Tuesday was a weird day.
It started with the weather. My parents had an early flight, so they left for the airport at 4:30 a.m., when Tara and I were still in bed. I was kind of half-awake, because I kept hearing what sounded like thunder. I assumed I was dreaming, because there hadn’t been any in the forecast. Until I pulled back the curtains and saw streaks of lightning arcing between bruised and swollen clouds.
A few minutes later, the sky was absolutely glowing, dramatic shades of red, orange, pink, and purple painting the heavens while lightning continued to flicker.
It was so impressive, I decided to go for a walk and take pics. Not just any ol’ walk, mind you; I hiked to the top of the ridge overlooking my neighborhood. Was this the smartest idea in the world? Probably not, given the amount of lightning and thunder we were experiencing. But I kept checking the radar on my weather app, and the storm appeared to be skirting by to the south of us. And then suddenly, it was right overhead. I raced home just as it began to rain, thankful my body hadn’t become a human lightning rod.
Fast-forward a few hours. I’m in my office, participating in our weekly marketing meeting over Teams, when I feel something tickling my skin. I brush at it absentmindedly, but a few minutes later, I feel it again. I glance down and spy A TICK crawling across my arm. Naturally, I freak out! You would too, if you spotted a parasitic arachnid on your body—one whose saliva carries bacteria and can cause disease. At least when Peter Parker got bit by a spider, he developed cool superpowers. The only thing I might get is a raging case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, WHICH CAN BE FATAL. Or result in paralysis, mental disability, or amputation of limbs. Honestly, death sounds better than what’s behind door numbers one, two, and three.
So anyway, I leap out of my chair, flick the creature from my arm, and stomp on it. Only that doesn’t kill it, because ticks have hard exoskeletons and are basically indestructible. The real kicker? All of this is taking place on camera in front of my coworkers, because as you’ll recall, I’m in the middle of a Teams online meeting.
Luckily, nobody questioned why I was dancing around like a fool. Which begs the question: why didn’t anybody question why I was dancing around like a fool?! Clearly, this isn’t normal behavior. Have I already earned a reputation as “that” guy around the office? Usually, it takes a year or two.
I later identified it as an American Dog Tick. And if you think I’m being overly dramatic, the New York Times calls this species “the zombies of the woods.”
And to think I was afraid of bears before. Ha! At least you can see them coming for you, versus these invisible hitchhikers. Most of the time, you never feel their bite.
If I develop a fever, headache, and rash in the next few days, it’s been nice knowing you.
By the way, I need to clarify a point from my last post. You might recall I talked about my inability to chill out on weekends—the exact opposite of my wife, who has the whole relaxation thing down pat.
That’s certainly true, but I hope I didn’t imply that she’s a lazy bum or anything. Tara works her ass off, too! We just do so at different times.
While I’m scurrying about like a madman on Saturdays and Sundays, the opposite is true during the week. After working eight hours at the office, I have little physical or mental energy for chores. All I wanna do is kick back on my recliner and lose myself in mindless television. Something like America’s Got Talent or Naked and Afraid. If there’s a glass of wine beside me, all the better. Meanwhile, Tara is go-go-go during this time. She’s typically doing laundry, cleaning the house, paying bills, gardening, or disassembling Chevy small block engines just for kicks.
“You’re the yin to my yang,” she tells me, and we do seem to complement each other perfectly. One of us is always picking up the slack for the other, and isn’t that an ideal relationship if you think about it?
Monday night is a great example. It was my parents’ last evening visiting. While the three of us kicked it on the patio, chatting and listening to music, Tara was elbow-deep in potting soil. She planted, pruned, weeded, and mulched while we watched House Hunters. She was still in the yard after dark, working by the dim light of a headlamp, long after the rest of us were already in bed.
I suppose it all comes out even in the end.
We’re going camping this weekend. Luckily, I made the reservation six months ago, because everybody in the world is recreating this summer, free at last from their pandemic shackles, I guess.
Since it’ll be a warm summer weekend and we’re camping at Sheridan Lake, we’d planned on taking the boat. You know, that still-nameless vessel we acquired a year ago and have used exactly once? But it apparently needs a new battery, and those aren’t cheap. Instead, we’re going to rent kayaks.
I’ve never been in a kayak before. With my luck, a thunderstorm will pop up when I’m in the middle of the lake. While paddling madly to shore, I’ll spot a tick crawling on me, panic, flip the boat, and end up drowning.
Talk about living dangerously…