One Extra Day of Life!

February 29, 2012 at 1:49 pm (Day to Day, Employed Posts!, Holiday, Weather) (, , , , )

What are you going to do with it??

Unfortunately for me this time around, I will be at my job. I started today at work, midnight found me trying to finish the things I could not get done during shift, and I will most likely end my day at work. My driving goal and sole focus tonight will be to leave before midnight and as close to 11 pm as possible. It is attainable. With a little luck, some fast footwork, a steady pace, few complications and no admissions, I might actually do it too. I might actually have just jinxed myself here at the same time but I sure hope not. Then I will have Thursday off. One glorious day and back on for the weekend. But that one day does make the difference.

Anyway, I hope you all are out there doing what you love or working hard toward something great. I was working hard 4 years ago and even though I am actually working harder now, I am doing something that I love. Tomorrow marks one whole month on the job. Feels like forever and nothing at the same time. And even if you don’t do anything else today, try to go outside for a quick minute. It may be February 29 but it feels like summer. Here in the Chicagoland area we have a clear and sunny sky and the temp just pushed past 62 degrees. Amazing. Drop me a comment if you have the time and let me know where you are at and what it’s like in your world and what you are doing on this bonus day to celebrate just being alive. My timer is beeping so I have to hop in the shower and hit the road. Love and a Leap Year for all! Later! (Bonus pic included!)


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A Saskatchewan Screamer? Really?

February 23, 2012 at 1:44 pm (Day to Day, Employed Posts!, Weather) (, , , , , )

Rain, sleet, then snow. That sounds like every night that I have been driving home so far. Tom Skilling, from WGN,  says this is the thing we have to look forward to tonight. A storm being driven by a fast-moving, low pressure system out of the Saskatchewan province in south-central Canada. Although technically, Paul Konrad said it first this morning at 6 am. Apparently it consists of “thundery snowfall” and “accumulation of heavy thick snow, the likes of which we have never seen before, arghhh!” I added that last part for effect. It’s basically a big blob of crappy weather combinations that lead to lots of wet, gross, heavy snow that will fall for all of the hours I will be at work, so that I can be the first to drive in it! Because I don’t have enough to worry about tonight. (It’s just a day like any other. Get in, get report, pass those meds, call any docs, do the paperwork, chart on the computer, go home. My day. My pace. I can do this.) I won’t complain too much about the weather reporting though because I am a huge fan of the terminology being thrown around. Stuff like, “wintry cocktail of precipitation” and “embedded thunderstorms”. All fancy ways of saying the same ominous things to scare the hell out of us because we haven’t had enough “winter” in our winter this year: rain, sleet, snow, then lightning in the night with heavy snowfall. Plus, I get to use all the pictures of sloppy roads and weather-type shots I have been saving for just such an occasion. This post has to be quick because I need to shower and go. The best cure for a nervous stomach is to just face the fear and get it over with. Eleven hours from now, I can officially call myself a full fledged, independant, non-orienting, unprecepted nurse. Chief in charge of my own destiny. But I can’t finish if I don’t start. Later.

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Oh Pardon Me, My Polish Seems To Be Showing

February 22, 2012 at 2:19 am (Birthday Wishes, Day to Day, Employed Posts!, Food News, Holiday, My Mom, Nurse News) (, , , , , , , )

I cannot believe I almost missed Fat Tuesday. Or Paczki Day as some of us more ethnically challenged folks call it. This job stuff is really getting in the way of me being able to process any other information in the greater world outside of myself and my immediate life. I am living hour to hour and not the good hours. I sleep for most of the day hours and then if I work one extra day/night in my work week, I get all confused about if it’s Sunday or Monday. True story. I could not remember what day it was yesterday. Felt like Sunday, was actually Monday. And since the kids were off school, there was no normal week-day structure to help me out. And even though today is Tuesday, I was unable to drag my ass out of bed at 6am to get the kids up for school. Thank goodness the BF gets up at the same time. I was out out out. Plus…I have a burning chest cold or something that I probably got from one of my people coughing in my face. Didn’t know it was coming. Couldn’t get out of the way fast enough when it did. Gross I know, but it’s a hazard of the job. You just try not to think about it and realize that there are greater things that can kill you faster. But truthfully, the odds are in your favor that you’ll live.

