Flip Flops in the Desert

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We are learning the hard way just how seriously one must take the power of the cactus. The first day we went on a walk my daughter had to pull several "spines" out of my leg. I found this to be excruciating and an excellent lesson. Apparently I didn't get the word out in time because the next day Reagan pulled one out by himself. Today our 14 year-old was taking pictures in our front yard when she tripped into a small cactus plant. She was wearing her reliable flip flops. Quickly she came in to show me the "splinter" in her big toe. I tried all of my splinter tricks. Clay, duct tape, and needle scraping. By nightfall it was clear that whatever was in her toe was not coming out without some outside intervention. By 8:00pm we found ourselves at the Oro Valley Urgent Care Center. I felt sure they would not be surprised to see another Coloradan with a cactus spine in their toe. I was right. The doctor numbed her toe and began the removal process. When the initial tweezer extraction failed he asked for a small scalpal.He commented on Kristen's calm demeanor. Before long he pulled out a small but wide "pine needle"...at least that's how I can best describe it. He asked why we were in Arizona. Just the question I was anticipating. I told him. The nurse stayed to listen. They were stunned. The aflatoxin test results always draw a response along with the abandonment of our home. "Extreme Home Makeover is coming to Tucson next week", she said. "I'm hoping to volunteer. If I actually get to help I'll be sure to mention your name." Super Bowl, Exteme Home Makeover, Spine extractions. Lots happening in Arizona these days.