira's mom's house, where we are staying. Jeri had to leave to pick up Kira's nephew from the airport, and so she didn't want to be gone so long that she would miss seeing the kids after we put them to bed. We unloaded our stuff and hung out a bit before going back to Nana's for some delicious food. While there, Kira thought to see about getting a dog crate for Apollo to sleep in, as he's not allowed on the furniture at her mom's house. Luckily, my mom knew just whom to ask, and so then Kira and she drove over to pick it up. Hakan was excited to get everyone caught up on his muscle size since the last time he saw them, so he showed them his stuff.

Not too long into the evening, my youngest brother, Isaac, arrived from Utah, so we helped him bring in his stuff and get settled. Kira requested that we sing a couple of patriotic songs together to recognize the significance of the day (Independence Day), and then we took the kids back to her mom's to put them to bed. It was a very rough night, though, because Apollo did not like his crate, so he whined for a couple of hours, and the fireworks boomed until about 11:30 p.m. I finally came out to tell Apollo to can it, and he did for the rest of the night. If only that worked with the noisy firework lovers... Fortunately, Apollo got used to his crate for the rest of the trip - never again whining. He's a good boy, but wait until my story about him later...

After a very rough night of little sleep, Kira got up to feed the kids. I showered and then did my day job stuff for the day (mostly grading). I took Apollo on a walk, and then we headed to my Mom's house for lunch. Kira stayed with her mom, who has not been feeling well, to start on a few projects to help her prepare to move. The kids had a good time exploring all that Nana's has to offer, and then I took the kids to a park with a big pond and playground. It was hot, though, so we didn't last very long. We went back to Nana's where they relaxed with some video games, and I went to pick Kira up for dinner at Nana's. My older brother Nathan had arrived with his family by the time we got back. Dinner was busy, fun, and delicious, and then we all got wrapped up in a game of Monkey in the Middle, that my kids really loved.

They loved it so much that their Aunt Jackie (Nate's wife) bought the kids each a ball of their own like the Monkey in the Middle ball, and had them sent to Nana's just a few days later!

We slept much better, but Merritt woke us up in a tantrum. We did breakfast and got the kids ready for the day. Hakan and Merritt played surprisingly well together with some of the novel toys in Grandma's basement. I had a phone appointment set up with my doctor to follow up on some blood work. I appear to be very healthy, except my cholesterol is not good. What's weird is that the same thing came up in my blood work several years ago, but then I didn't change anything and when she tested it after 6 months it was fine. Then she tested it 6 months after that and it was fine. Then she tested it again after yet another 6 months and it was fine. In any case, I am trying not to minimize this so that I will actually try to take better care of myself.

After my phone call, we all went over to be with the Rickses. The kids played and we all had good chats with each other. We decided to head to a park with my older brother's family, and had a good time there, although I walked Apollo around half of the time. The park was right by their AirBnB, so they brought us over to see it - it was very cool, and so we played there for a bit. Merritt especially loved a swinging couch on the patio, and he wanted to go back every day after that. We then went back to my mom's for dinner and some games until the kids needed to go to bed.

Wednesday morning we had a little get-together, and then Kira took us to see her grandparents' graves. It took some time to find them, but it was nice to visit. We then went to Nana's and an old family friend dropped by to say hello to us all. The kids got all set to do water balloons in the backyard, but I had to miss it because of a stupid video meeting for my job. After I finished, I joined my younger siblings who somehow have the energy to do home improvement projects for my mom. You would think I would hop right on, but I seem to have to work twice as hard to keep track of my kids when we're on vacation, and I'm at least 3 times as tired. Anyway, once I got going, I found some momentum, and installed a second downspout on the backyard gutters where the water's been pooling, and I also raised the other end that had been sagging. My little brother, Aaron, was a big help and support. Isaac and Hannah spent the afternoon painting the front window trim and the metal banister, which look so much better now.

Kira joined some of the others for some thrift shopping, and even took a couple of the kids with her. When they were back, we did dinner and some karaoke and other games before bedtime. Kira was kind and let me stay over while she took the kids to bed herself. I just spent most of the time finishing up a little project for her birthday, though, so I didn't get to chat or relax as much as I'd hoped.

