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Life at the County Fair: Jeans, Sweat and Restrooms without Air Conditioning

Life at the County Fair: Jeans, Sweat and Restrooms without Air Conditioning
Being a 4-H livestock parent at the county fair is a sweaty, dirty job

To hydrate or not to hydrate becomes a huge question in the middle of July in a cattle barn, with what feels like 150% humidity and 95 degrees. It would seem like a no brainer, of course, sweating profusely means logically one should hydrate. But sometimes, the physics of a situation far outweigh the logic!

I tend to wear my work, diving in head first, getting to it like there is no tomorrow, usually because there isn't – I procrastinate! This means I sweat. And I'm usually wearing jeans.

To hydrate or not: When a bottle of water can become a nightmare and simply pulling up your pants is a chore.

Just the thought of grimy, gritty dust mixed with sweat to make a paste makes me shudder – but at the same time I always give thought to the dynamics that it will require when the inevitable time comes that I must excuse myself to the restroom. The un-airconditioned, poorly ventilated public restroom is closest to the cattle barn.

We do have one set of air-conditioned restrooms on the fairgrounds, but it's a longer walk. When making your decision to walk or go without air conditioning, the sheer urgency of the matter comes into play, along with the distance and possibility of a line.

More often than not, the set closest to the cattle barn becomes my go-to.

The set-up: There are three regular stalls and one handicap stall. Due to poor ventilation, it often feels like a sauna – at least 10 degrees hotter and with higher humidity than the outside air. Stall size is adequate, larger than most, and there is a flat surface to put keys and phone.

As an aside, I would suggest leaving keys, money and miscellaneous items out of your pockets and safely out of the restroom because having to retrieve the only set of truck keys that fell out of your pocket into the toilet is just plain gross. But ALWAYS take your phone.

On a particularly warm, muggy July day while helping my kids fit for a show I inadvertently over-hydrated. Twenty minutes and one panic attack later I returned to the stall. I have blocked out the details of the horrific 18 minutes of actually trying to get my jeans back up, but I am sure it involved crying, some un-Christian words and positions in a bathroom stall that can't be duplicated.

I still haven't figured out who one calls in that type of situation but I do know I want my phone with me, because crying and begging a stranger to help you get your jeans back up isn't something I am interested in trying!

Follow along with Jennifer this week as she chronicles her time at the county fair.
Life At the County Fair: When Did A Blue Ribbon Stop Meriting Praise?
Life at the County Fair: Manure, Cow Hair an Uncomfortable Combination
Life at the County Fair: There Will Always Be Tears
Life at the County Fair: 6 Musings About Fair Week

The opinions of Jennifer Campbell are not necessarily those of Indiana Prairie Farmer or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

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