What I've Learned On My Summer Vacation
See, a few months ago, when there were still the remnants of all that winter snow in the mall parking lot, the kids were in raptures over one of those crappy little 'fairs' that were set up by the chain toy store. You know the sort: a small Ferris wheel, some sort of half-assed mini roller coaster, probably a tilt-a-whirl, a few win-a-.99-cent-prize by spending $5 and seeing if you can toss a ring around a bottle and some cotton candy and popcorn concessions.
Their pleas of "pleasepleaseplease" were answered with a 1-2 punch of "No!" and "We'll see about going to the big State Fair in the summer."
A trip to the fair in summer, being months away and warm and bright, seemed like just the ticket. Visions of tents pitched on the grass, breezes amidst the trees, parades of well-groomed cows and the like, accompanied by all sorts of fair food. What's not to like? Sort of a grown-up version of our small county fair that we went to a few years ago.
Oh, Stupid-o mio.
Concrete. Miles and miles of concrete overlayed with a cacophony of screaming. Unbelievably overpriced, with tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of people scuffing along in the opposite direction of where ever it was we were trying to get to.
And to top it all off, I inflicted the whole thing on poor pal, Teri, who I've not seen in 2 years. "We're going to the fair! We'll be near you! Do you want to meet up with us and do the fair? We can get to spend some time together while the kids enjoy themselves."
Alas for her and her girls, meet us they did. The cranky, over-heated family who didn't bring enough cash for both riding and eating, or really even just riding. (Who the hell doesn't take credit cards these days, I ask you? That's not just unamerican, it's anti-commercial. Don't they watch TV? Life stops for those who taketh not the bits of plastic.) After a few hours of dragging around, we called it a day and packed it in, leaving poor Teri a little cotton candy colored puddle in front of the cursed Ferris wheel. (We'd gone back on purpose, right before leaving, so Colin could ride it, as promised, but he decided that he'd really rather not ride it after all and just.wanted.to.go.home.) As a topper, Sara succumbed about 1/10th of the way back to the car (conservatively a generous 1/2 mile (1 km) away, swimming like salmon up a stream of lemmings) and so Charles and I lugged her back, between us, Colin dragging behind.
Had we only stopped and indulged the lil' darlings all those months ago with the crappy parking lot fairlet, we'd have saved us all a bunch of woe, not to mention a chunk of change. Live and learn, cupcakes. Live and learn. Trade not the small pain of today for the large woe of tomorrow.
A couple of weeks ago, though, I got to meet another of us, Teresa, out from Seattle to visit the relatives. We met up at the very large farmer's market around the Madison capital square and I got to sit and laugh with Teresa and her sister and daughter while her brother-in-law entertained her niece and nephew. It was, as it invariably is, an all-out gab fest as two people who've never met in person and yet know scads about each other's lives finally get to sit down and sip coffee and nibble baked goods. It's never long enough, is it? And what is Teresa like? Just like she looks: You have to hug her as soon as you see her. She absolutely sparkles. It should come as no surprise to know she teaches kindergarten. I don't know if only lovely people teach kindergarten or if teaching kindergarten makes people lovely. (I strongly suspect the former. 5-year-olds are sweet but I think were it me in a classroom of them I'd be heavily medicated or lobotomized and Teresa is neither.) I forgot my camera but she brought hers and posted one of us if you care to scoot over and wave "Hi" to her.
And while we're on the topic of catching up over the past few weeks, what happened to The Pool? Well, it was replaced with a more modest and demure inflatable one that was used with reckless abandon by kids and dog, alike. When it was about to qualify for protected status under the umbrella of the endangered species act as a habitat for several newly emerging life forms, I emptied it, scrubbed it out and left it to desiccate a bit in the sun before filling it anew. Then one of those freak violent summer storms blew up out of nowhere. It ended up down at the bottom of the pasture impaled on something large and sharp, leaving it with a ragged rent in the side, rendering it no longer either "inflatable" or a "pool". Luckily, the pools are still on sale at an even more reduced price. I did toy with putting 5-6 of them in the cart. I think I will live to rue the day that I did not. I was wondering why Jocelyn was disparaging inflat-a-pools in her comment. Now I know.
I'm just a-learning lessons left and right, aren't I?
Speaking of learning, I did finally take that agricultural medicine test last week. Not that anyone was really wondering, but take it I did. It was well and truly taken. Now I just need to wait for the results and then figure what the hell I'm going to do with all that newly gotten knowledge about tractor safety and the lot. Assuming I pass, of course. If not, then I guess I'll not need to decide. Win-win.
Here's the two fawns who seem to be growing and learning without their mum. They keep eyeing my vegetable garden but have decided that the tomatoes that have taken over most of the space aren't what they'd really rather eat. Aren't they pretty? I tried to post a larger, cropped picture but flickr wouldn't have any of it for some reason. Trust me. They're adorable and still have their spots.
Firmly entrenched in the heading of "When Will I Ever Learn" is finding that I have somehow agreed to serve my Network and can be found on the roster of the Physician Practice Committee. Gads. For almost 8 years I had successfully avoided such things but found myself thinking, "Hmm. This could be interesting and a way to make some positive changes in the good ol' firm. And breakfast will be served."
All this must have taken place right before lunch when my defenses and blood sugar were at a double ebb for I found myself responding that I'd be delighted to take a seat at that table. I now find that I've somehow become one of 2 physician leaders of the Patient Access sub-committee of the original committee. That's 2 committees. What were they thinking? What was I thinking? I'm the one who sits in the back and nods in agreement from time to time while eyeing the danishes and wondering if I can somehow snag another one while looking like I'm just stretching, sort of a variation on that old first-date-in-the-movie-theater move where his yawn ends with an arm around your shoulders. Now I'm to be at the head of the table at the horrible hour of 7 am, expected to contribute many things of worth AND I've not heard a word about food at these sub-committee meetings. I fear a large tumor has taken over the logic and reasoning bits of my frontal lobe. Here's hoping it rapidly eats away the rest of my higher functions and personality so I won't suffer too long. As an added bonus, we're to round up several other physicians to serve along with us. Ever try lining up docs to do such things? Forget herding cats. It's like herding birds. Birds who never return your calls. Can't say I blame them.
And while we're on the subject, is there anyone else who would be horrified to find that the gown you were handed by the nurse for your daughter to change into at her kindergarten check-up/meet-her-new-doctor-now-that-your-insurance-has-changed appointment had 8 McDonald's characters spread across the front in various medical garb, all grinning horrifically?
I felt like putting posters of "Supersize Me" up all over the exam room. Good grief.
So, that's my hiatus in brief. Well, not really brief, actually.
I'll leave you (and you, Teresa as I promised you one, and you, Jocelyn, as you appreciate the inappropriate conversationalist that is the manic gardener, and you, Teri, as you are a true friend as you're still speaking to me despite the horror that was the state fair) with the following of my lovely tree lily. It topped out at over 6 ft (2 m) high and smelled of sweet, sweet summer. Don't look too closely as each cup was full of gorged and stupefied earwigs. The good with the bad, as is life.
Hope the rest of you are well and you avoid state fairs and committee meetings.
(Oh, and if you happen to not look where you are vigorously weeding along your raised garden bed, and put your hand --gloved, thank god, but inadequately so-- in a hornet's nest, this will lead to a most painful stinging, causing a stream of fuckingshitfuckingshitsonofabitchFUC!KING!SHIT! to issue from your mouth as a reflex, and your small children will learn how to correctly pronounce, enunciate and vocally inflect those most taboo of words. They'll be the pride of the school playground in a few weeks.)