Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Kansas, Installment 2: Always Wear A Backpack To The Petting Zoo

 My mom had a variety of really fun activity ideas for our trip this year. There are so many great things to do in their area, and now that the kids are a little older, we wanted to take advantage of more of the possibilities. We didn't do them all, of course, but we got to choose what sounded best, and we did a great mish-mash of shopping, seeing relatives and friends, and fun kid activities that filled up our weeks together with some really great memories. Of course, you don't want to jam full every moment you have with people you don't see often enough. Stillness and just BEING together is wonderful and necessary too, and we do as much of that as we can...when the kids are sleeping. Sometimes with wine.

One of the best things we ventured out to do was this outing to the Deanna Rose Farmstead in Kansas City. We met my very dear friend, Laura and her sweet little L for some farm fun.

The kids fed some chickens.

And then we did this "mining" activity. My mom purchased a bag of sand for each child. They poured the sand into a box with a screen in the bottom and placed it into this trough of running water, and then they watched the sand run out, leaving semi-precious stones behind. It was really neat, and the kids were just delighted.

Next, it was on to baby goats!

Hey! This is fun!

Just kidding, let us off!

Meanwhile, over by the milking buckets...

My children adore their Aunt Lala. :)

Inside the lodge

The teepee

And then the kids went for pony rides, which was painfully adorable.

Looking at the pony ride photos gives me mixed feelings. On the one hand, come on...precious babies on ponies. It was the first time L and Miss V had ever ridden, and they were both so happy. The J-bird has ridden ponies and horses several times and had a great time regaling the woman leading his horse with his constant chatter. It was pretty cute (to me anyway. I am his mother, after all.)

On the other hand, these were the last photos I took that day. In fact, these are the last photos I ever took with my beloved camera. See, right after the pony rides, we decided to let the kids try their hand(s) at catching fish in the fish/duck pond. We got worms and bamboo poles and wended our way over to the only shady spot we could find. All our stuff was piled on our stroller - purses, snacks, water bottles, MY CAMERA, everything. I parked the stroller on a little grassy knoll several yards back from the water, turned to help my kids for two seconds....and heard a terrible splash.



(That would be the sound of my heart, screeching to a halt) I turned back and saw the stroller in the knee deep, scummy green pond, and I didn't even think - I just went in after it. I flung the whole works back up onto the bank and started assessing the damage, sorting through to make sure everything was there, phones, purses, backpacks....it was all there...except my camera.



So I went back in the water and searched the bottom until I found it. Of course, it was a doorstop by then. A heartbreaking paperweight. Even my lens was full of water. My heart just sank.  My phone, which had been zipped inside my purse, was also shot. (And did not come back to life after a long rest in rice, alas). Once I had everything out of the various bags, dried off with diapers from Laura's (dry) backpack and out on the duck poop-covered grass, Laura and my mom led the kids away so I could take a moment, and the adrenaline hit me, and I started to shake a little (okay, a lot). I squished as much muck and water as I could out of my shoes and collected myself as well as I could, and we went on, but it was pretty awful. The very worst part of the whole thing though was the creeping horror that came over me (and still does) when I thought of what might have happened had Miss V been strapped in the stroller. Killing all that tech is bad, but in the end, it's STUFF. It can be replaced, or I can live without it. And yes, I would have pulled Miss V out of the water, and she'd have been ok, but that would have been awful for her, and the WHOLE THING COULD HAVE BEEN AVERTED, IF I HAD JUST SET THE DANG BRAKE ON THE WHEEL. Ounce of prevention. Pound of cure. Somebody hand me that buggy whip, I'm not quite done beating myself up yet, I guess.


Here's the details on what I killed (It could be worse, in the end)
-We bought the long-term insurance on the camera when we purchased it last year, so it's covered. In fact, it's been replaced rather quickly. I got the new one today, and I'm very impressed with Sony. Their phone service was fantastic, and their turnaround time was like lightning. In fact, they emailed us twenty + photos of the damage to the inside of the camera, so we could see just why it couldn't be repaired. I was unsurprised that a dip in duck poop had ruined the circuitry. *sigh*
-I dried the lens out in some rice. Now, of course, it has rice in it, but at least it's dry. I called the camera repair shop I always use in Portland and told them what happened, and they're pretty sure they can clean and repair the lens for me, so that's a big relief.
-The phone is deeeeeeead, but I have an old one that I had re-activated, and I am NOT going to complain about having to use an old iPhone, as if that's a problem for me, because seriously? What a brat. I'm good. I'm just glad I pack-ratted that thing.

All in all, a great day at Deanna Rose with a sad ending, but it could have been a lot worse, and I'm glad it wasn't.

Moral Of The Story: Set the stroller brake.
Alternate Moral Of The Story: Wear a backpack, and leave the stroller in the car.

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