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  • Elijah Ricks

To Mask, or Not to Mask...

Updated: Mar 5

You will recall that last Friday night, Carver went to a friend's house for a sleepover. He awoke feeling pretty sick, and so Kira picked him up and brought him home. She noted, however, that this is probably a record for us - we went for about 2 months with no sicknesses, and that's very rare in the winter, in our household.


Saturday afternoon, Jesse brought down his plastic toy toolbox and requested some jobs. I wasn't sure what to tell him, but I told him he could get a couple of air vent diverters flush against the wall (they stick out just a bit). He put on his goggles and got out his plastic hammer, and went to work. He got them both flush against the wall, and so I paid him for his trouble. Of course, they didn't stay flush for more than a few days, as I think they need new screw holes or something, but at least he felt like he accomplished something.


Carver was wiped out tired all day, and so we didn't expect much from him. Kira took Jesse and Avey to a store so that they could get out of the house. Hannah was the chaperone at a tri-stake dance, so we didn't see her that night.


On Sunday, Jesse wanted some more handyman jobs, so I had him pound in a few nails that were coming loose on our staircase. He was happy to do that.

Carver was feeling about the same as the day before. Low energy, and his throat wasn't great. I got the other boys ready for church, and then Carver stayed home. I suggested he try a nap or a warm bath, and he begrudgingly went to lay in his bed. He then napped for about three hours!


It was the warmest day we'd had in a long time, and so Kira took the kids on a nice walk in the afternoon where they ran into several friends who were also out enjoying the weather. I warmed up carnitas for dinner, which we enjoyed with rice, black beans, and all the fixings. It really hit the spot, although I probably should not have had any with my new diet - just don't tell anyone.


Because the kids had Monday off, we would all get to sleep in a bit, so Hannah came over to play some games with us older kids.

Apollo Needs Some Loving

Kira had a rough night, feeling crummy, but it seemed to be for reasons other than what Carver was experiencing. I fed the kids while she slept. The weather was still very nice, comparatively, and so Jesse wanted to venture into the very muddy backyard and shoot his bow he got for Christmas. I got him all set up, and he had a good time. Merritt, who had sworn he would not go outside to play until August, took a little convincing to try it. I had him just step out onto our patio to feel it, and as soon as he did, he was a believer. He put on some gear to go outside, and even played with Jesse for a good long while.

Carver even went outside later to play with them.


Kira went to work for the day, and so I tried to get my work done in between managing children. In the afternoon, we all went outside to wash the van from all of the filth it had acquired over the snowstorms. It was so very dirty, but we got it pretty sparkly.

Hannah brought over her car for a quick scrub, too.


After the cars were clean, we got everybody dried off and went to pick up some fast food, dropped Avey at drama club rehearsal, and then the boys played at the park next to her school while I walked Apollo around. They had a good time, even though they were probably under-dressed for the temperature (it was warmer, but not that warm...). We came home for a quick dinner and then back to pick up Avey.


At bedtime, Jesse and Merritt had switched sleeping spaces, with Merritt taking the top bunk. Of course, once the lights were out, Merritt got scared because he was farther away from the night light. I plugged it into an extension cord and then hung it up over his bed using a hook that was already in the ceiling. He was much happier with that arrangement, as then he could see all of the monsters and demons before they actually got him.


Tuesday was rainy, and almost all of the snow had melted. Carver was feeling well enough to go to school - his nose was just a little runny. We figure he was also probably sick of staying home for the long weekend. I had to catch my train, but Merritt was throwing a tantrum because he hadn't had a chance to play a video game before he needed to start the routine to get to school. He refused to listen to reason, so that was fun.


I had a very long and tiring day in the city. When I was home, I found out that Jesse had delayed doing his homework until the last minute. I offered, "He can just get bad grades and be a garbage man," thinking that might get him motivated. Avey accurately noted that they actually make good money (probably better than I), and so Jesse's interest was piqued. He started asking what a garbage man does, and what he would need to learn to do, seeming genuinely interested in the job. So that was a huge parenting backfire. I have nothing against waste management professionals, mind you. I just thought Jesse had his sights set on something else.

Jesse Showed His Weights to His Class

Anyway, he asked me more about the job the next day, and I was eventually able to explain that it's important that he find something not only that pays well, but that he can enjoy doing for a long time. So now he's decided he'll be a marine biologist, and that's now all settled. Of course, last week he was sure he would be a detective, so how settled can anything be at his age?


Wednesday was pajama day for the boys. I had a phone meeting with a student, and then went to play racquetball with Hannah. My new fuel tank filler neck arrived in the mail that day, but I tested it immediately to find that it was just as leaky as the one I had on there. So I just re-patched the one I had on there with a much thicker coat, which should hold just fine. I think I'll need a new housing for the filler neck, but that the neck on there will be okay once that's in. Anyway, I started the return process for the new defective neck, and that's been a nightmare trying to explain to the seller what is wrong with it - they apparently do not know anything about the part they sell...


I was in a repairing mood, apparently, because when Jesse tried to shower and there was a loud rattle in the ceiling fan, I took it apart to find a piece of wood knocking around in the damper. At least that didn't take long.

Carver's Angry Bird

Kira picked Avey up from drama club, but Avey hadn't been home all day, so she did not want to head out to youth activity that night. We got her a take-and-bake pizza, and chilled at home.


Thursday was a standard day for me in the city, and Kira working at home on her calling. It was cold again, and snowing by the time I made it home, so Hannah stayed home. It snowed all night, but only about an inch had accumulated, so school was still on.


Friday, Kira got up before the alarm, and turned it off so that I could sleep. I was surprised that I did, but I was up to say bye to the kids and help get them out the door. I shoveled the driveway and worked. Kira did more stuff for her calling. She left to pick up the boys that day, because she had arranged for Jesse's friend to come play at our house after school. The friend is also Merritt's teacher's son, and so we felt a little weird navigating the dual relationship of her being our kid's teacher, and also the parent of another kid's friend. Anyway, they had a good time playing. I baked cookies and then sent some with him when he left. Merritt was tickled to have his teacher come see our house when she picked up her son.


Avey was gone all day again because her first drama club show was that evening. We picked up Hannah and went to see the show, 30 Reasons Not to Be in a Play. There were so many kids in drama club this year, that there was room only for Avey to be in half of the show, but it was really fun to see her up there on the stage, easily the best one. We were impressed that some of her friends came to see the show, too, and even bought her a rose! She'll have her second show tonight, which Kira will attend.

Avey Cowers Under a Desk (in Character)

That night, we got word that the kids would no longer be required to wear masks on the bus, so that was very exciting for all involved. Even though Chicago has also dropped its mask mandate, my university still hasn't softened its policy [deep sigh].


Jesse felt pretty crummy last night around bedtime, and even woke up in the middle of the night feeling like he was "in an oven." He's low-energy today, so it looks like he got what Carver had, the poor guy.


It's still very cold today, so there's little interest in leaving the house. Kira helped me make a waffle breakfast, but of course, Merritt won't eat non-pancakes, so it was more for me. I played racquetball with Hannah again while Kira had the kids join a dance thing remotely. Of course, Jesse didn't last long feeling like he does.


Kira has some stake meetings this afternoon and evening, then Avey has to be at her school early for tonight's show, so I'll be in charge of the boys for the afternoon. Avey will hang out with the cast after the production, so I'll likely be keeping Apollo company tonight.

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