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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Spring is Here

Updated: Mar 29

FYI - I put a link to the audio from Carver's orchestra concert in the post from 2 weeks ago ("Carver's 11"), if you're interested.

I somehow made it back from Philadelphia, and then decided to put some holes in the floor while the rest of the family tried to stay as ill as possible...

After an early session on Saturday morning at my conference, I changed my clothes and then went on walkabout in the city to see what I could find. I went towards the Liberty Bell, and found some great other sites on the way, including the house where Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, the place where the first U.S. Supreme Court met, and the foundation from the President's Building.

It was pretty neat to be reminded of all the history in the area. I had sort of hoped to see the statue of Rocky Balboa, but it was a little farther away than I wanted to go, but at least I found a different one at a gift shop.

I took a stroll through Chinatown:

And got to see some of the rest of downtown as I bought souvenirs for everyone:

It was pretty neat. I had a very early flight the next morning, and so my plan was to go to bed extra early. I called Kira and the kids. The boys were still sick, but feeling better now that they were on medicine. Carver was feeling a bit crummy still, but he was still waiting on the results of his tests to be sure. Kira was managing somehow.

I spent the rest of the afternoon doing some of my normal job and packing up. I then went to bed, feeling absolutely exhausted. I think I slept for about 20 minutes and then I was basically awake the rest of the night with the noise of the city and people talking very loudly in the halls of the hotel. I just gave up and got up around 3:00 a.m. to shower and get to my train. It was a miserable time getting everywhere - I figured out that I rode 2 buses, 3 trains, a plane, and my truck before I eventually got home around 12:30 p.m. aching for sleep. The kids and Kira gave me a good welcome, and I handed out their souvenirs. Avey and Jesse had even cleaned the rat cage even though it was my turn. I helped get lunch for the kids and then unpacked and cooked our dinner. Hannah came bearing cookies.

I finally did take a little nap, and Merritt even brought me his blanket.

We had a short family night, and then Merritt wanted to play a game outside, but I was too tired and it was much too cold for most everyone else. Kira and Jesse did go out with him for a while.

Carver still wasn't feeling too well, so we figured he would stay home the next day. I finally slept that night in my glorious bed, and then Kira let me sleep a little longer on Monday morning. Carver stayed home, even though he was mostly better. I got caught up with work and Kira took a well-deserved nap before going to save the world at work. I ran a couple of errands, and then got going on a project:

While I was in Philly, my materials had arrived for my latest project. I aimed to install some floor outlets on either side of our new couch, because Hannah likes to play on her laptop sometimes when we watch, and I often use mine too, but we've had to use an extension cord like cavemen. So I was itching to get those installed. I cut the first hole and installed the box before the kids got home.

Merritt was very interested in the new outlet, and he couldn't wait to get power to them. He even reminded me on Wednesday morning not to forget to "do the electricity."

I did the other one and then wired them up through the crawlspace on Wednesday (when I really should have been doing my day job). I'm really proud of them - this was easily the biggest electrical job I've done so far, and nothing has caught fire yet!

So I have now forbidden the use of any more wall outlets, as we are a floor outlet family from henceforth.

Now I'm itching to do some other house projects. I tend to get this way as spring gets closer, so I'll try to keep it under control...

Anyway, when the kids got home, it was lots of homework and then dishes and other things that I should have been doing instead of cutting holes in the floor. Jesse went to play with friends for a long time. He wrote a story at school that he said we could share (you can scroll through the 4 pages):

He's pretty proud of it. Here's a transcript if it's too hard to make out from the images (misspellings retained):

