I just wanted to take a few minutes to let you all know why I haven’t posted in the past few days.
I was on what I call a “Mystery Tour.”
It wasn’t a mystery tour of the variety where you get on a tour bus and find out where you’re going when you get there.
There was no tour bus involved.
My friends told me where we were going 2 months ago, but I was in so much pain at the time (long story) that the info went in one ear and out the other. At the time, I asked if we could figure out the details later and my friend told me that she would send me an e-mail so I could read about it when I felt better.
She apparently forgot to write that e-mail.
Because it got to be last Thursday and still, the only detail I knew about the trip was that we were going to Minnesota to visit a friend of ours, and we were going to check out a museum and a zoo, but I didn’t know which museum and which zoo, and I didn’t have any idea where the each leg of the journey would take us — would we go to another town? And if we did, which town would it be?
On Thursday, when my friend heard that I didn’t exactly know what we were going to do on this trip, she tried to tell me more and I said, “But…. I’ve gone for 2 months without knowing what we’re going to do. Don’t tell me!”
My friend’s little girl told me that I had to “…. bring your makeup — because if you forget it, we will have to turn around and come all the way back to get it!”
I asked if I needed to bring my camera. Affirmative.
I asked if I needed to bring any dressy clothing or if I could just bring casual duds. Casual duds would do.
I asked if I needed walking shoes. (At that point, I wasn’t completely certain that the museum thing was on the books. I had heard a little bit about the possibility but I hadn’t been told it was a for sure thing.) I was told that I needed walking shoes.
Do I need my bathing suit? Most definitely.
My friend also asked if we could take my car because it was going to take about 3 tanks of gas if we took hers.
Three tanks of gas?? Ok, so we MUST be going somewhere quite a ways from where our friend lives.
We were going to stay in a hotel (which had a swimming pool), but I didn’t know if it was going to be in the town we were going to on the second leg (the museum) or if it was going to be in the town where our friend lives.
Oh, the uncertainties….
But, I’m pretty used to being clueless about what’s going on, so to me, this was the ultimate adventure.
* * * * *
We had to leave early in the morning, so I decided to put gas in the car right before I went home to bed Friday night. And, of course, the gas pump decided to not turn off when the tank was full and I got sprayed with gas.
So much for bringing walking shoes along…. I got home that night and stopped at the garbage can to deposit my stinky shoes and socks and then ran barefoot on that cold pavement to get inside.
* * * * *
Saturday morning, I woke to the sound of my phone ringing at 5:45 am.
“Hullo?” I said, groggily.
It was time to commence with the Mystery Tour.
* * * * *
Forty-five minutes later, all three of us (and our junk) were packed (tightly) into my little car and on our way to Minnesota. We stopped along the way to grab a pair of shoes that would be foot-friendly while walking. And, finally, with the assistance of Charlotte, our sadly outdated navigational buddy (good ol’ GPS!!!) — and with several little glitches because Charlotte is OLD (in the words of my friend, “Charlotte’s like…. FIFTY!”) we made it to our destination.
We discovered that in the time that has elapsed since Charlotte was manufactured, the hotel where we had reservations moved across town and the original hotel site is now the home of the Salvation Army. Yowsers. Crazy! We were SO lost for a while!!!
* * * * *
My car is little. It barely held two adults, a precocious 3-year old and our stuff, so the munchkin stayed behind with our friend while my friend and I took all the stuff — including our friend’s stuff — to the hotel.
At last — I knew which city I would be sleeping in!!
Then, we went back to pick up the munchkin and our friend and we immediately set out on the next leg of the journey — driving about an hour to another city to visit Exhibit A on the Mystery Tour.
As we drove, we munched on a picnic lunch our friend had so graciously prepared for us. The munchkin, being the clean-freak that she is, gave up on her apples and caramel dip the second she got stickies on her little fingers. And my friend gave up on her apples the second she chowed down on a piece of hair that her apple had attracted when it made contact with the space between the seats that the oil-changing guys had neglected to vacuum the day before. Oops. I feel terrible. (No, really, I do!)