Anyhow, besides being Fat Tuesday, it’s also my Mother’s Birthday.

Happy Birthday Rita!! Shout out to the lady that gave me life! Love and hugs and kisses!

Since I missed her actual family party, I thought I’d take her to breakfast this morning, but sadly, I slept right through anything that would be considered “morning”. Eleven-thirty is still technically before the afternoon. But it’s too late for breakfast. She is the one who reminded that today is Paczki Day when I called her to tease her with that free meal. I didn’t believe her until I looked at the calendar and saw that tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. For me, time seems to be moving fast and slow at the same time these days. Irritating and confusing.

At any rate, I was able to shake off the sleepies, put on real clothes and venture forth into the world to get a big fat, fatty dinner to cook and buy myself some of the best Paczki’s I could find at the local Jewel. We ended up having spinach and artichoke dip with pasta and chicken and wine and our delicious, thick, doughy doughnuts for dessert. And we will probably eat them for breakfast tomorrow too. We aren’t really big on the religious aspect of the day, more so just the eating part. Sinners everywhere I tell ya. But we did manage to get the last package of chocolate covered ones with creme filling! We had to stalk the display table and stand watch from the produce section because another lady and her daughter had them in their hot little hands while talking on a cell phone to someone about how they had just gotten the last package of chocolate paczki’s, and did whoever they were talking to want them or not?? Apparently it was a no because I suddenly saw them both walk back out of the store through the in door and me and my daughter swooped in and snatched them up! It’s a dog eat dog world out there when it comes to donuts most people eat only once a year.

Of course I wanted to get this typed and posted on the actual day, but alas, it is not to be. Midnight, one am, is not too bad though, I guess. I’m still up anyway. I see many late nights to come in my very near future. I’m off today, or was off today, Tuesday, and I will be off tomorrow, on Wednesday. Then when I go in to work on Thursday afternoon, they are basically throwing me to the wolves. Solo. On my own. No more orientation. No more preceptor. Training day is over. It’s going to be me and my patients. And probably lots of overtime. When I do get to leave and go home, some time Thursday night, hopefully before midnight, (pleasepleaseplease let everything go good and smooth with no admissions pleasepleaseplease) then I get to go back on Friday and do it again. I’ve noticed after about 3 to 4 days I finally start remembering the people, their meds, their personal likes or dislikes, etcetera etcetera, and the job becomes a hair bit easier. Luckily I will have ALL my future days to learn the people. Then thankfully, blessedly, it will be my weekend off. Two days to re-coupe, re-boot, and return to the anxiety show. If I can make it here, truly, then I can make it anywhere. That’s what all the other nurses I encounter tell me and they seem to have a confidence in me that I may not have in myself just yet. Most everyone has been helpful. Some have been wary. Some aren’t talking much. And some are warming up to me more and more every day that I keep showing up. But nobody acts like they want me to fail. In 13 short days I feel like I may be a part of something bigger than just a “job”. Or it could be that I just haven’t quit. She’s scrappy, this one. Hardy har har.

So, in the end, wish me stable patients with normal labs and no emergencies. Wish me a steady and organized pace at which to work in. Wish me NO admissions until next week so I can at least have two days of solo time without any extra work to worry about messing up. Wish me good weather to drive through in those late nights when I finally do get to go home. And throw me just a small wish for a little luck to get me through the rest of it. It took a lot of school and a lot of sacrifice and time to get this, exactly what I wanted. That’s what my son said to me on Monday when I found out about my new solo status. I wanted to cry. But he said, “Isn’t this what you wanted mom? Isn’t this what you were going for? You should be happy!” You know it baby. I am happy. And I’m still scared too. But not nearly as much as I was. Yesterday was my final swimming lesson and in 2 days I’m going to jump in the deep end, both feet first, and as far out as I can go without a life preserver. Even if it takes me longer than the others, I know I can make it to the other side. And just in case that last bit of writing got to be a little too much “King of the World” or “I Believe I Can Fly” inspirational mushy mush, here’s a picture of those Paczki’s I talked about earlier, and really, the star of the entire posting day!


