Unwelcome Guest

You start by dropping subtle hints. “Boy, I sure hope the septic system doesn’t explode today.” Or, “I wonder if giving those Mexican cartel guys my address was a bad idea?” If your guest doesn’t start packing, the next step is to assemble a potpourri of utensils and first aid supplies; tin snips, boning knife, a small chefs blow torch, a red-hot poker for cauterizing wounds, Bactine (no sting formula of course), and two small band-aids. No, I’m not talking about removal of those pesky in-laws. It’s the season for our outdoor friends – the relative of the arachnid family called Ixodidae. Otherwise known as the common tick.

While showering a couple of days ago (side note, I subscribe to the French method – bathe once a week, needed or not!) I noticed a new mole on the backside of my calf. Aside from ruining the photogenic qualities of my massive cycling gastrocnemius muscle, I wasn’t too worried about it. That is, until I examined it more closely and realized it was a freakish goblin sucking my life fluid from my body.

Eventually I contained my panic and the neighbors convinced me to go back inside. Everyone gets a little sensitive these days about naked guy in a tree covered with shampoo. I was fully prepared to lose the leg. They’re doing amazing work these days with prosthetic limbs, so I was pretty sure my long-term prospects were good. Fortunately just prior to slicing open my calf and slapping hot iron on the wound I remembered I’d purchased a tick key a while back.

 This cool little tool makes it super easy to remove the suckers. Just slide it over them and they pop right off. What’s not so easy is replacing all my clothes after the fire. I was going to wash what I’d worn hiking, but then I started thinking that I’d just have clean ticks in my basement. Logically it made sense to burn the contaminated clothes. Unfortunately those clothes had been thrown in the laundry basket… which of course was in the closet with all the other clothes.

Let’s just say that the fire and police departments didn’t appreciate the frenzy of lighter fluid and resulting bonfire in the backyard so soon after the naked tree incident. Lesson learned. On a positive note, it’s probably good my disco outfits went into the fire. Seeing how polyester and rayon burn was a little disconcerting.