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  • Elijah Ricks

Spring Bleak

This week was my "Spring" "Break," which were both terribly misleading words for the past 7 days...


Saturday was gorgeous - it got up into the 60s, making us long for the coming spring. In the afternoon, nearly all of the neighbor kids came over to our backyard to play. Some of them brought their 5-month-old German shepherd to play with Apollo. Apollo seemed to think that she was there to take his place as chief, so he was a little ruff (#pun) with her at first, and then they got playing pretty well, chasing each other around.

I tried to convince Hannah to come over and enjoy the interaction, but by the time she came over she just missed the other dog.


It was so unusually warm that the kids thought it must be warm enough to swim. I filled the kiddie pool so that they could see for themselves how ridiculous that notion was (rather than have me shoot down their idea).

The air was about 65 at its warmest, so the water probably never made it past 50 degrees. Still, they tried.


While all of the kids were enjoying themselves, I finally finished burning up all of the old branches from my winter pruning. Avey was invited to hang out at a friend's house with some other people, so I took her to do that and picked her up a few hours later. Kira took Carver to the sleepover with his best friend, so we missed him for the rest of the night.


Jesse decided that he wanted to try dyeing his hair. We talked through some pros and cons, and Avey offered to give him some temporary dye. She helped him try it out:

Sunday, after getting the boys ready for church, I drove over to pick up Carver from the sleepover. He had a good time, but was pretty tired, and glad that Kira let him stay home from church that day. As he lounged, I went into the garage to replace the fuel neck filler housing (my new one had come in the mail the day before). It's not been a problem with the check-engine light (that's stayed off since my last notice), but the old housing was cracked and it bothered me. That didn't take too long, and then once the others were home from church, I fired up our grill and made my famous burgers that Merritt wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole. The rest of us enjoyed them, anyway, although even they couldn't entice Hannah to come over with her neck pains. She even stayed home from church due to the discomfort.


In the afternoon, Merritt enjoyed the outside even though it had cooled down significantly since the day before. Avey requested that I try cutting her hair, which surprised me, as I figure that my hack jobs on the boys would send anyone running in the other direction. I was careful, knowing that any wrong move would potentially ruin her reputation, but it turned out alright (at least she did a good job holding back the tears and swears while I was still around). We arranged to bring that German shepherd back over, and Apollo and she played very well together. Apollo is just a little bigger than she right now, but in a few more weeks she will no doubt be able to gobble him up in a single bite.

That night, Carver declared himself ready to move back into his own room (he'd been sleeping on his mattress on the floor of the other boys' room for a few weeks). I moved his bed back, and got him all set. I think he's feeling more at home in there now that he's got his birthday presents all in there. There's definitely something attractive about having space to call one's own. He was getting pretty annoyed with his brothers using his mattress as their own personal playground, so maybe that was enough to get him to face the ghosts and goblins that reside in his room.


Monday morning I let Kira miss most of the morning routine, but she was up to see the kids off on the bus. Avey took the bus to try and find a lost item, and when it wasn't there, we were pretty panicked. Fortunately, she found it in her locker, safe and sound. I was on my first official day of spring break, but had some work piled up from the week before. I did all of that first, and then went to get some groceries and had lunch. I did relax a little in between things while Kira was at work. She had a full day of clients. It was a standard afternoon once the boys were home. Merritt seemed a little under the weather, with a runny nose, so we wondered about that. Jesse decided that he wanted to rearrange his room now that Carver had moved out, so he and I worked to undo the bunk beds. Kira was home to surprise the boys before bedtime, and noticed his runny nose. He was acting pretty tired, but not otherwise all that different. We offered him medicine, but he hates cold medicine more than my burgers. We thought we'd try it for the night. Of course, he was up a couple of times, and was so very out of it that he couldn't communicate to us what he needed, and when we finally insisted that he take some cold medicine, he went full hell-raiser. We asked him to drink a measly 10ml of medicine so that the whole family could get back to sleep, and his counteroffer was to raze all of civilization to the ground. It was like trying to reason with a rabid wolverine who speaks only Hindi.


It was midnight, and so we were all tired. It was all too frustrating to me, so Kira sent me to bed and tried her luck, also getting nowhere. Avey was the voice of reason, and far more patient than we "adults." Still, their combined efforts eventually got him to take half a dose over the course of maybe 30 minutes, with about 2 doses spilled and/or spit out all over the bathroom. Say what you will about Merritt, but that kid sure knows what he doesn't want to drink.


My spring break was off to a smashing start...


Merritt luckily slept longer Tuesday morning, but after Avey had spent so long talking him off of the ledge, she needed to sleep in some. Merritt stayed home from school and then Avey went late. Kira let me sleep in, and then I had an appointment at the eye doctor, so she got Avey to school. Merritt acted basically completely normal, except he'd sniff every minute or so. When I was home from the eye appointment, I took over Merritt so that Kira could nap. I fed the little gremlin, read to him, and then he and I went out on a walk with Apollo. We made it home just after the boys' bus, and then he threw a fit-and-a-half when it was Carver's turn to play on the Switch. In fact, he started trashing the house (pouring out chess pieces on the floor) to show us how mad he was. He then wrote Kira a note to show how angry he was:

"Dear Mom, you're an idiot"

That was a good reminder that he was not quite himself.


