Sunday, December 2, 2007

ice storm

We had an ice storm yesterday. Roads were ok, power is still on- just the annoying kind of ice storm where you walk very carefully and spend 15 minutes scraping car windows. The storm happened to fall on Critter Christmas at the zoo. This is an event where we give Christmas trees and gift wrapped packages containing treats to the zoo animals. It's fun to watch the spider monkeys tear gift wrap off their bars and the tigers tear into huge wrapped boxes. The camel devoured a fruit covered wreath in under a minute :)

Anyway, the keepers are in charge of putting all the treats into the exhibits while the education staff talks to the zoo visitors. I was rushing around all morning, trying to get animals on exhibit as well as delivering many huge boxes and Christmas trees before my animal programs started at 10am. (Not a big deal, just had to meet the ten o'clock deadline.) The camel was my last program at 10:15. As soon as the visitors left for their next program, I cleaned the camel yard. It was a giant ice rink. I figured the zebras were probably in the most danger from the ice so I quickly cleaned their barn and put them away for the day. I then put all the other animals in their barns except for the Aussie animals. The emus and black swans were enjoying the icy rain and the wallaby was happily eating leaves, sheltered under his favorite bush. I gave them access to their barns but let them stay outside. Whoops.

Every night we lock most of the outside animals into their barns for their safety and/or the public's safety. I went around to check all the animals and put away the Aussie animals at about 4pm. The icy rain had turned to regular rain so the frozen Aussie yard was extra slippery. Black swans have very short legs with big "duck feet." They were sliding all over the place, but at least they're low to the ground. I actually had to lift them into their barn because it was so slick they kept sliding backwards. I went to get the wallaby from his bush and he took one hop and slipped over. After that he was VERY careful. I never knew a wallaby could hop so slowly. It was hilarious. He was hopping in "super slo-mo." Fortunately, he was pretty close to his barn and was very happy to get inside (though he could have gone in at any time on his own.) It took me forever to check on the rest of the animals because I had to move so slowly. I never did fall!

It took a while to chip the ice off my car after work, but the drive home was easy. The only slick spot I encountered was when I turned into our driveway I slid a few feet. Amazing I didn't take out the new mailbox Gene installed last week :)

New topic- baby toys. I've gone Christmas shopping at several educational toy stores and visited several more online in the past few weeks. I've been checking the baby toys and have been shocked to find most of the high end toys are now made of wood. I know there is major controversy about all the chemicals in plastics, blah, blah, blah, but WOOD??? We all know that babies put EVERYTHING in their mouths, do we want them chewing up wood? Perhaps I'm the crazy one, but this is totally unappealing to me! (Can you sanitize wooden toys in the dishwasher?)

It made me think back to the Little House books where Laura and Mary made a button necklace for baby Carrie's Christmas present. Gasp! What a choking hazard!!! Did the pioneers whittle their babies chew toys out of sticks? How about rocks? They'd make good teethers until the teeth erupt!

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