Monday, September 15, 2014


Do you want to know what happened to us this weekend?

Yellow-jackets! That's what happened to us. 

Stupid, evil, vindictive yellow-jackets.

Do you remember a couple of entries ago, I mentioned that I got stung by a bee while mowing the lawn?  Well, it turned out it wasn't a bee.  Unknown to us, a very large colony of yellow-jackets had built a ground nest near the edge of our property.  It's right up against the property line with our neighbors, so it isn't a place we spend a whole lot of time hanging out and we had no idea  it was there.  The last time I mowed, I guess I just barely disturbed them because I was only stung once, and because Steve said there were some bees hanging around the crepe myrtle, that's what we thought got me.  This time, though, I apparently did more than disturb them.  I must have disturbed them and said something horrible about their mother, if their reaction was any indication!

Since getting stung last time, I was careful to wear blue-jeans when I mowed.  I should have worn tennis shoes, too, but I didn't.  I thought that jeans would be enough, because really, statistically, how often can expect to get stung while mowing your lawn if it's only happened once in 14 years?

So I'm working on the last section of our yard, which is the big part in the front.  I usually start by going around the entire perimeter, and then sectioning it off.  This time, I was doing that, but decided that I needed to go over the same ground since I missed a spot, which was apparently the wrong thing to do.  I hit the nest twice, and as I went over it the second time, they came after me.  The first one got me in the ear!  THE MOTHER-EFFING EAR!  As I sat there, holding my ear, I got stung on my foot, my hand and my calf.  I panicked.  I literally couldn't figure out how to get away.  I realized, way too late that I was on a riding lawnmower, which I then managed to drive into the center of the lawn.  I was still in a panic, so I couldn't figure out how to turn it off, so I just jumped off and ran into the house.  For all I knew at that point, they were still following me.  I ran through the house, stripped off my clothes and I jumped into the shower to drown anything that was still on me.  Poor Steve had no idea what was going on, so he walked over to where I had been and he got swarmed.  While I was in the shower, I heard him running through the house and getting into the other shower.  He'd been stung 11 times on his legs.  He'd still managed to get the lawnmower inside and the garage closed, so points go to Steve in this instance.  We are so lucky that neither one of us is allergic, but we still popped Benadryl just in case.

Y'all, I'd like to say I was stoic and able to deal with the pain with no problem, but I'd be lying.  I always believed I had a pretty high tolerance for pain, but I was proven very, very wrong.  I'd only been stung 4 times, and I think the three on my hand/foot/leg weren't that bad, but it was the one in my ear that nearly drove me insane.  Imagine someone stabbing a needle into your ear and wiggling it around for hours without stopping.  The pain wouldn't back off.  The longer I sat there, the worse it got.  Steve said that his stings hurt, but they weren't that bad.  Me, I just laid down and cried.  I did everything I could think of to help them: we put Neosporin on the stings, we crushed up aspirin applied that, baking soda paste, cortisone cream, but nothing helped.  I finally decided that if I could just go to sleep, I could get away from it.  But I couldn't go to sleep.  My muscles were twitching so bad that I couldn't even doze off.  I tried icing my ear and applying heat to it, but nothing helped.  I even kept trying to take Tylenol and stuff like that, but nothing touched it.  We finally had to go to Target and buy some kind of after sting stuff (that did nothing) and I bought some Z-quil because I figured that if I couldn't go to sleep on my own, I'd drug myself into it.  By the time we got home, my ear was hurting a tiny bit less, but my hand and foot had begun swelling up like balloons.  I did fall asleep, which was a blessing, but I didn't stay asleep for long.  I finally just got up, took the sleeping stuff, and went to sleep for real.  I was going to avoid the pain as much as possible.  That probably doesn't speak well about my coping skills!  Steve said his stings had stopped hurting, but had started to itch like crazy, so he stayed in the living-room all night so that he wouldn't wake me up while he scratched. 

