Friday, February 5, 2016

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

1) Continuing Education- I find continuing education can be tedious at times, but one of the things I love most about continuing education (I attend about 60 hours a year) is hanging out with other people who are veterinarians.  There's always something nice about hanging out with compadres.  Many clinical settings have only one or two veterinarians.  In my line of work, I'm often the only veterinarian in the office and most of the wonderful people I work with don't have bachelors degrees.  They are great people, but it's really nice also to spend time with people who have a similar background and education.

2) New friends and support of a mom with a child similar to my own.  It's always nice to make new friends, but I realized this week just how wonderful it is to have a friend who's child's personality (and challenges) are similar to my own child's.  We had a great day with the kids having a great time and even helping each other.  When my toddler went away from the table to play (because he has a short attention span), having the other two year old at the table got him to eat a bigger lunch than I've seen him eat in a long time.

3) Knowing that I can make a difference-  It's sometimes interesting to think about all the ways our actions can affect others and how little things we do can really make a difference.  I know that's kind of cliche, but my tendency is to have a problem with scrupulosity and be hard on myself and think of all the things I should have done.  This week, I saw an individual whose life was profoundly affected by a short conversation I had with her a while back.   I had been in a hurry, but had taken the time to give her some direction and helped her to find a job that will also provide a formal education for her.  It's good sometimes to be reminded how the little things we all do can make a big impact on others.

4) Arizona memories.  Between my inlaws going to Arizona, reading a book whose authors live in Arizona and my two-year old looking through old pictures, I have been reminded a lot of the state I called home for two years.  I may have only lived there for two years, but that was probably the most eventful and emotional two years of my life (other than the getting married and having a baby a little later on).  Here is a little blast from an old e-mail I wrote:

 Arizona is hot.  Did I say hot, I meant boiling.  Have you ever experienced purchasing a normal candy bar in the store and on the 200 foot walk to the car, it melts in your hands, akin to putting it on a hot skillet?

I need to carry oven mitts in my car to touch the steering wheel.  A 100 degree day is a cool day. 80 degrees in the apartment is a blast of cool air.  I wake up around 5 am to run in 85 degrees, which is much more tolerable than 112 degrees. Yeah, this is going to take some getting used to.  

So what do people from Arizona bring with them when they go to H_ll?  They need to bring sweaters.

Scorpions, tarantulas, brown recluses and rattle snakes oh my!  So I have been discovering that though Arizona is not Florida, it still 
has it’s share of insects.  Upon arrival at my apartment and since then, I have found many insects, little black bugs, crickets to keep me up at night, etc..  Last week at work, talk of scorpions, rattle snakes and brown recluses, things that can kill you, or just rot the flesh off of your body came up with personal stories, scorpions sleeping in beds, etc..  One woman

was talking about the previous night she had to kick a gecko out of her bed.  Not being familiar with all of these critters, I asked many questions, trying to find out if I really needed to worry about these critters, what do they feel like, etc.  So I asked my apartment complex if they really were spraying my complex and my building because I had insects all over.  They said that they had.  When I got home Sunday, as I crawled out of my car (not much space in my garage) about 3 inches from my chest was
a about 3 inch long orangish scorpion.  I happened to be on the phone to a friend at the time and she heard my voice go up a few octaves.  All I had on me were some fancy beaded flip-flops, not scorpion squashing material, then got a mop and because I was on a “Buddhist” don’t kill the
bug, just throw it from my house.  So I had my mop and I schooed it out of my garage and I think it promptly crawled up my exterior wall.  Man, I wished I would have killed it.  I promptly went to Home Depot and bought some Ortho Home Defense and sprayed it out around my whole house.  This still didn’t stop me from having a horrible nightmare of being in my Grandma’s old basement and
having spiders, scorpions, tarantulas and brown recluses running after me with my little gun of Ortho Home Defense losing.  Yuck, I don’t know if I’m going to last in the land of the spiders…

Well, I did last in the land of spiders.  Two years, unemployment, two boyfriends and several thousand miles away from home, I grew as a veterinarian, and as a person.  Thank you, Arizona.

5) My car.  We went to the car show last weekend and as we oohed and aahed at cars (my toddler wants a red minivan or a blue convertible), I thought of my car.  Big Blue.  Big Blue has been good to me.  Big Blue helped me move from Michigan to New England to the Southwest and back to the East Coast.  Big Blue has been on many adventures with me... The following is a little lengthy, but it's the tale of how Big Blue got it's name.  My son calls Big Blue, "mommy's hot, hot car," but that's another story...

   Mamma mia, not the Kia!

So the adventure of getting to Arizona.  I traveled along with a good friend and a girl that I have known most of my life from my cottage (who also needed to move to Arizona and owns a little Kia Rio), Big Blue (the name which was given to my Subaru Forester by the Kia’s owner) got started and even before we left Michigan, it was realized that the Kia could not go
over 70 without shaking violently and looking like it was going to lose parts.