Chapter 1. Getting to the Sight
“Ohhh, I think we’re hear!” I said excitedly. The helicopter lower[e]d to the site. I ho[p]ped out and saw a bearded man with an edvencherers [adventurer’s] hat on. “Hi, you must be Joe,” I yelled over the noise of the helicopter perpeler. “Hello, and yes, I am Joe,” said the bearded man. (The helicopter was off by then.) So you must be the visiter I was expecting,” said Joe. “Yahha I must be,” I said. “Well…welcome to the grand staircase!” Joe said excitedly. Then Joe showed us around and then told us about him and [h]is crew. “So here is Tim, short for Timithy, and Eli short for Elisha, and lastly Josh and Sam,” said Joe. Everyone met e[a]ch other and I unpackt my stuff. We then had a campfire. We made s’mor[e]s and told spooky stor[ie]s. I was super scared that night.
Chapter 2. Fossil Fuiry [Fury]
I woke up the next morning. I wanted to sleep in by an hour but I couldn’t because I was to[o] scared. I got dres[s]ed and waited for everyone else to wake up. They woke up about an hour after me. “Finily you guys are awake,” I said real winy. “Ahhh,” everyone sighed. “Welp, let’s get ready,” Joe said in a tired voise. They all got up and gathered their stuff. They got dresst and did all that other stuff. Joe then got us into pares and told me how and what to do to find fossils. We then walked 8 miles and started digging. Me and Tim got tired after half an hour. But we were determine[e]d. After……I can’t even count how many hours we dug, Tim and I found something…a fossil!!!! I rushed over to Joe. “Joe, JOE!!!” I yelled super ex[c]ited. “Me and Tim found something!!!” I ran back to Tim, Joe followed. “WOW, that’s a butty [beauty],” Joe excla[i]med. “I think this is a rapter tooth,” Joe said. We walked back to the sight with the fossil. By then it was dark. We then had another camp fire and this time we had hot dogs. I also told them to tell less scary storys because last time I got too scared. Ev[e]ryone was okay with it, but then Joe started to act a little strange. “Sooooo Jesse, Tim, congragulashons on finding that fossil,” said Joe. “Ummmmmmm so about that,” said Joe. Then a helicopter came our way. Then it landed and Joe hop[p]ed in. “W[h]ere are you going?” asked Sam. “I’ll be seeing you later,” Joe said with a smirk. “Wait are you going to abandon us?” Eli said. “You’ll figer [figure] it out soon enough,” Joe said. “OOHHH NO YOU DON’T” Tim yelled. Tim then rand and tried to get in the helicopter but it was out of reach. “That won’t be happening,” Joe said in an evel [evil] voise. Then he threw a bom[b] at us! Then BOOOm!!!
Chapter 3. Betr[a]yed
Tinnnnnnnng. We he[a]rd as we woke up. “Uhhhhhhh,” we all said. “What happen[e]d?...Oh I remember, we got betr[a]yed by Joe,” Josh said. “Wait something feels off…vary off.” I said. We looked in the distens [distance]. We didn’t see the sight. “Wait, were we in a coma?!” Eli said. “I think we were,” Sam said. “What hap[p]en[e]d?” Tim said. I don’t know,” I said. “But we need revenge,” I said. “Let’s get back at him,” Josh said. Then we walked for 9 weeks. We finily [finally] made it. Then we went to Joe’s house, kno[c]ked on his door. Then he open[e]d it. Joe looked older. So we were definit[e]ly in a coma. “Can I help you?” Joe said. I put his back on the wall. Then I slapt him as hard as I could. “Ow!” Joe yelled. “Wait. I remember you,” Joe said.

Hannah really needed to take her car in to fix the brakes, so she and Kira arranged for Hannah to ride with Kira home and then take the truck back home so that she could drop off her car and then walk to the truck to get to work. Kira then drove me to the train station the next day before getting the kids ready for school.

Merritt woke up at 2:00 a.m. during the night for unclear reasons, and then he couldn't go back to sleep, so Kira dealt with him. He then got up after I did in the morning, so I hope that means he did fall back asleep.

A Rare Sighting of Merritt at the Lego Table

Classes went well for me in the city, and Carver went to school, feeling mostly alright. His strep test came back later in the week as negative, and so we don't know what he had. At least it was short-lived.

I had a meeting in the afternoon with the Department Chair for my yearly evaluation thing. It went really well, and I guess that I'm my own worst critic. Hannah picked me up from the train station and then I dropped her at home. Her brakes were repaired, but not without lots of delays and headaches.