I woke up at around 4:00 that morning, and took more Benadryl, which was not smart on top of all of the other stuff I'd been taking, which made me too drunk to go to church!  Steve was not hurtinganymore, his bites were itchy but he was ok, so he went ahead to church and had to run the sound for me.  I slept for a long, long time.  When I finally woke up, I went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror, guys, my ear was 3 times bigger than an ear should be!  It was so gross!  I had a cauliflower ear, for real! It was so swollen that I couldn't even bend my earlobe!  My foot and hand were also swollen up so badly that they didn't look like they belonged on my body.  You know how babies have those little fat, boneless looking hands and feet?  That is what I had on one side of my body.  When I'd walk, my foot looked like a water balloon being compressed.  YUCK! So much yuck!  I WAS A MUTANT! 
Artist's Rendition 

I hid in the house for the rest of the day like I was the Elephant Man or something.  I probably could have gone to church that night, the pain was all but gone, but I was afraid everyone would be staring at my ear.  Seriously, it was like freak-show big.  It was still really swollen when I went to bed, but it did go down a lot during the night so I was able to come to work today. Besides, I can stand three people looking at my ear, but not dozens and dozens of them looking.  

At any rate, now we are mainly just very itchy.  My hand a foot are still swollen, but that is getting better.  I'll be glad when I can wear a normal shoe again, though.  We'll be lucky if Steve has legs left after he finishes scratching them. He really did get stung a lot, but he was able to stand the pain much better than me.  I felt like such a weenie.  

So, that was my weekend!  I hope yours was much better! :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014


I'm beginning to wonder if I'm not deeply and irrevocably flawed, or maybe just an enormous jerk or something.

I go onto Facebook every day.  I'm pretty sure that the cool kids don't do that, but I'm not going to lie about it.  I get bored and I want to pretend I'm hanging out with other human beings, so I go on Facebook and see what everyone is doing. Most of the time I see the requisite "Oh, my kids are awesome" or "Look at this place I visited! My vacations are fantastic!"  I'm OK with that.  That's what Facebook is for: mostly living vicariously through people we barely remember from high school and pretending like we talk to our actual IRL friends more than we really do.  That's OK! It's good we have at least that little bit of communication with people these days! 

Occasionally, though, I come across these...I dunno...odes (for want of a better word) to people from their family members/significant others in the status updates and sometimes it makes me incredibly uncomfortable.  Now, let me be specific: It isn't across the board uncomfortable. Like when someone dies, or is born, or if there is some kind of really special/significant thing that happens, I'm fine.  There is a time and place for holding someone up, and I recognize those things.  Mostly it's just the over the top birthday wishes, or mother's and father's day essays, or (and this one is the absolute worst to me) the husbands or wives getting on there and just, oh dear God, gooping the place up with their anniversary wishes, or birthday wishes, or *shudder* just the "oh how wonderful you are" mess that people do. You know, feeeeeeeeeeeelings.  It's gross.  It makes me feel gross.  I actually have to scroll past those things really fast because I become physically uncomfortable knowing that it is just out there for everyone to read.  It's like when you're watching a movie with your parents and a particularly graphic sex scene pops up, and you know that you want to run screaming from the room, but you can't because that would mean acknowledging it, and the last thing you want to do is react, so you just sit there until the scene is over, wishing you were dead instead of watching this movie with your parents?  That feeling.

Now, before anyone accuses me of jealousy or sour grapes, I assure you, that isn't true.  If Steve, or anyone else (you know, one of my various secret admirers), got on Facebook and said goopy, personal things about me in such a public forum, I might actually die of embarrassment. I'd feel my face catch on fire and I'd probably fall into a puddle of boiling, writhing, discomfort. I don't want that.  If you love me and want me to know, just tell me.  Do it in person, over the phone, or in a letter. I even accept YouTube videos set on Private.  I'll probably still be embarrassed (pleased, but embarrassed because I have a very hard time taking compliments) but I'd be OK with that.  Of course, if I die or something like that, you have my permission to say whatever you want about me on Facebook.  Heck, take out a billboard.

I know this is kind of weird and out of nowhere, but I just saw something so personal on Facebook from one spouse to another that I feel like I need a bath. It also bothered me enough that it made me write this.

That is all.  Carry on with your day.

Monday, September 08, 2014


1) I don't know why I'm thinking about the movie  "Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" this morning, but there is a scene where Butch has to rescue both Indiana Jones and Marian from the quicksand and has to use a huge snake as a rope to pull them out. Why didn't he use his jacket, or maybe his pants?  Is no one willing to use their clothes as tools to get themselves out of bad situations? You'd better believe I'd be stripping down if the only way I could get everyone safe is to use my pants as a rope or something. Why am I thinking about this this morning?

