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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Who Needs School?

We had plenty of time with the kids this week, thanks in part to another snowstorm...

Last Saturday was mostly cleaning and chores in the afternoon. I did get to play racquetball with Hannah, at least. Carver started putting together a plan with his friend to have a sleepover at the friend's house, but when we got talking to his mom, we learned that she didn't know about this plan. She had invited him over to play, but the sleepover was the boys' idea. In any case, Carver went over to play and Kira planned to watch a movie with the other boys in the afternoon.

I took Apollo on a walk at a nature preserve. It was ridiculously cold, but about halfway down the trail, I saw a deer out in the trees. Then I saw a few more, and then a few more. I counted 8 total in a little group there. It was pretty neat to see. Apollo was totally oblivious to them, wondering what the heck I was stalling for while he had things waiting to be sniffed. Once we were home, Kira left to pick up Carver from the friend's house and I fed the kids dinner.

That evening, we got word that the kids' schools were lifting their mask mandates! I started to get my hopes up that my job would also lift theirs, but alas, no such luck.

Dressed to Impress

Sunday was pretty standard except that I went to pick the kids up from church so that Kira could attend a meeting afterwards. I made pancakes and bacon for lunch, pleasing the children. Hannah joined us, too. We had a little valentine exchange when everyone was home and we could do a little family time. That went really well, and the kids put good thought into theirs (especially Avey).

Jesse's Interpretation of Opposites at Church

Kira let me miss breakfast on Monday, and Avey had slept so poorly that we let her miss a little school and took her later. I did some work and then took off for the monthly Costco run. I was home to get Kira's help unloading before she left for work. I got some more of my day job done, and then the boys came home and showed off all of their valentines stuff they'd brought from school.

Jesse Builds a House of Cards at School

They got a good haul. Merritt was excited to get two temporary tattoos:

The boys came with me to pick up Avey from drama club, and then it was the typical dinner and bedtime routine.

It was my long day in the city on Tuesday, with very little break. I've had so many meetings and extra tasks lately that I didn't get much of a break in between classes. I picked up Avey from drama club on my way home from the train, and then it was the standard night.

Wednesday was odd. The weather had warmed up a lot, and so maybe that's why Kira and I did not sleep very well. Kira tried to let me sleep through the morning rush, but I didn't last long, so I joined in to help with breakfast and goodbyes. I had a long meeting for one of my students proposing her dissertation. That went well, but I was so very wiped out afterwards that I had to lay down. Kira took a nap with me, and then she had several phone meetings with people about her church calling. I took advantage of the warmer weather to change the oil on the van (I've been too wimpy to do it when our garage is so cold). That didn't take long, and then the kids were home. Avey came home on her bus after drama club was canceled. Jesse, thrilled with the warmer weather, played out in the muddy yard with the neighbors, thinking he still didn't need a jacket, even though it was 50 out and windy. Silly guy... I cut his hair later.

Merritt was a total nightmare that evening, so we put him to bed early, and he fell asleep with ease. We were expecting a big snow storm on Thursday afternoon, and so I was a bit surprised when they canceled school for all of Thursday. I waited anxiously to hear from my employer, but no word ever came, so I still had to go to bed early to get up the next day.

The morning was great weather on Thursday, so I had no trouble getting into the city. I was bummed out when my truck's check-engine light came back on on my way to the train station. I took a quick look when I got there, and it looks like the seal I had put on failed. I was not too bummed out, because I figured it probably wouldn't last too long. At least I know exactly what the problem is, and what to do about it...

The snow didn't actually start up until about 2 in Chicago, so the kids maybe could have still gone to school and been home before the roads were bad. In any case, I had to stay later in the city to observe another professor's class (now that I'm tenured, it's part of my duties). That was ok, but just very long, and then the roads were really bad by the time I got back to Chesterton. The truck did fine on the bad roads, but the visibility was what made it so dangerous. I was home fine, and found Kira had survived the very long day of monitoring the children's remote learning tasks. I missed seeing our grass that had emerged for the brief few hours in between snow.

We got about 4 to 6 inches that night. The kids had the day off of school for a winter break, so at least we didn't need to keep them on task. I got up earlier than I wanted to because I had to shovel the driveway and then had a meeting on top of other work stuff. Kira was very busy also, helping a sister in the branch prepare to give a talk, proofreading it for her and giving her tips, as she was very nervous. I offered to take the kids sledding, and was surprised when they turned me down, preferring to lounge at home. So I instead took Avey to the library to hang with friends, and then I walked Apollo around in the very cold and windy weather.

Carver was invited to a sleepover that night, and so he got all prepared for that. Jesse moaned and groaned that he was not invited to the sleepover, and he begged us to ask if he could also come. We tried to explain how that would be rude. Eventually, a friend of his came over to play in the snow with him, so that seemed to get his mind off of the whole thing. I picked up Avey and ran into Hannah at the library. Merritt lost his mind when it was time to eat, throwing a fit to end all fits when we asked him to stop playing his video game. Once he finally ate, he was back to normal.

Avey stayed up late on the phone with friends, so we didn't see her until around lunch time on Saturday.

Carver had a great time at the sleepover, but he woke up with a sore throat and felt pretty crummy. We figure he must have caught something at school and it just now hit him. Poor guy. Anyway, Kira went to get him this morning while I left to play racquetball with Hannah again. It's cold and windy again, so we are mostly just sticking around the house otherwise. Kira tried to talk the kids into a trip to the store, but only half of them are interested. There is a tri-stake dance tonight for the youth, but Avey has no interest in attending. Hannah will go to chaperone, so we won't see her.

We are excited to get some warmer weather for a couple of days this week! The kids have President's Day off tomorrow, so I'll be busy chasing them around the house while neglecting my work. Kira has 6 clients tomorrow, so she will be very busy will all of that!

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