I should be doing about a hundred things other than writing, but I’m kind of preoccupied about a couple of things and it’s hurting my concentration, and I’ve already run a report today that turned out to be full of errors. So I thought I’d take a break.
Yesterday we had a staff retreat at a nature preserve owned by the college. The retreat was actually really good, and the preserve is beautiful. I’d only been there once before. At lunch, they encouraged people to go explore the hiking trails, and while some people did exactly that, I was like “Nope. Ticks.”
See, I have major, major issues with ticks. I hate them. Hate isn’t even a strong enough word for it. I loathe them. I find them terrifying and disgusting. I’ve never had a tick embedded on me (knock on wood), and I seriously fear that if I ever do, I will pass out, hyperventilate, or just basically lose my shit. The thought of having a parasitic insect IN MY SKIN is about the grossest thing I can possibly imagine. (I have issues with all parasites, for the record, but ticks are worst. Ticks and worms. God. Ew.)
So I go to great lengths to keep myself out of tick-heavy situations. I stay out of the woods in the spring and summer. I avoid tall grasses. I check my entire body obsessively, head to toe, after spending any length of time outside. I barely touch the dogs because they get ticks on them a lot, and if I touch a tick with my hand while petting the dog, I will die. So I make my parents pull ticks off the animals. And the cats, which rarely get ticks for some reason, still have about a zillion kinds of flea and tick treatments. I spaz out if I even see one walking around.
Ew. Even writing about it this much is making me queasy.
So all those people who went hiking? Almost all of them founds ticks on their clothes when they got back. Those woods were FULL of them. One guy found three while sitting in our conference room. And now all of my coworkers know about my tick issues, because every time someone found one, I’d get all grossed out and it was all I could do not to just run out of the room, and then I was all looking like I had DTs, scratching every invisible itch that came up and going to the bathroom at least three times to check myself for ticks. Admittedly, I wasn’t the only one doing the phantom-scratchy thing, but I’m the weirdest, and was teased endlessly for it.
So far I haven’t found any. Cross your fingers.
So yesterday, I spent the entire day at a NATURE PRESERVE, and miraculously came home with no bug bites anywhere. Then I spent two hours washing my car and helping my dad carry lumber and measure and clamp and brace and level and stuff on the deck we’re building, and in those two hours I got more than twenty bug bites on my legs.
There are at least twice as many as I had last year, but at least they seem to be confined to my legs. I don’t have any on my face or the palms of my hands or anything weird like that.
They’re pretty small now and don’t itch much, but I’m really sensitive to insect bites and in a couple of days, they’ll swell up to the size of quarters and itch to the point of insanity and get all raw and gross.
Knowing this, I’m usually really good about coating myself in OFF! before spending even a little bit of time outside, but yesterday I just forgot all about it for some reason. Now, I’ve got a small arsenal of antihistamines and itch-stopping cream in my purse in case it gets bad.
But ew. Ticks. EW.