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This Is That Sunrise I Was Talking About

February 16, 2012 at 1:51 pm (Day to Day, Employed Posts!, Weather) (, , )

I just realized, while driving home last night from work, that I will always be driving home in the night. It will always be dark. At least while I am working where I am. And on this shift. I guess I will have to get used to that. Luckily the weather has crash-coursed me in the various types of hazardous and generally all-around crappy driving conditions it could give me in a mere 2 weeks. Dry, sunny, overcast, misty, drizzly, rainy, downpoury, icy, sleety, snowy, and foggy, with varying degrees of mild to sub-zero temps, sometimes all within the same night.  And let’s not forget the wind. I have experienced stock-still air and winds so strong I could feel the car being pushed to the side of the road. The other night it was a mixture of pretty much all those things, kind of a snow watch thing, and the wind was blowing so hard, it looked like a blizzard through the windows. Luckily I was safely inside my workplace. I was going to go clean my car at lunch but the wind was blowing so much, the snow never really stuck. That was kind of nice. Now it’s sunny again and pretty mild, but I don’t have to go anywhere. Work is trying to get me to go solo but I’m really not ready. In preparing for my alone time, I have been staying after to do the paperwork part. It’s nice because I get paid to stay but it’s bad because that puts me later home. And I still have to get up at 6 to get the kids up for school. I am trying to stay up right now and fight the urge to just go lay down for a minute or an hour. I hate wasting all this beautiful daylight but I don’t want to be a zombie at 7 pm. What to do??

I’m going for the awake time. I can sleep all I want when I’m dead right? Better go pay some bills and get ready for the kids to be home. It’s my only week day off and they want to go to the store for stuff that they need to live. The long work weekend is next. I’m excited for the day when I no longer feel nervous and panicky but confident and professional. I guess that won’t come until they throw me in the water without any floaties. And I survive the night. Eight hours is the shortest time on Earth when you are alone with the people and all their medications. And that’s easy part.

You can feel as scared as you want on the inside, but you better look cool, calm and collected on the outside. It’s the confidence credo: Fake it til you make it. Later.

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Good Morning Nicor!! Thanks For Scaring The SH** Out Of Me!!

February 13, 2012 at 1:34 pm (Day to Day, Employed Posts!, Unusual) (, , , , , )

Holy Hell! Dreaming dreaming dreaming. The last few nights it’s always about giving medications. Trying to get everyone done before I have to go home. Although technically, I was having this particular dream at 10 am this morning. But now I hear, what sounds like a tree branch falling on the roof and rolling down. And then I hear it again and realize I am NOT dreaming and something is happening outside. So I jump out of bed and start running around the house looking out the windows to see if trees are falling. Nothing. Calm. Looks nice out. But I still hear what now sounds like someone bumping against the house on the bricks. I dash back to the front, see the Nicor truck on the street, run to my bedroom window and see the Nicor guy hunched down in front of my meter doing something that I can’t see from my angle. So I get my coat on, put some shoes on and run out to the side of the house. I say, “Uh hello?? What are you doing??” He says, “Oh sorry. I’m just painting your pipes. I should have knocked but I don’t like to wake people up if they’re sleeping.”

Thinking: Oh yes, good call. I’d hate to be woken up with a knock on the door. Jumping out of bed terrified that the roof is caving in is much better. Then: Really? On February 13? Just my house? Seems kind of random. And I’m looking around like it’s a joke. So I said, “Oh ok thank God. I thought a tree was falling on the house or you were turning it off or something.” Then he looks at the tree. He says, “That tree??” It’s the tree that already fell. The one that we cut to basically just a trunk. Obviously it really can’t “fall” but still, I don’t know. I was dead asleep. So I say, “Well, it had fallen over the summer and blah blah so you are just painting the pipe??”

“Yep. Sorry ’bout that.” Ok. Well thanks. And I went into the house. Then I took his picture so you could see what I saw and then I poured myself a big cup of coffee and decided I am up for the day. And here’s your post. Not the one I originally planned for either. I had a beautiful picture of the fabulous sunrise I captured this morning. But I guess it can wait until later. I have to go get in the shower. I have work now for about, oh, the next week in a row. I know that’s what lots of people do, but I’m still feeling green about the whole thing. See you after midnight. Later.

