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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

School's Out

Updated: Jun 9, 2021

School is officially out, and now everybody's bored and listless...

Last Sunday, I brought the kids home from church after Kira's talk, and she stayed for a meeting - Hannah gave her a ride home. The whole family played outside a lot, enjoying the sunshine. After all of that play, we did a quick family night lesson and then made our way to the Branch President's house, who invited us and a few other people over for a little Memorial Day barbecue. The kids had fun, and all ate decently for being in a strange location. Both of the younger kids wet their pants during the course of the afternoon, so that sure made for some fun times. When it was time to go home, Merritt teared up because he had somewhere decided that they were going to play tag in the small backyard at the house. Carver offered to get him out of the car and go play a quick round, which seemed to satisfy him. As we were climbing back into the car, we spied a person in a powered parachute floating around in the sky. We all watched to see what they would do, as it almost looked like they were planning to land nearby, but they drifted off in another direction. Of course, Hakan is ready to build his own and try jumping off the roof after seeing that...

We got the boys to bed and then played a few rounds of dominoes with Hannah, although we were all pretty tired. Still, with no school the next day, we wanted to say up late while we felt like we could.

Hakan was in a creative mood on Monday, so he found those plastic wheels we used to make a cardboard car a long time ago, and then he decided he wanted to attach them to a cardboard airplane. That apparently meant that he wanted me to build a cardboard airplane and attach the wheels so that he could throw it around. The wheels were too heavy for the plane to glide in the air, but that didn't stop Hakan from tossing it around anyway.

Hannah, like Hakan, was also in a creative mood, and so she came over to use our space and tools to build a sparrow trap she's had in mind for some time. Sparrows are not native to the Americas, and so they cause several problems for the native species. Hannah's decided that she can help out by reducing the sparrow numbers with this trap. Anyway, she ran into several challenges with the process, mostly because the scrap wood piece was very difficult to drill through. She succeeded after lots of effort, and so now we'll wait to see how well it works...

I checked through my online course one more time before it opened to students the next day. I have a full class now, which is crazy. I've never had more than 6 students in a summer course, so maybe something about the pandemic has students more interested in online courses or something.

Kira had clients to see, so I took her to work, and then came back to pick up the kids for a trip to a big playground 20 minutes away. Avey walked Apollo around while I helped Merritt use the equipment, and then she and I traded places. After the kids had their fill, we went to a store so that Avey could pick out a gift for a friend of hers who is moving out of the state soon. We then picked up some milkshakes for fun and came home.

I left to pick up Kira and then when we got back we found about 10 kids playing in our yard. Apparently, the family two houses down had family over for a barbecue, and their kids were playing with the neighbors in between us, which spilled over into our backyard. I think it's now safe to say that our backyard is the best one in the neighborhood, but I'll leave that to the young judges.

Kira stayed outside chatting with the neighbors while I got dinner going for our children. We had to tear Hakan away from all of the fun and send the neighbors back to their barbecue so that we could wrap up our evening and get the kids in bed.

Tuesday was back to the routine. I started working on my preparations for the fall semester and kept track of how my summer course was going, and Kira kept Merritt from losing his mind. After the kids were home from school, Kira took Avey and Hakan to the store, because Hakan needed shoes for his upcoming basketball camp (starts tomorrow). Avey bought some gear for the summer, too. Hakan surprised us all when he spent his last $3 of birthday money on 6 star-shaped donuts, and then he shared them with the rest of the family.

While they were gone, I played lots of dodgeball with Merritt. That's been his obsession for the week, along with swinging on our neighbor's swing across the street: they have a very big tree in their yard, and they've got a swing that's probably 20 feet long. I just can't compete with that with our smaller trees, so Merritt loves to go over there and swing to his heart's content. I took him over there twice while Kira was shopping with the others.

Carver figured out how he could chat with his friends over a headset while they were playing Fortnite together, and so he had a blast doing that several more times over the week. We have to peel him away every time.

Wednesday was a strange day because the school decided to make it in-person rather than the usual remote learning. Kira and I used the relative quiet to get some tasks done. I had my second dose of the Covid vaccine that morning. I have heard that most people feel pretty crummy after the second dose, but aside from a little bit of soreness at the site of the shot, I haven't felt any different since getting it. I came home to spread some dirt around my fire pit, trying to level off the ground a little bit more. I then took Apollo to play with his dog friend, and then Merritt wanted to go back to the park 20 minutes away, so I took him. We had a good time, and then came back home where I lubricated the brake parts on my mower and then tightened the brake itself, and put some air in the tires.

Once Hakan was home from school, he refused to do any of his after-school tasks or bathe. He moped around the rest of the afternoon before getting his act together. I swept out my shed.

Avey came home and told us that she had aced her math final that day, glad that she'd been studying for the last few days. She finished off the semester with all As - pretty amazing, considering the stupid pandemic. She had a youth activity that night, and so she baked some brownies to take and share. They did archery, and had a good time.

Kira was busy on and off the phone most of the day, trying to get some appointments settled and doing stuff with her calling. She also talked to her mom that night.

