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Down on the Farm September 28, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — chrysscada @ 4:05 am

I don’t think you can really say you’ve been on a field trip until you’ve gone somewhere that has a cow with a viewing window.

Not a window you look through to see a cow mind you, but a cow with an actual window in the side of it. The third graders had been pretty subdued up until that portion of the “Ag Adventure.” We’d check out some sheep, seen some wool being spun into yarn, that sort of thing; but then came “the cow.” There were a lot of third graders at Colorado State University’s agricultural education center the day I visited with my daughter’s class. So many that we were herded from one livestock exhibit to the next. But when we came up on the cow with a view everyone stopped it their tracks.

“What is that?” They all wanted to know. Me too.

Once we worked our way around to the proper station a perky girl named Heather with a “I heart beef” sticker informed us that the “window” is actually a “port” used for collecting stomach bacteria, not sightseeing. That’s right about when she got out a plastic glove that reached all the way to her shoulder and explained how she had collected a bacteria sample from the cow’s stomach (turns out they only have one, despite what you’ve heard otherwise) that morning. The look on those third grade faces was truly awesome.

I love Michelle Obama and agree with her message about childhood obesity; but I’m not sure about the “knowing where your food comes from” piece of the message. There are some bits of information that make it a lot harder to get the kids to finish their dinner.

Soon after the plastic glove there was a Q&A session. My favorite came from Johnny (his real name), who asked, “How do they get the steaks out of the cow?”  Heather sidestepped the question saying they feed the animals well before taking them “to market.” I wish she would have reworded that; I’ll have trouble getting the kids to go to the grocery store with me now that they think it’s a place you go to die.

Yes I think there’s some things kids would rather not know. It’s always a tough day for a parent’s menu planning when little kids discover that the meat on their plates comes from the animals in their barnyard play set. Some stay in a vegetarian stage for months; for others it only lasts as far as the drive-thru of McDonalds (Not a lot on fast food joints’ menus for vegetarians to choose from). I know because I was a vegetarian for about 5 years and then didn’t eat red meat for a decade more after that. Mine was more of a health choice than one made for philosophical reasons. My cousin on the other hand refused to eat “anything that had a central nervous system.”

My eldest daughter, the one on the field trip, is pragmatic. She was 2 when I found a Nemo from her bath toys on the table in the doll house. “They’re having fish for dinner,” she explained in a matter-of-fact tone. When she was older and some of her prized ladybug pets died I found her putting them in the bird feeder. The girl is no stranger to the cycle of life. Which is why she had no problem with what they were serving in the cafeteria after her field trip that day: cheeseburgers.

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Backed Up In Traffic September 4, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — chrysscada @ 4:41 am

Disclaimer: If you’re uncomfortable talking about colons (of the non-punctuation variety), this post isn’t for you.

So after the week I’ve had I have some advice for you: never schedule a colonoscopy during a presidential visit.

In general I’d say never schedule a colonoscopy (an inspection of your colon, which is nearly the last stop in your digestive track), but some things just have to be done. Mine was brought on by a sudden windfall of health insurance. After years of being self employed and minimally covered (I had the highest deductible in human history), I increased my workload enough to get actual insurance.

So I went and got some things checked on that I had been putting off. Just in case the health insurance company is thinking of coming after me for having a “frivolous procedure” (which I’d just love see them try to make the charge of a “frivolous colonoscopy”), I was having some GI issues.

All this to tell you how, on a recent Wednesday morning, I found myself headed to the medical center dazed, dehydrated and desperate to get the whole thing over with.

Everyone always tells you that the prep is the worse part of this particular procedure–and after having gone through it, I’m going to agree on that one. Any procedure that denies you food for 24-plus hours, involves chugging 30 ounces of Magnesium Citrate (which tastes like Alka Seltzer on steroids) and suggests keeping adult diapers handy is not going to be pleasant.

The prep started with arranging for a “responsible adult” to drive you to and from the procedure. Sounds reasonable enough, until you realize that most responsible adults have jobs to attend to on weekday mornings. Luckily I have a former school teacher for a mother-in-law and they don’t come any more responsible than that.

I’ll spare you the rest of the prep (I wish someone would have spared me). I barely remember the day of teaching, writing and parenting on only “clear liquids,” although I have the lasting impression that Jesus lives in the bushes down the block.

So I got my daughters off to school and into to my mother-in-law’s car for the five minute drive to the medical center. Except two minutes later we found ourselves at a dead stop on one of the city’s major thoroughfares. Five minutes after than we found out the road had been closed. Ten minutes after that we were in gridlock on a side street trying to get around the closed thoroughfare–and ten minutes after that and 10 minutes after that and so on and so on.

I knew the POTUS was in town the day before the rally, but who knew he was spending the night? Who knew he was staying at a Hampton Inn (Really? Most powerful man in the free world and that’s the best he could do? We really are in a budget crises) a little more than a block from the medical center where I had a date with a Gastroenterologist?

At 40 minutes in traffic we were deep into the time frame for “remaining close to toilet facilities” and I was looking at golf course next to us in a totally new light… The Mother-In-Law, the most patient woman on the planet (she taught kindergarten for three decades) was giving the guy behind us a thumbs up for honking. In her world that’s the strongest gesture you’re going to get.

So we made it and they put me under and that made the procedure the highlight of the previous 30 hours. We’ll see about the results in a week or so. For now I have to overcome the experience before the presidential election. I love the president, but for last Wednesday at least, he wasn’t helping me move forward at a time I really, REALLY needed to.