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  • Elijah Ricks

Take Me Home, Country Skies

Updated: Mar 20

It was a busy week back to the grind, with me ending up in Colorado!


On Sunday, after everybody was off to church, I showered and ate, and then I made a chocolate pie in honor of "Pi Day." I figured we would have to enjoy it a day early to make sure we all got some with a nice meal. After finishing the pie, I then grilled some chicken to put in salads with all the fixings. When Avey got home, she even made her famous croutons from scratch. Hannah joined us and then left to get some peace and quiet.


It was a windy day, but nice and warm, and so we all ventured outside in 3 groups: Kira took the older two boys on a walk with Apollo, Avey rode her bike, and then Merritt and I went out on our bikes. We then came home for a short family night lesson and activity before going to bed.


Kira had a rough night with some unexpected tummy pain, so I let her miss breakfast and sleep in on Monday morning. We had just changed the clocks the night before, and so it was a total nightmare dealing with Merritt. To him, it felt like 5:30 a.m., and so he had just woken up, and then it was time to get ready for school immediately. He is used to playing video games or watching shows for a while before it's time to get to school, so he went full Mr. Hyde for me. I was not in the mood for any further tantrums when "Princess Cupcake" doesn't get her way, so I was firm with him, setting the clear expectation that he would not get to miss the bus. He fumed for a few more minutes while he accepted that reality. Then I went back and acknowledged his disappointment, and dangled a carrot for him to get to watch a show while he ate breakfast, as long as he got dressed right then. He calmed down not long after that, and I somehow got him on the bus on time.


I took Avey to school and then came home to eat my own breakfast and start my work. I then showered and Hannah came over to join me on my monthly run to Costco. We made good time, and then were home to unload. Kira was up and getting ready for work by then, feeling better.


I did more work in the afternoon before the bus came, and then I got the boys settled on screens before running my meeting over Zoom. It was then the homework rush, and dinner. Kira then came home to surprise them for bedtime.


Hannah joined us that night, but was delayed when a police officer pulled her over. Her license plate light was not working, so he gave her a warning and let her go. She decided to bring it over the next night to look at it more closely. The bulb didn't seem to be out, but she noticed that one of the electrodes inside the socket appeared to be missing, so that it wasn't making contact with the wire on the bulb. A new socket was $50, which was bananas, so with our powers combined, we figured out that we could just bend the bulb's wire around to the other side so that it would make contact. It totally worked.


Tuesday was my first day back in the city since Spring Break, but I was excited not to have to wear the stupid mask on campus anymore. For some reason, though, I did not sleep well overnight, so I was exhausted all day. I was also surprised to see roughly half of the students still wearing masks - I just assumed we were all sick of them.


While I was trying not to fall over in my classes, Kira took Carver to try out some string instruments. He expressed an interest in learning the cello, so Kira took him to check it out on the orchestra signup night. He got all set to play the cello once he moves to fifth grade!


The boys played outside to enjoy the warmth just a little longer, playing until it got dark.


After my very long and painful day, Kira let me sleep in on Wednesday. She finally felt much better from her illness, but if history is any indicator, that means that someone else is on the chopping block. Merritt finally did a good job getting ready for school with the time change.


Kira left for a chiropractor appointment, and I got ready for another meeting, this one with the department chair for my annual review. I always find these meetings pointless, but he's a very good chair, and so he made it a worthwhile meeting.


I packed my bag in the afternoon. It was one of the most beautiful days we'd had this year, so I tried to get the boys to go outside once they were home, but they all had their fill at recess, apparently. They all sat and unwound for a while. Well, Jesse played outside for several minutes before coming inside to unwind. I did eventually get them back outside to play on the trampoline. Avey took the dog on a walk, and then she rode her bike to the library. Kira and I bathed the boys and put them to bed before some TV. Avey and Kira started looking into electives to solidify Avey's High School schedule.


Thursday, I was back in the city, and then left from there to the airport to fly to Denver for a conference. I got notice that my flight was delayed by about an hour, so I debated what to do - whether to wait at my office longer, or to go ahead and get to the airport and wait there, just in case they could get the flight back on time. I opted for the latter plan, and then while I was waiting at the gate, we were notified that the plane was even further delayed. Awesome. I was so tired already, and now I would not get into Denver at a reasonable time. I talked to the kids before they went to bed, and then eventually got on the plane. It might have been okay if I could sleep on the plane, but I am just not good at that, so I arrived in Denver very tired. I had planned to take a train near my hotel and then walk the rest of the way, but I was tempted by the thought of getting there without the walk, and a few minutes earlier, so I took a cab. Long story short, I got to bed just before midnight.


It was rough sleep, of course, in the strange bed and place, and there was an air conditioner in the room that I could not turn off or even unplug, so it rattled the entire night. The next morning I had a painful meeting with Roosevelt that I had to join, so I did that and then went to check in at the conference.


I met up with some people from UTEP (where I did grad school), and we arranged to go to brunch. That was fun to catch up and commiserate about the crazy parts of being professors in 2022. While we were talking, I saw one of my colleagues from Roosevelt walk by - that was totally bananas, because we had no idea that the other would be in Denver. He was there for a different conference at the same hotel as my conference - what a small world!


After finishing up with my UTEP people, I went back to the hotel to nap, as I felt like I could fall over at any moment. I did nap, which is rare for me, and then I felt much closer to human for the rest of the day.


Back at home, the kids were off of school, but it was rainy and gray all day.

Kira did take them on a bike ride to splash through the puddles, and Jesse got thoroughly soaked. Just before a big downpour, she rode Avey's bike home to get the car to pick them up. They took it easy the rest of the day, and Hannah came to join Kira and Avey as they screened a movie that the boys might like. I haven't heard the official verdict yet.

I went to bed earlier than usual, but still had a rough time sleeping, even with the earplugs in to block out the stupid air conditioner. I somehow felt relatively ok on Saturday. I packed and checked out of my hotel, and then went to join the conference. I attended the planary session and then asked some questions afterward that some of the audience found to be controversial. A few people approached me afterwards to explain to me why I shouldn't ask such questions, but not one of them could explain clearly what I had said that was factually or logically problematic, so I have no regrets.

State Capital

I then had lunch with a former school chum, and this evening is when I'll be in a poster session before my brother picks me up to take me to my mother's house for the night. I'll visit there for 2 nights before heading back to Indiana.


I haven't heard much from the family today, so I hope they are taking it easy and not tossing all of my belongings out into the yard as I type this. The kids are on Spring Break this week, so Kira is taking the day off on Monday, and I'm going to try to keep my productivity up even with everything going on at home.

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