Thursday was the last day of in-person school, and very busy to boot. I did some of my day job and then cut the grass. I then finally got around to fixing the paint in our entryway. We managed to chip off some of the paint at the corners around our entryway closet, and the paint is a gray, but underneath is white, so it's really obvious that the paint is messed up. I didn't have matching gray paint, so I kept putting it off, but I finally decided to just paint the corners white like the closet trim, so I did that, and it's so much better now.

Hakan even commented on how nice it looks a couple of days after I finished it.

Avey stayed after school to hang out with some friends and get some ice cream, so I drove to pick her up at a park downtown, and then we made a quick trip to the dollar store. At home, Kira and the kids had found a pigeon in the backyard that didn't seem afraid of people.

It was pretty weird. We don't get many pigeons in our yard, and it had a tag on its leg. It didn't seem hurt, but eventually it did fly to our neighbors' roof and it looked like maybe it had a hurt leg. Anyway, it just stayed on the neighbors' roof for the rest of the night and then it wasn't there in the morning...

Yes, we thoroughly washed our hands afterwards...

Carver had had some minor cold symptoms for a day or two, and then Thursday night, Hakan had a sudden onset of a bad headache. He was lying on the couch in a lot of pain. We tried an ice pack and medicine, but he refused to eat anything, so after a few minutes he threw up the medicine. He fell asleep on the couch after that and then woke up feeling great not long after that. It was really weird, but he's been fine since then.

Maybe he was off the whole day, though, because earlier, he was upset at Kira for something, and to show her how mad he was, he decided to trash our room. He slowly walked around and then gently tipped over all of our lamps so as not to cause any damage, and he overturned my desk chair, careful not to harm my guitars, and so on...

It took about 60 seconds to clean it up, but that kid has still got some maturing to do...

Hannah had a very rough day. She was expecting a phone call, and so while she was cleaning buses, she kept the phone in her pocket, but then later noticed that it wasn't there. She found it in the parking lot, and it looked like it had been run over because the screen protector was cracked, and the phone seemed slightly bent. It seems to work fine, at least, with just some slight discoloration in the screen. She did connect with the person she was waiting to call, at least. Then, as if things couldn't get any crazier, she loaded up the kids on her bus to take them home for the last time, and 2 minutes away from the school, some kid stabbed himself in the finger with an EpiPen. The school had apparently sent it home with the kid it belonged to, and that kid let another kid play with it, apparently not understanding what it was. The kid was screaming and bleeding quite a bit, so Hannah used all of her training for these crises, pulled over the bus, delivered first aid to stop the bleeding and radioed in for paramedics. Because they were so close to the school still, the principal even came by to talk to everyone and check in. Hannah never did get to take any of the kids home, as other buses came by to do that. At least all the kids have a story to tell for their last day, and maybe the school will rethink how they get medical equipment back to the homes of the very young children...

Friday was officially a remote learning day for some reason, but the tasks were all very easy (play with your family, etc.). Kira and I both slept in a bit and then got going on stuff. After lunch, the younger boys were keen to go to a park, and it was so hot that I suggested we see if the splash pad in town were open. They were excited for that, so we went and played there for a while. Hakan and Merritt got along really well Friday, even playing together at home later.

I was pretty wiped out after that, so I took a little break while Kira rushed off to buy some stuff for a Relief Society activity for the next day. She got back in time for me to take Avey for her second dose of the Covid vaccine. She's reacted to it about like I did - no problems.

At dinnertime, Kira had the two older boys set up to watch a movie during their dinner, although Merritt opted out. While they finished that up, I fed Merritt and then cleaned some sinks and finally wiped down our kitchen cabinets and the door to the mudroom.

Saturday was very busy. Kira was up earlier to feed the boys breakfast and leave for her Relief Society activity. I came downstairs later, surprised to find the boys already fed. I then tried to keep them occupied, although it wasn't terrible. Merritt and Hakan were still good buddies - they played a spy game, where they would follow me around the house, hiding very poorly, and I would pretend that I didn't know they were watching me. That made it a good opportunity for me to get some tasks done, because I knew where they were the whole time, and what they were doing. I caulked the medicine cabinet in our bathroom to cover up the gap that just gets filled with dust and lint, and then I went on to caulk our toilet into place and do the tile edge on our bathroom walls that has a little gap on it. I've had that on my list for a while. I also cleaned out the medicine cabinet from the dust that's been there since before we moved in. After that, I vacuumed most of the house. Avey left on her bike to hang out with a friend for a few hours. Kira was off running more errands after her activity, and so I tried to keep the boys at bay. Hakan and Merritt were anxious to go back to the splash pad, but Kira had the car, so we played Candyland and things like that to keep them from being too bored.

By the time Kira was back, Hakan had moved on. He was playing with the neighbors who'd gotten an inflatable pool for the kids. Merritt still wanted to go to the splash pad, so I took him. He had a very good time for about 30 minutes, and then the water just stopped pumping. The kids all looked around, disappointed, but then we slowly left. Merritt decided to go play at the regular park, where he made a new friend. We came home after a while and finished up the day. Hannah didn't come over that night, because she was 2 hours away for some reason. I haven't heard the story yet on what happened...

This next week should be full of lots of total boredom. Hakan starts basketball camp on Monday, but we suspect that the rest of the time he'll mope around the house wishing he could think of something to do, and shooting down all of our ideas. This will be a week of adjusting to the summer break, probably...

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