By Selwyn Harris
The aroma of fresh coffee drifts from the kitchen all the way to the front door of Dan Devine and April Richardson’s home early Monday morning.
The local couple was in the midst of performing a ritual that should continue for at least another decade — they got their kids ready for their first day of school.
They have three children.
Daniel and Trinity are entering the second and third grade at J.G. Johnson Elementary School, while their eldest son, James, is a junior this year at Pahrump Valley High School PVHS .
Both Devine and Richardson were slightly reluctant about having a reporter cover a “Day in the Life” of a family’s morning routine but still agreed to do so.
Their story, Richardson said, is similar to thousands of other local families who did the very same thing on Monday.
Two hearty bowls of Cheerios were waiting on the table as the youngsters completed their stretching and yawning exercises after a long night’s slumber.
“I get them up and feed them breakfast, get them dressed, brush their teeth and do their hair before getting them off to school,” Richardson said.
It was not a problem for Daniel and Trinity to get back into the routine of rising early for school because they are two of several dozen local kids who were enrolled into the Pahrump Valley Youth Activities Program over the summer.
Richardson said the program is great for parents of young kids during summer break.
“Because of the program, they are used to getting up early and staying there till about 4:30 p.m.. They enjoyed their time off from school and they liked going to the program. They did not have a boring summer, that’s for sure,” she said.
Though Richardson does not have to arrive at her job until 9 a.m., she still rises at 6:30 a.m. to get the kids prepared for their 8:30 class.
Devine on the other hand is off to work while the family is still sleeping.
His time with the kids begins after his work shift at a local RV park.
“I got to beat the heat so I go to work at 5:30 a.m. before they’re even awake. I do everything after school, like help them with their homework and make dinner. It works out perfectly because we don’t have to pay for day care. April takes them to school in the morning and I pick them up after school. It works out great. You can’t beat that,” he said.
Fortunately, Devine has Sundays and Mondays off so he was home to help get the kids prepared for their first day of school.
The die-hard San Diego Chargers fan said he relishes his days off.
“I can’t miss my football games. Now I have to wiggle a Thursday in there sometime,” he said with a laugh.
Both Trinity and Daniel are brand new students at J.G. Johnson.
They both began attending classes at Floyd Elementary School on the south-end of town.
Devine noted that the family’s decision to move to their current residence was somewhat of a blessing in disguise due to its location, which is just a stone’s throw from PVHS and the elementary school.
“It’s only a couple of blocks away. We are right there in the middle of both of their schools so it makes it a lot more convenient than them having to wait to take the bus and everything like that. I think they are going to enjoy their new school this year so they are going to have fun. It’s a new school to them but with them being enrolled in the summer youth program they were able to find their way around the campus and get familiar with it all. I didn’t have any problems with Floyd; it was a great school, too,” he said.
One week prior to the start of school, Devine said he drove the family to Las Vegas for a little back to school shopping.
He said some of the retailers in Pahrump do not seem to have the name brands or quality of clothing he is interested in purchasing.
“We need their clothes to last longer than a month. Most of the places in town don’t even carry what the kids want. They are getting to that age where they gravitate towards more popular names. We went to Old Navy, Journey’s, and Payless Shoes. We did go to the Wal-Mart here for their school supplies though,” he said.
Richardson, meanwhile, said Trinity has indeed developed an eye for fashion.
“She likes to pick out her clothes but I have to still help Daniel choose his. She doesn’t like me to pick out her clothes. Sometimes I have to get her to pick another shirt because it doesn’t match. It does make it easier that she can choose her own clothes, but Daniel, he still needs a little help with that,” she said.
One other issue Richardson said she must deal with is the fact that Daniel is what she calls a “sleepy head.”
“Last year I would wake him up and then have him to get dressed and he will get back in bed. When I’m getting ready for work I look in his room and he’s dressed, he has his socks and shoes on but he is sleeping in his bed,” she said with a chuckle.
Devine and Richardson have lived in Pahrump for more than nine years.