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On Monday, after a good breakfast, we went to the Ft. Worth Zoo!!

This zoo is so awesome! The enclosures are as close to a natural habitat as possible. You can walk the entire zoo in a few hours, so that's exactly what we did. Because it's the start of the school year, there were very few visitors. It felt like we had the whole zoo to ourselves!

Partway through our visit, our friend and former Ringling vet tech Jessi came and found us...and she brought some friends! Jessi works in the outreach portion of the zoo. She handles certain animals for educational programs (school groups, camps, etc) giving people a chance to learn more about these amazing creatures in person. Today we got to meet Allie the American alligator! Isn't she beautiful? When she arrived at the zoo, she was only as big as her head is now! She'll continue to grow up to eight feet long! Wow!

Jessi's coworker was also there with a penguin named Oscar. So cute! We found out that Oscar was hatched at the zoo, and that she's a she!! It is very difficult to tell male and female penguins apart, and she was named before it was discovered that she was female. But the name stuck. She was very cute! It was awesome to see Jessi and meet her two-and four-legged coworkers!

After that we continued to wander the zoo. We saw some cougars playing!

In the reptile section, a beautiful chameleon.

We caught this creepy gharial pretending to be a log. I'll stay on the other side of the glass, thanks. Turtle photobomb.

We also saw giraffes, endangered rhinos, various gigantic snakes, ultra-venomous spiders, and elephants of course! When we had seen all there was to see, we grabbed dinner and then drove the 3-ish hours to Austin, TX. The train was in its usual place, a little side street on the outskirts of the city. We unpacked and relaxed.

Opening day was pretty good, although the cannon act was cut for reasons unknown. Perhaps there was a problem with the equipment.

On Thursday I opened a new bank account (thanks to some credit card fraud), then went thrifting at a store near the train. Didn't find anything special, so returned to the train to cook food for the week and relax. As I was sitting at my computer working on this and that, I must have subconsciously heard the septic truck roll by. We are in a very narrow yard, and I had set my flytraps at what I thought was a safe distance from the road. However...

I stepped outside to see my plants flattened on the ground.
I brought them inside and had an emotional moment (hey I've worked hard on these, all right?), then pulled myself together and assessed the damage. The leaves were bruised and the roots had been completely run over. But the rhizomes were intact, and that's important, because that's where the flytrap stores its energy. Plus most of the potting medium (a mix of sphagnum moss and perlite) was still present. I figured if I repotted them quickly they'd have a chance.

I reached out to Uncle John, Head Chef at Pie Car, and asked about getting some new styrofoam cups. Flytraps grow roots straight down and they also need insulation from extreme temperatures, so these cups are ideal "pots". Uncle John graciously said I could come get some cups right away! I ran to Pie and collected the cups, then got to work repotting. When I was finished the plants looked disheveled but OK.

By then it was time to go to the arena for the show. We were surprised and happy to find that Tim (sax) had brought in VooDoo Doughnuts for his work anniversary! Thank you Tim! We enjoyed the awesome treats and an awesome show :)

On Friday Jameson and I did our gym time, then I went to a safety officer meeting at the train. After that it was a brief skype interview, then a little cooking and cleaning. Back at the arena that evening, we were dismayed to find that someone had gone into our dressing room and stolen most of the donuts Tim had bought for us. I mean someone literally picked through the boxes, pulled out a dozen, and left with them. Just wow. We talked to arena security but were told that if we wanted anything to be done we'd need to file a police report. Figuring that was a little much for $20-$30 worth of doughnuts, we were forced to shrug it off.

Saturday came and went. Three shows and not much to report. Crowds were OK.

On Sunday it became apparent that there were some sticky fingers at this arena. Multiple departments reported having items stolen, and I do believe the company ended up having to file a police report. Hopefully something will come of that. Otherwise Sunday was a normal day. Thus ends our final week in Texas.

In this very rare instance, the train will not be moving for the whole day on Monday, so Jameson and I get to sleep on the train. Tomorrow we'll begin the 8-hour drive to Little Rock, AR, a city that I've never been to and that the circus hasn't been to for nearly a decade! New cities are always exciting :)

Other stuff:

Thank you Brett for the colorful tape to help make my plants more visible! On a sidenote, I'd like to apologize to train crew for any passive-aggressive or downright upset posts from me while I was dealing with the plant situation. This was nobody's fault but mine and I know it. Thank you so much for your understanding and helpfulness while I rescued the plants :)


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Matthew Lish
Sep. 2nd, 2016 07:16 pm (UTC)
Hi Megan!
Quick question: I have just signed a clown contract to join the Red Unit this January. What is the standard way that people get internet access while on the road? Thanks! I look forward to working with you soon!
Matthew Lish
Sep. 2nd, 2016 11:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Question
Hi Matt! Congratulations!!! That's exciting!!!

For internet, we are on our own. Many people buy hotspots through the typical service providers. It may be cheaper for you to look on eBay for these...the way that works is you buy the device then pay the person you bought it from for the monthly service. Understand that although this will probably get you the best deal cost-wise, you are taking a bit of a chance.

Another way is to tether your phone. Some arenas will also have internet you can use (though it's really inconsistent).

When the train is moving you won't always be able to get internet, and some train yards just have poor signal no matter what, so just be prepared for that.

Any other questions, feel free to ask! See you soon :)
Matthew Lish
Sep. 3rd, 2016 10:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Question
Thanks so much! This is super helpful and I have a lot of research to do. Can't wait to join the team! See you soon!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )