Adventures in the Country - Once upon a time in the middle of the night...
Here's the thing that stung me!
I thought I wanted to live in the country, but..
Once upon a time, in the middle of the night….
Once upon a time, I had a dream. It was a nice dream, one of owning some land, outside of town where I could relax and my children could become acquainted with nature. As you are no doubt aware, today’s child is plugged in from the moment they awaken until the moment we force them to shut down and go to sleep. Mine are no different, be it texting, email, face booking, gaming both online and not, or school work (infrequently at best). So, my wife, who is an absolute genius at real estate, and I feel she should gain her license and sell it, set forth on a journey; a journey to find (da da da DAAAHH!) a home for our family in the country!
We found a place purely by accident. My wife had been researching homes, and we were driving around the area, looking at those she had located. One was near to town, yet maintained a real country feel, set down in a small hollow. However, when we went to look at it, we were unable to find it. My youngest son was just six years old at the time, and needed to pee badly! So, we turned onto a driveway leading downhill, parked and let him go.
Once finished, we drove on down the hill to turn around, and discovered the house we had been searching for! Five acres, tall pine trees, a couple of fruit trees in full bloom, beautiful land and house. We bought it. We had fulfilled my dream of owning a home with some land. We found there were deer, turkey, raccoons, possum, armadillo, and woodchucks all living on and traveling through the property. Dream come true.
Well, not exactly. There were also spiders galore. Little ones, big ones, and humongous ones! We found tarantulas, trap door spiders that could take down a horse, and a species I had never heard of until I saw it: fishing spider. Now, I don’t know about you, but if a spider is so big it can go fishing, I don’t want to know about it. But I did know about it. When I walked outside one beautiful sunny morning and saw this spider setting on one of the posts that made up the front deck. It was a 4 x 4 post, and this spider was setting with its legs wrapping around the post! That means, it had a leg spread of over 4 ½ inches across! The body was close to two inches long. And it had BABIES!!!!! Wrapped inside a protective web were hundreds, no THOUSANDS of little hairy eight legged future monster spiders! Still gives me the willies thinking about it.
I know, I know; this story is about the middle of the night. I’m getting there, so be patient. I’m still working around the outside. Another thing which lived in my supposed paradise were snakes. Lots of snakes. Little snakes. Big snakes. Some that won’t hurt you, and some that would. And a lot of babies! The first few weeks we must have caught 30 or more babies, from 3 to 6 inches long. Black snakes, corn snakes, ribbon snakes, ringneck snakes, garter snakes, and bull snakes. These little guys are ferocious, let me tell you. They don’t realize they are only a few inches long, they are the kind that will bite you; well, they would if they could open their mouths that wide. And there were copperheads. I don’t like these guys at all. They are poisonous and sometimes very bad tempered. These, I get rid of. Permanently.
Now, let’s move inside. One would think that with all that nature outside, the inside would be safe. Nope. Once upon a time in the middle of the night, I was sleeping soundly. I mean, like I ate the poisonous apple and fell into a magical sleep sleeping. I awoke just enough to feel something on my shoulder. I remember reaching up and scratching at it. Then, I was completely awake because I’D BEEN BITTEN!!! And it hurt like hell! I jumped up out of bed and turned on the light. My wife woke up and asked me a question.
WIFE: “What are you doing?”
ME: “SOMETHING BIT ME!! I KNOCKED IT OFF MY SHOULDER AND IT BIT ME!!!”
WIFE (calmly): “What was it?”
ME (hysterically): “I DON’T KNOW!! I HIT IT AND KNOCKED IT ONTO THE BED SOMEWHERE!”
WIFE (hysterically): “WHERE?!?!?!”
I moved her safely out of the way, which wasn’t too hard as she was now behind me and out in the hallway. I think she jumped up on the bed, caught the ceiling fan overhead, swung around the room a time or two, and flung herself out the door over my head, arriving in the hall in a move reminiscent of the best Olympic Uneven Bars dismount. I began to strip the bed. Quilt. Clear. Blanket. Clear. Top sheet. Clear. My pillows. Clear. Her pillows. Clea- no wait, something’s moving there. I carefully turned it over and found……
Yes, a scorpion! I’d been stung by a scorpion! I promptly and permanently dealt with the little bugger (amazing how something so seemingly small can hurt a grown man so much!). He was the recipient of a swirly! Goodbye, you nasty little bugger! Enjoy the septic tank! I then went to the phone to call the local hospital emergency room.
HOSPTIAL: Emergency room. Could I help you?
ME: I’VE BEEN STUNG BY A SCORPION! WHAT DO I DO?
THEM: A what?
ME: A SCORPION!
THEM: A scorpion? Are you sure?
ME: HELL, YES I'M SURE! I FOUND HIM AND KILLED HIM! HE WAS HIDING UNDER THE PILLOW!
THEM: A scorpion, huh? I don’t think we have ever had a scorpion sting here. (Turns to people at the emergency room and asks) “Have you ever had a scorpion sting? Me neither.”
ME: What do I need to DOO!? It HURTS!!!
THEM: I don’t have any idea. Maybe you should check on the internet.
Excuse me, but did I just call the EMERGENCY ROOM of a HOSPITAL and hear them tell me to look on the INTERNET!?!?
I asked again. They said it again. And again, when I asked a third time. They had no idea and refused to tell me to come in, it’s dangerous; you might die. Or to say it is nothing to worry about. They flat refused to say anything other than “Good luck!”
I eventually iced it down, took some pain medicine, and rubbed some Prid on it. Prid is a really good topical ointment that combines wax and charcoal. It is great for pulling poison out of a bite or sting. I used it once on a Brown Recluse bite that the Hospital screwed the pooch on with me. I eventually ended up with a black, rotting place about the size of a 50 cent piece, and red tender area some 8 inches in diameter. After about a weeks’ worth of salve, it disappeared, and I have no scar at all. So, I felt good about rubbing it on this sting.
It worked. I was still hurting at work the next day, though. I couldn’t move my shoulder much without the pain shooting up and down my arm. But by the next day, it was gone for the most part. In reviewing the sting of this scorpion, the internet showed that it was not a deadly sting, but would hurt for a few days. Nothing to worry about, as long as you were an adult and healthy.
Then, about a year or so later, it happened again. This time, I put on a shirt that my wife had washed, and hung up to dry. I took it down and put it on. BLAM! Then, just in case I didn’t feel it the first time, BLAM! And, for good measure, BLAM! Three stings in rapid fire! All in the same spot! I jerked that shirt off faster than I had ever taken one off before, let me tell you! And there it was, crawling blissfully out of the shirt on the floor. I grabbed some toilet paper from the nearby bathroom and crunched him up in it, and flushed him away to join his mama! (Bye bye baby!)
I didn’t even bother calling this time. I just iced the area down, applied the salve, and took some painkillers. Then, I went to my wife and said:
“Honey, you know I think you might need to exercise that real estate gene you have again. I think we need to move to the city. For the kids, yeah. They need some friends close by to play with.”
No more dreaming for me!
Green acres ain’t the place for me.
Farm livin’ ain’t the life for me!
Scorpions, snakes and skunks ain’t nice at all
Gimme that city, and ignore that nature call!