I insisted that he take medicine before bed that night, and so I mixed his little dose with about a tablespoon of honey to help it go down. It still took him 3 shifts, and about 20 minutes, but he got the full dose in him and slept through the night.


Hannah had a productive appointment for her neck on Monday, but still did not join us Tuesday night. We were all still so tired from the night before that we threw in the towel early and went to bed.


Wednesday, Kira let me sleep in again, determined to not let this spring break be like every other one. Merritt was acting so normal that we really felt that he should go back to school. He, of course, felt otherwise. He had so enjoyed having the TV all to himself the day before that he surely was used to it. He dug in his heels pretty badly, but Kira eventually convinced him to get dressed and go. I ran to Avey's school to drop off an item she had forgotten at home, and then I made muddy buddies as a little surprise for the kids. I found that we had the wrong peanut butter (crunchy), so I had to then go to the store, but grabbed some movies from the library on the way so that I could at least feel like I was doing something fun on my break. I watched while I made the treat, and then I even got to finish it on the couch before the bus came.


The afternoon was full of bathing the kids and doing homework. We were surprised to learn that Jesse had broken up with his girlfriend. He said that she had showed him some notes about other boys she likes in their class, and that hurt his feelings, so he said that they should break up. What really cracks me up is that he then started passing notes to other girls in his class to see if they would be his rebound. He got 2 declinations before the third agreed to be his new girlfriend. He's apparently not very picky in a girlfriend...


Thursday was finally my chance for a real break. Kira was up at the normal time to get ready for a conference about 30 minutes away, so I got the kids ready for school and gone, and then she left for the day. With the house to myself, I ran to a doctor followup and then came home to do laundry and take out the trash. I took Apollo on a walk at the beach, which was so very cold. But, I did sit and finish one of my library movies, so it was a pretty decent break before the bus came, comparatively.


Kira came home from the conference feeling ill. She was pretty sure she caught whatever Merritt (and the other boys) had. It was mostly the runny nose, but she's felt her energy drained since then.


It snowed more than we expected Thursday night so that we woke up to find that school was delayed 2 hours. That was nice to get to sleep in, but then when I got home from dropping Avey at school, Merritt and Kira were reading on the couch. Apparently, Merritt had thrown another fit about going to school, as his routine was thrown off by the delay. I sat down with him and calmly but firmly explained that he needed to go to school. He fought back a little, but then got on board and so I dropped him off at his school before coming home to get my day started. Kira and I had planned on a date, but she was still feeling crummy, so I went out to get some food by myself and then relaxed for a little before the bus brought home the boys. Avey stayed after school to hang out with friends. Merritt lost a mitten at school, and that was after losing his hat earlier in the week...


I picked up Avey, brought her home, and then went back out to get her some food before coming home to watch TV. Hannah joined us, feeling much better, although still not quite up for racquetball yet.


We slept in on Saturday. Kira still felt pretty bad energy-wise, so she slept a good long time while I fed the kids breakfast. Avey had a choir thing that day, so I dropped her off at the school to take the bus with the rest of the choir, and then ran a couple of errands around town before coming home. Merritt wanted me to cut his hair into a "mowhog," which I figured out meant Mohawk. I clarified a couple of times to make sure he and I were talking about the same thing, and then he went for it.

He was thrilled with it, although I'm not sure it's his look, exactly. Merritt doesn't carry the devil-may-care attitude that Jesse does.

We'll have to style it and see how it looks...


I showered after that, and then when I came out of the bathroom I found Apollo throwing up on my carpet. Jesse then discovered he had thrown up in his room also. I saw him chewing at something in the backyard, so I wonder if that's what did it, but it's unclear. I also saw spots of barf in the backyard, so I don't know what's going on with that guy. Anyway, I cleaned up the carpets, sort of glad that we still haven't bought the new carpet we so desperately need. I then took off to see Avey's performance with the choir. Kira had planned to go, but she just wasn't feeling up for driving that much.


I saw the choir before Avey, and they were just ok. When Avey's choir came on, the contrast was enormous - her choir was so good! I recorded their songs if you're interested. You can listen to the first one here, the second one here, and the third one here. They are so much better if you see her sing them, though, as she was one of the only ones who sang with facial expressions and emotion. It sure helps that they don't have to wear masks the whole time, too!


She and I met up after the performance and grabbed some lunch on the way home. Kira had seen the older two boys off to a birthday party at the neighbor's house, so she had some time with just Merritt. Avey was in the mood to shop with the rest of her Saturday, so I offered to take her, and she convinced Merritt to join also. We got home later than planned, and so fed him and got him to bed. The other boys had eaten at the party, so they just needed small meals.


I start back at my day job this week, but I got word that they are not requiring masks on campus anymore! That should make it that much easier, but I suppose now I have to start trimming my nose hairs again...


I am heading to a conference in Denver on Thursday, so I may not get a chance to post about the week on Saturday, but I'll get to it when I can. Thanks for reading!

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