By the time everyone gave up on their apples, we had made it safely to our destination:
The Science Museum of Minnesota.
Being the nerd that I am, I had way more fun than I’ve had since my class dissected a cat in Anatomy and Physiology lab.
The Science Museum has several levels each of which contain dozens of exhibits. The first things we saw were the exhibits on light. There was one where you could stand in front of a wall and there would be three shadows behind you — one in pink, one in blue and one in yellow. It was super fun for taking pictures!!! The munchkin had a lot of fun with another shadow exhibit where her shadow was magnified so she looked like a giant! We also saw a clear gazing ball and took some really cool photos of each other through the gazing ball.
* * * * *
My favorite part of the museum was the level that had the anatomy/human body exhibits.
I did a simulated exam, testing, diagnosis, and treatment for a sickly person who suffered from the affects of obesity — including diabetes, kidney disease and liver disease. She eventually died from a heart attack from all the strain put on her heart as she was treating with dialysis. I even got to do a simulated autopsy and determine the cause of death.
Then, I went in the Cell Lab, where I did some blood testing. I put on a lab coat and gloves, (and the munchkin did the same, only she had to wear goggles too cuz she didn’t have glasses — and she was the cutest little scientist I’ve ever seen!) and began with a test to determine the blood type of a blood sample. We sat down at the station and I said, “The only way this could be cooler is if we could use our own blood!!” But alas – we had to pick from Sample 1, Sample 2 or Sample 3. We chose Sample 3 because the little munchkin is 3. And we determined that since the anti-rh serum caused the sample to coagulate, the blood type was going to have a + after the letter. And since neither A nor B coagulated when we put the anti-A and anti-B serum in them, it was neither A nor B, so the blood type is O+. Woohoo! I’m such a nerd! (I understand that this means that someone with O+ blood can receive A+ or B+ blood without negative affects.)
From there, I moved on to the hematocrit test — to determine if the blood sample is anemic. A hematocrit test determines the percentage of red blood cells in the blood (the part that carries oxygen), and if the percentage is too low, it means that the person the blood came from is anemic. You fill a tiny tube with blood (I used sheep’s blood for this), seal off the end and then put it in a machine that spins it around really fast so that the blood separates. The RBCs (red blood cells) are on the bottom, followed by a small lighter layer called the “buffy coat” and then the liquid portion (plasma) is on top. The machine measures the percentage of RBCs and when you input the information into the computer, if shows the acceptable range for an RBC count and you then decide if the sample is anemic or not. I did two different samples and one was anemic and the other wasn’t.
ANYWAY, after all that, we made our way back to the hotel, had a bite to eat, took a dip in the pool (and hot tub!) and then fell into bed, exhausted from a long, fun day.
* * * * *
My friend and our mutual friend had played around with the idea of driving the hour each way to go to the zoo today, but we all agreed to skip it because it would be a lot of time in the car. Instead, we took another dip in the pool (and hot tub!), packed up and dropped everything off at our friend’s house and then we all went out for lunch at Space Aliens restaurant. That was a really…. different…. experience. But the food was fantastic!
And then we were on our way back to South Dakota. 😥
Of course, we had to stop at Barnes and Noble on the way out of town. I really miss living in a city that’s big enough to have a Barnes and Noble. I had to make my stop very short because my friend was in the car with the munchkin who had fallen asleep during the 3-minute drive after picking up our stuff from our friend’s house. Regardless of the short stay, I was able to find several things that I would have loved to purchase.
And then, the Mystery Tour was over.
Driving home is always the least fun part of any vacation. The vacation pretty much ends the second everybody fastens their seat belts and you start heading for the highway.
* * * * *
We had so much fun over the weekend, and I hope I can do something like this again SOON!!! I totally want to visit the Science Museum again. And I’d love to do another Mystery Tour. Not knowing exactly what was going to be happening next made it even more fun.