So maybe I’m rethinking this whole “adventures” vs. “gifts” idea … or perhaps its just the “experiences” I’ve had in the Back Woods of late. Indulge me for a moment in just my top three experiences of the last 48 hours.
We’re driving on some back roads in the foothills through some hay fields (to which I am highly allergic), and winding through small, non-descript towns on our way to visit some friends who moved from the Island a few years ago and have yet to be visited out here in what can only be described as the “forgotten lands.” That’s when it jumps out and bites us … the cardboard sign with white rattle-can letters “Peek-a-Poo Puppies. $100.” Never one to pass up on a bargain, my husband slams on the brakes and throws the diesel-guzzling monster in reverse. I suppose we have been looking for a companion for our aging Golden Retriever. So, I obligingly follow him out of the truck and to the door, where the nice man shoves one puppy in each of our arms. These cute little fur balls were cuddly and cozy enough … until the largest fleas known to man started crawling up my husband’s arms. I don’t make this stuff up. That’s when I promptly handed my puppy back to the man who felt he needed to close the sale by showing us the mother. Fatal flaw. What he emerged with in his arms was like nothing I’d ever seen before. Ugly as sin, I tell you. I later described it as looking like Dr. Evil’s dog in Austin Powers. My husband was quick to point out that Dr. Evil had a shaved cat. And with that, my friends, I rest my case. At that point, we could only promise the nice man that we would think about it … which is exactly what I have done for the last 48 hours. It haunts my sleep. It consumes my thoughts. What WAS that?
Meanwhile, as we’re enjoying our nice visit with our long-lost friends, my son runs over to show me a bug bite just below his knee that is really itchy. I think nothing of it. Until 10 minutes later when he returns with a red, swollen calf that is spreading by the moment. We waste no time loading in the truck and heading to the Urgent Care clinic three “towns” away … where I was schooled in the difference between a poisonous spider bite, an allergic reaction, and an infection. Turns out this is just an infection … from a DIRTY SPIDER FANG. You may not know of my distaste for spiders. (Yes, thank you … I am aware of their insect eating benefits. Still not impressed.) So, the thought of the little devil sinking its dirty teeth into my son makes me weak in the knees. Then, as we’re examining the wound again this morning in the better light, we find not one bite … but TWO. Two infected arachnid fang bites on his poor little leg.
Oh well … at least he’s taking it easy in his own personal heaven … right? It’s not in the 90’s today … but at least the 80’s … with zero visibility thanks to the forest fire smoke and dust storms that have blown in. So we can’t breathe. And our eyes are stinging as we sit outside. Time to move this party indoors … where it is too hot to cook. So, we decide to do the only reasonable thing and run to “town” to pick up a pizza. This is when my husband recognizes his golden opportunity … the chance to lobby for going home early (just in time to play in his rec-league summer softball tournament, no doubt). I say “it’s not that bad, it will blow over …” To which he points out all the cons of staying in the woods for the next three days of stormy weather. Just then, as we round a bend on the back-country dirt road, we see him. My saving grace for the day. The happy man walking up the hill in his jeans, black leather jacket, and boots … in the sweltering heat, and he’s not only talking to himself, but laughing out loud too … cracking himself up, really. If that’s not back woods happiness, I don’t know what is …
The only thing that could possibly make this better would be if I were sleeping in an un-secured pop-up tent on the top of a Honda Element, breathing unfiltered forest fire smoke, and snuggling a flea-infested shaved-cat dog. Could I get a photo please?