2) I've had a couple of weird experiences at work lately.  One morning, when I knew I'd be the only one there for a little while, I was walking downstairs to heat up my breakfast when I saw a body laying in the church's breezeway.  It scared me, because the last think I want to do is walk up on a dead person when I'm the only one there.  I mean, I wouldn't want to walk up on one if the place was full of people, but at least I'd have moral support.  I kind of snuck up to the glass doors and tapped on them and the man (thankfully) opened his eyes.  Now, I did a really dumb thing and opened the doors a crack and asked if he was ok.  He said he was homeless and was just sleeping.  I didn't have the heart (or cajones) to tell him he had to leave, so I told him it was fine and went back inside.  The poor guy slept there for a while afterwards, but it really freaked me out. I mean, he picked a really smart place to sleep, but it's disconcerting to have a stranger camped out on the literal doorstep of the place I work.  Luckily my coworker showed up earlier than I thought so at least I wasn't alone.  The man didn't ask for anything and he left an hour or so later, but still.  I wish I could have given him something to help him, but I didn't have anything.

We also have a man who has been showing up to church on Sunday nights that kind of freaks everyone out.  He's apparently functionally, well, kind of, mentally ill in some way.  He may be homeless or he may be under the care of one of the places in our neighborhood, but he shows up with a backpack during the middle of services, he talks out loud to himself and to others, gets twitchy and he tends to get up and wander around the church.  He tried following one of the ladies out of the service once, to ask for money I think, but another one of our members grabbed one of our deacons and they stopped him.  The pastor says he knows the man and that he isn't dangerous, but the policeman that goes to church with us isn't so sure he isn't unstable.  I don't know.  It's honestly such a fine line between wanting to minister to people who obviously need help and protecting ourselves and our congregation.  You can't really tell people they aren't welcome to come to church (definitely not what Jesus would do ) but how do we know when we might need to put a stop to something like that?  As far as I know, we've only ever asked one person to stop coming to church, and that was because she was starting to threaten people. 

I just love our church and I love the people in it, and I want them all to be safe.

3) You want to know something that bothers me? It's completely irrational, much like a lot of other things that bother me.  I read a lot of foodie stuff on the internet because I really, really like food.  Occasionally I'll come across these blogs or Pinterest pins that talk about how you can make a homemade, healthier version of some commercially available product.  My problem is that sometimes the people who write these recipes/directions say something to the effect of "I've found this great way to make home made Cheez-Its without all of the crap in them!" It makes me mad when people say that some food thing they don't like for one reason or another is full of "crap."  I can't even explain why, really, because it isn't the idea that they don't like the ingredients that bothers me, it's simply the fact that they use phrases like "Without all the crap in them."   It isn't even the specific word that bothers me, but it's like someone putting a cigarette out in my eye every time I read that sentiment.  I think it's partly because it sounds so pretentiously snotty or something.  It's completely irrational.

4) I got stung by what I'm pretty sure was a bee last week and it almost ended me!  It's been so long since I have been stung by anything (thank goodness) that my brain almost couldn't process what was going on.  I was mowing the lawn, and all of a sudden it felt like I'd been shot in the leg.  Quite literally, my mind went blue with the pain that shot through me!  I jumped off of the lawnmower and ran into the garage and grabbed the first thing I could find out of the freezer - a pint of ice cream- and put it on my leg, but it didn't help.  I went inside and tried the baking soda trick, which helped for a minute, eventually just put ice on it, which helped a lot more, but holy Moses did it hurt!  I realize how much like a weenie I sound, but unexpected pain like that just took over me.  Luckily I'm not allergic, but my leg swelled up and a weird, red, bloody dot popped up where I'd been stung.  My leg muscle actually contracted and didn't let go for a long time.  It was weird.  I was going to be filming a wedding that night, so I had to put pantyhose over that spot (which was not pleasant) but eventually the pain settled down to a manageable level.  My leg was very hot where it was swollen, though.  It finally stopped hurting the next day and now it just itches like fire.  Bees suck!  Sorry for admitting what a pansy I am. :(