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I Just Bought Myself A Valentine’s Day Present

February 12, 2012 at 1:42 am (Blood Pressure, Day to Day, Food News) (, , , , , , )

Best doughnuts ever! And not because they taste good. The trick to the Krispy Kreme is heating them up just enough (10 seconds, maybe 15, depending on pre-heat temperature and condition) so that the entire doughnut can be compressed into a convenient, compact lump that will easily fit into your mouth all at one time, thus constituting one bite. I’ve already eaten two and my daughter has eaten one. This box will never make it to sundown much less all the way into next week.

What I really really have a massive craving for is the little Sausage Breakfast Burritos from McDonald’s with packs of that delicious Hot Picante sauce on every bite I take. But I have been far too lazy to drag my tired ass out of the house before 10 am to go get one. Or three. Krispy Kreme’s are always available for purchase at the local Jewel Food Store. And I can go at any time of the day. Still…those little tubes of tasty are calling me. I may have to break down and go in the morning. I’ve been really good with the food and sodium on my days of work, (10 total with 6 on the floor), and I don’t seem to eat enough to mess it up on my days off. Not because I’m really trying to eat less or even because I’m just so good like that. I’m pretty much hungry all the time now and my sleep/wake schedule is so off track, that I sleep for the hours I used to be awake and eating.  I generally don’t eat when I first wake up and I don’t eat in the middle of the night. These days I feel like I am always “just waking up” and when I have an opportunity to get food, it’s the middle of the night. I almost, almost stopped at Taco Bell on my way home the other night, but I am not sure I can be a “midnight eater” and kind of afraid to find out if I could. Plus, I don’t want to risk the heartburn. And truthfully, it’s already 11 pm and the doughnuts are still here. Could this mean that I might actually be developing some kind of, healthy-diet-eating-plan for life?!? The kind where if you want something, you can have it, but in moderation. Have that donut. But only one. (Or two) I’ve heard of this phenomenon but never experienced it personally. Strange days are here. Strange days indeed. Most peculiar mama. Bet you didn’t think I’d end with that. And in a post about doughnuts. Night all.

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Blooming Daffodils!

February 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm (Body and Brains!, Day to Day, Employed Posts!, Exercise, Football, School News) (, , , , , , )

By the time these daffodil sprouts turn into flowers I hope I will be properly work-a-fied. It’s been one week now and I am still trying to figure out how to re-organize everything again. At work and at home. The work is just plugging along. Trying to get the routine. Trying to figure out how to manage my time so that everybody gets everything they need in my time on the floor. I’m going to try a new system tonight and see if I can help myself stay on track better. Thank goodness for the people who are precepting me. They are awesome.

Here at home, I have given myself 30 minutes to complete this post and go to the large pile of laundry that is sitting on the couch and, sort of, in one basket on the floor. That’s where it originally started. Nice and small and contained to one location. But as the days go by and people need specific clothes and I have to keep washing my same uniform, the pile grows. So that certainly hasn’t changed since school or even after school was done. I fear this may be one of those things that never change. The grocery accumulating has also suffered. I have a list. I meant to go. But I believe I am now getting my PM schedule-body-energy-alertness-shift-in-sleep-pattern thing going and it’s really messing up my daytime-energy-sleep thing. I slept yesterday AND today after the kids left. That should be enough right? I know my nights are getting better because I can actually see to drive home now. My contacts still felt fresh Tuesday night. And that’s a good thing because the weather keeps threatening to be crappy and it seems to be giving it it’s best effort at 11 pm when I’m trying to get home. Rain, sleet, snow and icy highways. It took me almost an hour the other night and I saw two accidents that looked slip and slide related. It’s supposed to snow tomorrow too, during the exact hours I will be at work. Perfect timing I say. Another challenge.