We then stopped in St. Louis for a wonderful visit with one of my friends there.  We had enough time to stop at the famous “Arch”.  It was really hot, and it was pointed out we were already complaining before we hit the Southwest.  The only parking spots available were at a “parking lot” (term defined loosely) that was on at least a 30 degree slope into the

As we were leaving, I stood as the only barrier between my car and the mighty Mississippi.  My friend Theresa was backing out and a barge was passing by and a huge wave got thrown out from the barge, Theresa thought I was going to go down in the wave, floored my accelerator and according to the GPS, it went “140 mph” out of that spot.  We survived backing into the Mississippi.  The next day we went through Missouri and found out that besides not being able to accelerate on the on ramp, not being able to go over 70, and every 5-10 minutes needing to slow down for the Kia (it didn’t
have cruise control either), it couldn’t go over 40 mph on the Missouri hills.  We then began to wonder if we were going to need a tow rope to bring it through the mountains.  

The below song to the tune of  “Mama Mia” explains most of our trip.  It actually turned out to be a good thing, the Kia was our scape goat, all frustration, exhaustion and grumpiness became focused on a true inanimate object, the Kia, everyone got along because we were all taking out our frustrations/cause of frustrations on the Kia.

So we started getting used to the Kia, until New Mexico, where the Kia blew a tire.  At this point, Big Blue was about a mile ahead, and the Kia’s owner did not have very good cell phone coverage.  She pulled over and then another questionable looking guy “simulataneously” ran out of gas. Then I called AAA to try to get assistance, but I needed specific information
about her car.  Cue “Charriots of Fire” music, I ran a mile (not exaggerating, one mile marker to another) in the heat, hearing sounds akin to rattle snake rattlers and trying not to get bit by a rattle snake or run over by a
semi, so the Kia owner would not be all alone with sketchy guy.  So we got to her car and AAA said they would be there in 10 minutes.  Kia owner didn’t know if she had a spare, so asked if AAA could just bring a tire.  Trying not to
be a totally helpless girl, I suggested we look for a spare and a jack. She didn’t know where it was, but I discovered by looking under the car trunk that it was where I hoped it wouldn’t be.  Under her life’s worth of clothing.  On the side of Interstate 40, in an area with tumbleweed, we swore there were rattlesnakes, and who knows what else, we emptied the
contents of her trunk  some into Big Blue, some onto the side of the road (my friend decided no time like this to use the “emergency use only” turn around.  We got the tire and the jack out and a cowboy (yes a true cowboy,
pants, boots and cowboy hat) stopped and offered to help us.  We told him AAA would be there any minute.  They didn’t show.  Then a guy on a bicycle who looked like he had just come through Death Valley offered to help.  Then two workers from the New Mexico Department of Transportation stopped and offered to help, we decided they looked legit and told them sure, we would accept their help until AAA arrived.  They still hadn’t come.  We thanked the New Mexico Department of Transportation workers, offered them some cold Gatorade and told them, “God Bless you”.  I got a hold of the
repair shop who was supposed to come and help and there had been some misunderstanding, so they went to the wrong location, they told us they were 2 miles away.  It was more like twenty.  We stopped at the next sign for an auto repair
shop, when I got out of the car, the owner immediately came to me and said, “bathroom closed” (I think assuming that someone in a Subaru didn’t break down in the middle of nowhere, this place was called Cuervo, like Jose
Cuervo and the “town” consisted of the repair hut and two gas pumps and rusty cars).  I pointed to the Kia and he looked around to see if he had a new tire, because now on the spare tire we were moving really slow.  He
didn’t have one, “You have to go to Bozo’s”, he said.

So we went to Bozo’s repair shop and got a new tire.  I’m not kidding, the place was really called Bozo’s.

Here's what we have so far for the “Kia song”;
We've been slowed down by you since the road trip began.
So we've made up our minds it must come to an end.
Look at it now, will people ever learn?
I don't know how, but the engine takes it's toll.
There's great worry within my soul.
Just one glance and then the car's gone again.
One more look and then Meg's phone starts to ring.

Where's the Kia?  Here we go again.
My, my, how could we have missed you?
Where's the Kia?  It's going slow again.
My, my, look how much we've dissed you.
Yes, we've been brokenhearted,
Slow since the day we started.
Why, why does it not want to go?
Where's the Kia?  How could we know?
My, my it could need another tow.

I've been tired and sad, but I know it's not you.
I figured Kia's were bad, now I know that it's true.
When you don't go when you hit the gas,
I think you know that it takes way too long,
Cuz the engine is not that strong.
Just one glance and then the car's gone again.
One more look and then Meg's phone starts to ring.

Where's the Kia?  Here we go again.
My, my, how could we have missed you?
Where's the Kia?  It's going slow again.
My, my, look how much we've dissed you.
Yes, we've been brokenhearted,
Slow since the day we started.
Why, why does it not want to go?

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