Thursday, November 30, 2006

Home Home on the Range

While our little abode is only a 12 by 58 foot trailer, it is still home and it is so good to be back amongst our own things after 4 more weeks on the road. I finally got the floor clean enough to be washed after piling things on it for a week, and now my kitchen counter, freezer and dining room table are piled 2 feet high with things from the floor that have to be sorted out - but at least I have a clean kitchen floor ;)
Our neighbor moved out of her trailer permanantly yesterday and was carrying two new heaters to take out when she asked me if I could use some heaters. I was rather excited as before we left for Wyoming I had been pricing heaters for use in little areas of the trailer as in order to heat the bedroom to a decent temperature, the living room and kitchen overheat. They ended up being more than I wanted to spend, so I told Ben I would wait and here we got 2 lovely ones from our neighbor. She gave me permission to snoop through her tool shed as she was leaving everything in it, so I brought back all sorts of "treasures". I've been wanting a matt for in front of the door and she had a brand new rose matt (I'm sure Ben would have something to say about the decor if he wasn't too tired to notice after school), several clocks, new paint brushes and rollers galore (they are expensive when you are painting!), a craft cart which I'd been wanting for my business supplies, a lovely Holly wreath that I hung on our porch (Ben loves wreaths), 2 electric fans that work perfectly(now I can pass along our metal ones that don't turn off unless you unplug them), and a variety of odds and ends for decorating and gardening. I also got a few garden plaques that were small and fit in the front flower bed nicely.
The dogs haven't been outside yet and are giving me very very forlorn looks. But it is -3F and my hair is wet and my cough gets worse in the cold weather, PLUS Benski accumulated all of the coats from the house in the van last night as he would run to the van, get in, overheat, take the coat off, run back to the house without a coat on and then grab another one. Emily is driving Tia crazy as she loves to use Tia as a backrest while she types on her little keyboard and Tia gets tired of it. Right now she is getting Tia to lift a front paw so she can trim nails and Tia is about ready to leap up. Tia is finally recovering from her bout of "sickness" (the most polite way to say it), after sneaking 2 homemade loaves of french bread off the counter while Ben and I were out for 10 minutes. She can't handle any grain at all without getting sick, and this was a lot of grain. So I spent a lot of time rushing her outside yesterday and cleaning up messes when we didn't make it outside fast enough.
Mocha is enduring trailer life again, although if she could speak I'm sure she'd say she wanted to go back to the t-shirt warmth of Stegman's Isaiah building where she could lounge in front of the wood stove all day and bask in 90F weather. Now she curls up in a tiny ball in our 55-60F and looks very unhappy because I'm not giving her an egg and cat food to eat but making her eat the dog's raw food. I would have thought she'd love the ground chicken and such, but she thinks it is rather uncivilized.
Frank is not with us this time, as the morning we left ND, he disappeared completely. We had just seen him an hour before, but with 11 pairs of eyes he was no where to be seen. Finally we decided Mocha would be a good enough mouser and took off, only to get a phone call 3 hours later from Anna, saying Frank had shown up in the walkway and was looking very pleased with himself to have gotten out of a 12 hour drive. Frank does NOT like travelling whereas Mocha purrs and rubs and loves every part of it.
Benski is on Small Animal Medicine and had a long day yesterday, being in the clinic from 7:30 til just after midnight. He never came home for lunch or supper, and around 10 I went to bed, to be startled by a phone call from him asking if I could pick him up and take him out for a wee bite before he finished up his mile high paperwork. So Emily and I quickly changed and warmed up the van to take him out and then he dropped us off a little while later and took the van back so he would have a vehicle to get home with in case it stormed. He's enjoying it and learning lots, but nobody likes those kind of hours and not eating.
He goes to write his boards next Wednesday I believe and is remarkably calm and unstressed about it. I figure it must be because he realizes he can't hope to review 8 years of schooling in the short time he has to study, and if he doesn't know it at this point, nothing he reads or studies will help him pass the test next week.
Emily learned some words including "HoT" (emphasis on the Tuh) and "uppp" (Emphasis on the puh) Upp means she wants you to pick her up, help her get something, bring something down or pretty much anything else. She also is getting 5 molars and is awfully happy about it all considering the pain it is probably causing her
I'd better take the poor dogs outside before it gets much later.
Signing off Heather

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Why we travel

This will have to be quick as Emily fell asleep and I have a million things to clean up outside before the predicted sleet and snow arrive.
A question from Sherri prompted me to write why we were travelling so much. We aren't actually moving permanantly as much as just travelling - our home base right now is in our trailer in Iowa.
In your last year of Veterinary School you can "specialize" somewhat, by choosing which "block" you want to take for your last year. You can take Small Animal, Equine, Production animal Medicine, or Food Animal. The Small Animal people have a list of required courses they have to take, which are usually in 2 week blocks. Things like Small Animal Internal Medicine, Dermatology, Opthamology, Small Animal Surgery etc. They are kept pretty busy in the vet school hospital and clinics. Equine are also fairly busy here as the school sees a lot of horses. The production Animal Medicine and Food Animal Medicine people have a disadvantage because Iowa State does not see a lot of the cases they need for experience - ie. working with cows, sheep, pigs etc. So in order for those taking Production Animal Medicine in their last year to get the experience they need, they are allowed to take "preceptorships" or "externships" for credit in 2 week blocks at different clinics around the world. The Small Animal and Equine people are allowed also, but they have so many required courses that they don't have as much time to get away to do preceptorships. Ben wanted to get more experience with cow/calf operations as well as learning how to do better ultrasounding for pregnancy checking, embryo transfer and so on, so found clinics in South Dakota, Manitoba, Wyoming, and Nebraska that specialize in these things and then he got approval from the vet school to get credit for going to these clinics.
So, in May, he went up to do Embryo Transfer with a clinic in Manitoba for 2 weeks, then we came back to Iowa for an elective he had signed up for called Dermatology. He then did a required course through the university (clinical pathology and microbiology), then we took 2 weeks off to go to British Columbia with my family. July we were back here in Iowa at the university and he took 2 weeks of another required course (can't remember which one) and his required 4 weeks of Intensive Care/Emergency work done in the emergency clinic at the university. When that was done, we travelled out to South Dakota for 2 weeks to visit a practice that does a lot of Embryo sexing for cow/calf producers, then we went down to Nebraska for 2 weeks to another veterinary clinic that does a lot of work with feedlots and large producers. We went back to North Dakota for a week at labor day and then were back down at the vet school in October for Ben to take 2 more required courses, namely Public Health and Necropsy. Those were 2 weeks each and then we travelled to Wyoming to visit another clinic. After 2 weeks there, Ben took 2 weeks off for Thanksgiving and we are back in Iowa at our trailer for Ben to take an elective of Small Animal Internal Medicine and then we have required courses til January 29th (Anesthesiology and Radiology). He has 4 weeks of Production Animal Medicine here at the University, then 2 weeks to take an elective or another preceptorship before we head up to North Dakota to take a preceptorship during the first 2 weeks of April.
Clear as mud?? Yes, it is confusing to all of us. *G*
I'd better go
Signing off
Heather, Ben who didn't come home for lunch and must be starving, Emily who is sound asleep, Tia who is very sick from scarfing down two homemade loaves of French bread while we were away from home!!! (BAD DOG), Becky who wishes she could have had some bread, Mocha who is cold and lonely after living with Stegmans for 2 months and having a warm fireheated stove to sit by, and no goodbyes from Frank as he is still in North Dakota after disappearing the morning we were leaving to go to Iowa and only reappearing after we were 3 hours down the road.