Thursday morning, my brother's family needed to leave for their flight in the morning, so we went over a little earlier to have breakfast and say our goodbyes. We had a fun little baseball practice before they had to go. Once they left, Kira and I left the kids with my mom while we planned to run to a few stores for some essentials. We first stopped by her mom's house, though, and when Kira found that she was lying in bed and still hadn't eaten, we decided that she should stay and take care of her mom while I went to the stores alone. Kira made her pancakes and took good care of her. I dropped stuff off, then went to get the kids at my mom's house. We hung out a bit, but Kira told us to come right away when she learned that her nephew would be dropping by any minute. We came right away, but while we were waiting for the nephew, I figured I'd get our boxes out of the crawl space for us to sort through. All the boys wanted to come up, and they were very good helpers.

Apollo also wanted to get up there, and that was the biggest mistake I've made all year. While up there, I noticed a little blue green brick in the corner. I figured it was mouse poison, but didn't piece together that Apollo will eat literally anything that resembles food. I caught him after he had eaten about three fourths of the poison brick. Long story short, I took him to the closest animal hospital I could find. They had me call Animal Poison Control first. That was a nightmare, because it was 90 degrees outside, the vet wouldn't let me inside, and so I had to walk Apollo around while I was on the phone trying to identify the poison he had eaten. Anyway, they charged me a pretty penny for the consultation, and then they told me to go ahead with vet. Thanks.

The vet had me fill out some paperwork, and then they induced vomiting twice, just to make sure they got it all. They did a bunch more stuff, and then finally let us go after about 2.5 hours (and so much money). They were all very professional and helpful, but I would much have preferred to not do any of that. Anyway, Apollo is doing just fine. He's taking some pills and they've tested his blood. Everything seems normal now. He for sure learned absolutely nothing from this whole fiasco.

I did get to see the nephew as he was leaving. Apollo drank more water than I've ever seen a living creature drink. He then had to go out in the yard several times, presumably flushing it all out of his system.

That evening, Kira wanted to throw a little surprise birthday party for her mother, because she hadn't had a chance to do anything for her special day months ago. Avey baked some brownies, and Kira had me buy a balloon and flowers, and we had dinner together. We tried a game, but Merritt demanded that we play Candy Land, so I tried to play both games at the same time, without much success.

Friday was Kira's birthday! She was off to a massage that her mother had arranged, and I fed the kids before taking Apollo in for some followup blood monitoring. He was fine, but so scared to go back in that place after what he'd gone through. I came back and did my day job for a bit, then once Kira was back she decided that we would go bowling. I informed my siblings who were still in town, and my mom and they all met us at the bowling alley. We then went to my mom's house for pizza, paid for by my great aunt. Kira's mom joined for the meal.

We ate the cheesecake samples that Kira wanted in lieu of cake, and then opened her gifts.

Kira then rode back with her mom to take a nap and some online shopping. I managed kiddos at my mom's, and then did a few more house projects, stopping a squeaky door and fixing the gate with Isaac's help.

Hannah and he also replaced some rotting wood on her shed and filled in some cracks in the concrete in the front. We played some games, and then had dinner before I took the kids and Isaac to a nearby park. The boys really had fun when I started tossing one of the balls from Aunt Jackie to them on the tall tower, so they kept that up the rest of the time we were there.

He and Hannah were going to leave the next morning for Utah (Hannah will fly back to Indiana), so we said our goodbyes and then went back to Grandma's. We still had a long list of things we needed to do to help Grandma, so I got going on my biggest project that night - sorting the tools in the garage. I did that for about an hour to get an idea of what all it would take, and then I called it a night.

Saturday was a strict work day. Once the kids were fed, I cut Grandma's grass, and then got going on sorting the tools, with the help of an inventory list that one of the other sons-in-law made months ago. It took a while, as there's a lot there, but it's about as done as it can be at this point. Kira worked on other projects inside, and the kids pretty much just entertained themselves (mostly watching screens). I also reserved a trailer for us to get all of our crap home that we'd left in the crawl space for so many years, and then I ran to some stores for a few things we'd need for the journey home. Kira met up with her best friend since 4th grade tonight, and so I took the kids for dinner and some play time at my mom's.

We're planning now on leaving here Tuesday morning, as we just don't think we can squeeze it all in before Monday. Tell us how we did next week...

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