this winter is getting out of hand...(ok, that was a bad one).

I’d say things have been a tad quiet around the “Khaki Shorts” blog lately….

This round of excuses, though, are pretty legit. I’ve been very busy finishing up TWO book projects (more to come on that…), traveling to the sunshine state with six of my best friends, and attempting to drag myself through this last dreadful month of a long winter with copious amounts of hot chocolate on hand.

Speaking of which, this is a blog about hands.

They’re pretty important. No matter what side of the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate you fall on, you have to admit that the evolution/creation of hands was pretty key to the success of homo sapiens on this planet (just to be clear, The Science Guy and I go way back to about 4th grade and I’d probably side with him on almost ANY debate. Annd nooow you knooow.).

Zookeepers especially need their hands. Yes, I know fingers come in handy to all ya’ll office workers out there who spend the 9-5 type, type, typing away, but Keepers use the WHOLE hand all day every day. Scrubbing, sweeping, making balls out of raw meat, lifting bales of hay, greasing locks, tying trash bags, washing dishes, using tools, crafting enrichment items, checking locks, checking locks and checking locks are just a few ways Zookeepers use their hands almost constantly.

It takes its toll.

Even as a child, I’ve always had dry hands. As an adult and now a zookeeper, though, “dry” doesn’t even begin to describe them. I’d say a better adjective would be “gross.”

In the effort of full disclosure, I offer photographic proof below of the fact that my hand twin would more likely be found with the nursing home crowd than among my fellow twenty-somethings.

They are wrinkly. The skin is thin. There are bleeding cracks and rough spots everywhere with a nice smattering of eczema to top it all off. Pretty, I know. If there ever comes a time when I should feel the need to (*cough*) photograph my left hand for some reason, I won’t be surprised if people mistake if for my Grandma’s (sorry, Grandma, but when you’re 85 it’s okay to have wrinkly hands!).

However, to paraphrase the wise words of Jewel, despite their shortcomings, my hands are ugly I know, but they’re not yours they are my own. So I guess I’m stuck with them.

I’ve tried to remedy the situation each and every winter with a wide array of products. Of course I’ve been through my fair share of Gold’s, Jergen’s and Bath and Body. I’ve attempted the tried and true ST. IVES. Easy on the budget, not so helpful on the eczema.

For awhile I entered a BAG BALM phase. Bag Balm has been produced in Vermont for over 100 years for the original purpose of soothing the chapped udders of dairy cows. For real. I figured, hey, if it works on udders it has to work for me. The result? Eh. It does work on lips though, try it on lips.

My sister recommended BIO-OIL which is apparently for stretch marks. I started this product last week. If you want to see how well it works check out the provided photo below. Fabulous.

One product that sort of-kind of-maybe a little bit works for me is O’KEEFE’S FOR WORKING HANDS. This lotion touts itself as “The Leading Hand Cream For People Who Work With Their Hands.” Right on. Still, though, not perfect.

If anyone out there in the blog world is attempting to invent the next great lotion, I volunteer as tester. If it works on my scaly, bleeding lizard hands, it’ll work on anybody.

Also, if anyone really has discovered that miracle product to turn back the clock (or rather, grow back the skin…) tell me about it! Please!

For now I’ll just continue my routine, lotioning and oiling and lotioning and oiling until Spring arrives.

Which is hopefully soon. Please, dear God let it be soon. Please, please, please.

In the meantime, the book project I have been working on for the past year, Lily: A True Story of Courage and the Joplin Tornado has been sent to the printers and will be released in the next few weeks!

My second book project for 2014, Happy Birthday St. Louis is simply spiffing itself up just a teeny bit more before it too makes its debut.

TWO exciting book projects are COMING SOON! Stay tuned and stay warm out there, people!