Ok. I missed my 30 minute cut-off. I set it for another 15, and I am at 13 right now. I would have done these boring home tasks yesterday on my day off but I chose to go to the school and see my kids play volleyball and then stay to cheer on the 8th grade basketball team as they won their conference championship game! They are going to state! It was very exciting and the gym was packed with people from both schools. Even the high school basketball team and coaches were there to cheer them on and probably to check out who’s coming to them next year. I believe the football coach was there too. I only mention it because I think he looks like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Seriously. And he was sitting right behind me with his knee in my back for most of the game. But you know, that’s just fine. I mean, come on, he’s not an ugly man. And it was a very muscular knee. I can’t wait for football season to start. I mean, I can’t wait until Mason is on the football team. I’m sure it’s not unusual for the moms to want to “talk” to the coach all the time about their kids right?? (I love you Jeff! But come on. You know he is good looking! Let me just have this!) Anyway, speaking of sexy football coaches and their muscles, I need to start working out to build my muscles. The weight thing is already happening and now I need to tone it all up. Again. For my health. Summer practice starts in 4 months.

Time’s up! Everyone have a great day! Next time I see the outdoors it will almost be Friday! 2 more days and I’m off for the weekend! Later.

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This Might Take A Little Adjustment

February 4, 2012 at 12:39 pm (Day to Day, Employed Posts!, Nurse News) (, , )

Training for the job and actually doing the job are definitely two different things. And then doing it at night takes it to a whole other level I didn’t even know about. I guess I have been lucky? Or unlucky? But I have only worked the day shift, and never weekends, pretty much my whole life. In an office. Without any inherent danger or threat to life, for me or the people I work with. Now I am in a job where I actually get to help people. But consequently, I can also hurt them, so I need to be clear and focused.

Now I have this second shift thing going that takes me from the chaos of the day people to the relative calm of the night people. We are the transition group. Everybody’s here! Tick tock. Everybody’s gone! Tick tock. Time to go outside and drive home! The best part is that I don’t have to get up early the next day because I start in the afternoon!! Oh wait. Yes I do. I have kids. Things to be thankful for today:  Not a school day. No bowling this morning.

I was wise to start on the weekend because I am definitely going to need some adjustment time. I was planning on working until 11. Get home by midnight or so. And still be able to get up at 6 with the kids. And I probably can do that. After I get used to being butt-ass tired when I walk out of work. And because I will be able to go right back to bed after they leave. Crikey! My feets hurt!! My eyes hurt! I was hungry and thirsty and had to pee. And truthfully, I didn’t really do anything last night. It took me about 5 hours or so, to get more comfortable and not feel so “new”. I imagine today will be better. The time will go faster. My contribution will be greater. But hopefully my feet and eyes won’t hurt as bad because I am wearing my old comfy shoes instead of the ridiculous new ones I bought (they’re good but not ready yet for my tender, inexperienced feet) and I won’t have been up since 6 am.

I only have one uniform right now and it’s in the wash process so here’s  two funny stories and then I am getting the hell off this computer. One. The weather is trying to F with me. I get out of work to a fairly clear crisp night, with my contacts rolling all over the place, but adjusting to drive mode, when it starts to drizzle. Then sprinkle, then rain, then downpour, then snow and rain, and snow and rain and snow and rain, and all the while, I’m doing 60/65 on the expressway and jack holes are still trying to pass me. My contacts get sticky and dry the later it gets and the more my eyes have to move around in my head. For a while it was really hard to see. It’s like my worst nightmare, being tired and my eyes hurt and my feet hurt and having to drive at night in some kind of sleet storm. But then as I got closer to home, the weather decided rain was good enough and stayed with that. I guess that’s not really funny, in a laughing way, but I thought it was kind of cruel and fitting at the same time. No job to full time job. Starting right now. You get to work days and days in a row and drive home in crappy dark cold weather because you’re going to need the experience anyway so why wait?

The other funny story, although in reflection may not be as funny to you as it is to me, is really more observational and field related. As a student nurse, I noticed at our clinical sites that all the nurses in the break rooms would be wolfing down their lunch or breakfast or whatever food they had. Like, really shoveling it in. Talking fast and cramming food into their mouths while fiddling with their phones or reading something. Or just sitting there. Staring into space and eating fast without saying anything. I remember one particular woman who was stabbing stabbing stabbing at a salad with her fork, holding the Tupperware bowl she brought it in right under her chin, and talking, reading and checking messages all at the same time. I was very impressed but also a little grossed out.  It happened in the lunchrooms and the cafeterias, younger or older. Same hunched, feral look about them or glassy eyed distance. I remember thinking to myself, “Damn. I don’t know why people eat like that. Geez, take a minute so you don’t choke. It cannot be that serious.” Well. HA. HA. HA. HA. Jokes on me. I know now.