Ivy was there in the afternoon because it was Apollo's birthday - he is 5 now (in people years). I realized that he and I will be the same age at his next birthday (if you count him in doggy years). Once Ivy went home we got the kids fed, and Kira spent a while cleaning up a big mess that the neighbor kid left in the bathroom. She's got some special needs, so maybe we need to keep a closer eye on her. It was a typical evening of finishing up homework and getting ready for school the next day.

Wednesday I let Kira sleep in a bit and then once everyone was at school I did my work and then got going on finishing up the floor outlets. Kira left for a dentist appointment and then ran some errands, so I was glad to have finished the project before she was back. I then showered and got ready to go pick up Avey from rehearsal. The evening was pretty typical.

Thursday was another busy day in the city for me, but nothing unusual. I was quite surprised when Merritt showed me a little note he had gotten from his friend in class - it said "I love you." He's liked this girl for a while, but her parents seem pretty hesitant toward the idea, so we've worried that maybe she got creeped out by his affections. So now we have a better idea of how she feels, and we have yet another elementary school romance to supervise. So far, Carver shows no signs of romantic interest...

Friday I let Kira sleep in again and then I played racquetball with Hannah after dropping Avey at school. I then made up for some of the time I lost on my project by doing my day job. When the bus brought the boys home, they were pumped up to start off their spring break. In a very strange move, Merritt spent at least an hour working on a project that involved some simple coding on his school-issued iPad. He put in a lot of work, and it was really cool to see him take an interest in learning those coding basics.

Jesse and a friend had come up with the idea to sell paper hats and boats that they recently learned to fold, so they had decided to set up a little stand in the front yard and sell paper hats for a quarter or 50 cents, depending on how large they were. I started asking some questions about his business plan, but he didn't like that - he just wanted to go for it, so I helped him find a frame to put a sign in, and he got all set up in the front yard when the friend came over to "help."

They waited around out there for about an hour, trying to wave down cars. Finally they got their first customer and were so excited! It was proof that their plan could work.

Kira left to take Avey downtown to hang out with friends, and then Ivy and her people came over. I tried to manage the doggy play date in the backyard, but Ivy's kids were so interested in the idea of selling the paper hats that they were overcome with the entrepreneurial spirit and stayed there to also help flag down customers driving by. For the last hour that they were out there, they started getting more customers and even several donations - one person gave them $5, and another gave $10. I think they even got a $20 in there somewhere. Jesse said that they had a total of 8 "customers" and with the success of the venture, he seems to have settled on a career in selling paper hats in our front yard. Let's be real here: $30 in 2 hours is more than a lot of people make, so it works on paper.

It was nice to see his success, and then we got everybody fed later than usual once they wrapped it up. Hannah dropped by quickly to dote on Apollo and to drop off some cookies and store items we needed. She had a temple trip planned for the next morning, so she did not stay. I went to pick up Avey downtown. She had a good time, although it was a bit cold as it got later.

We got the kids to bed, although it was later than most nights because they were still riding the high of a successful business venture combined with the energy of spring break. Kira and I watched a little TV, and then we went to bed.

Today, I am on my way to Chicago because I was asked to come to Admitted Student Day, which is where the newly admitted students come to find out more about the university, its programs, and why they should definitely not drop out. I am going to be part of some panel that talks about how great we are and then I will teach a mock lecture for 45 minutes. I did this a few years ago, and it usually turns out alright - I just wish I didn't have to lose my Saturday. The train back home does not run until 5, so Hannah agreed to swing by my office on her way back from the temple.

This next week is gearing up to be very busy what with the kids home all week. I have a normal work schedule with a few meetings peppered in there, so that's going to be a challenge. Still, it will be a good break for them. Merritt is starting up gymnastics again, so he will be thrilled for that. Avey is hoping to find some good opportunities to hang out with friends during the week, and Kira and I are going to try to keep our sanity.

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