As you may or may not know, I have a problem eating when I am nervous, and yesterday was no exception. I had coffee and some toast (zero sodium) in the morning, and a fruit snack pack on the drive over because I didn’t want to go into low sugar shock walking around. Usually nerves will keep me upright and alert and that was working until about 6 pm. I left my water in my bag because I wasn’t sure about drinking it on the floor. I brought way to much crap and had no where to put it. So it all got locked into a med room that I don’t have keys for yet. I forgot my breath mints in the bag. I had to pee. And I was starving by 7. We were supposed to go to lunch then, but it got delayed until 8. I still had to pee. I was thirsty and dehydrating. When my preceptor said we could go to lunch and handed me the keys to the med room, I practically sprinted to the door and to the break room. I grabbed all my crap, walked fast to the stairs, pushed into the bathroom, peed AND drank water from my bottle like a dying person, on the toilet. Sorry, but it’s true. Washed my hands, went to a table, pulled out everything to get to the peanut butter and jelly sandwich I made on a whim right before I left (thank god) and shoved as much of it into my mouth as I could without choking. If it weren’t for the extra large bread I made it on, that kind of stuck out of the top of the sandwich bag when I opened it, I might have eaten the plastic it was wrapped in. I alternated chugging water and cramming sammy. That sounds like a rock band. Chugging Water and The Crammin’ Sammy’s. HA. The other girl that was sitting there barely even looked at me. She was staring into space spooning soup into her mouth very still and quiet, but constant and steady. In fact the only thing moving was her arm and mouth. It is amazing. The mystery is solved. Very little time and very big hunger and thirst. While still trying to go to the bathroom and take care of anything personal you need to do, in 30 minutes or less. These are my people now. I am one of them. You all have a great weekend and watch that Super Bowl for me and eat lots of crap and drink lots of alcohol. But be safe. I get to work! Later.

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It’s Not Just Another Day

February 2, 2012 at 11:25 am (Blood Pressure, Body and Brains!, Day to Day, Employed Posts!, Job Search, Nurse News, Shameless Self Promotion) (, , , , , )

It’s my day OFF!!

Finally! I can say stuff like that again!

In case you’ve missed all my increasingly depressing and dreary postings in the last few months, I have been on a full time job search for a job of any time. And all my hard work has finally paid off. I didn’t want to jinx anything by declaring myself employed until I actually signed papers and got a start date. That would be yesterday. First day, all official like. Signed, payrolled, name-tagged, uniformed, bio-scanned, physicaled, TB’d, and scheduled up. I have today off and then I work all weekend and next week and so on and so on for as long as they let me. I have a full time schedule with full time pay and benefits in a place I consider to be pretty awesome so far. Everything I wanted and a little bit more. I’m sorry, ahead of time, but if you ask where or any other details, I have to say that I can’t answer. It’s policy not to broadcast anything over the internet, and I wouldn’t do it anyway. But know that it’s great and I am happy! When I see you in person, I’ll gush and gush, as you know I can! For now let’s just say I have a job and I can start paying back the cost of my education and then some.

That picture above is the first specific nurse related newspaper/journal/magazine that I have received as a new RN. I was pretty excited to see my name on it and to be included in the nursing community. It’s the small things. And it’s perfect for today! I wish the weather was a bit better but as long as there’s no snow I am happy with it. And, in case you were wondering, my BP issue is still happening but the work doc cleared me, and gave me some tips to help me keep it down. Turns out, I may have been sabotaging myself with all the water I was trying to drink. I will be asking my doctor today about that in addition to the low sodium diet. It’s very confusing and there are no clear answers. It’s good because I will be even more compassionate now for my patients who take BP meds, or anything really, and I will try just a little bit harder to explain how they work so they never have to feel confused or frustrated like I do. And I received a lot of training for these medication things! Just goes to prove that you really do learn something new every day!

Alright, I need to go get some new shoes I can walk in, hit the doctor’s office and then head over to the school to see what place my daughter gets in the science fair this year. Last year was a first place so the bar is high! I have pics of the project and it’s safe to put up now that the competition is over. More later!

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