Adventures In Yardwork

I was hoping to have a decent introductory post, something along the lines of “Hi, I’m Steve, yadda yadda yadda..”  Yeah, so much for that.  Writer’s block hit HARD, like Georges St-Pierre just kicked you in the face hard.  Then I started scratching my side and inspiration hit.  Yup, I know how weird that sounds, so I’ll say it again.  I started scratching my side and inspiration hit.

Well what had happened was (btw, this is a phrase that will show up often, I’m a veteran and that’s one of the ways we say “once upon a time”), I was cutting the grass about two weeks ago.  It was about 95 degrees outside, not a cloud in the sky, typical Missouri humidity.  I’m sweating like a pig and happy as one in feces.  Ya see, I had just bought the lawnmower and weedwhacker that weekend.  Before that we were calling around to get someone to come cut our grass to the tune of $20-$30 a pop for sub par job.  MUCH more economical to purchase the lawnmower, not to mention I enjoy cutting the grass.  No, really, I do.  It’s mindless work and gives me the chance to veg out while getting something accomplished.  A man’s two favorite things, being productive and thinking about absolutely nothing.  Well, actually, a man’s two favorite things are….never mind, I’m digressing.

So I’ve finished cutting the grass and I get out the weedwhacker.  I’m not a huge fan of electric weedwhackers, but the price was right and it gets the job done.  Weedwhacked around the house and front yard, now I have to go do the wood line.  Our house backs up to a wooded area which is beautiful to look at, but will reduce our already-small back yard if I don’t bludgeon it into submission with my electric Smiter-Of-Unwanted-Vegetation.  Little did I know I was walking into an ambush.

A side note:  I tend to come up with grandiose ways of telling mundane stories.  It’s a military thing.  I also like to show off my vocabulary.  Hey, if I had to endure Catholic school for 9 years, I might as well get some use out of those years besides the ability to recite the Latin Mass.  Anyway, back to the story…

So I take my vorpal weedwhacker and I start going to town.  Bits of vegetation are flying everywhere and I’m going for the thickest weeds and grasses I see in an attempt to break the weedwhacker.  Yes, I said “attempt to break”.  Just because some guy on the Internet gave it a good review doesn’t mean it’s good.  I believe in pushing equipment right out of the box to find exactly where its limits are.  It sometimes results in broken stuff, but again, it’s a military thing (It’s been said that the perfect piece of military equipment is the chemlight because you have to break it to make it work).  Knocking down weeds, vegetation flying, tried taking out a tree, didn’t work (now I know the limits!), more weeds and I’m done.  And I didn’t even have to pay anyone to do it badly!  Time to sit on the porch and enjoy my afternoon.

About a day later, I start noticing blisters on my stomach, waist, and legs.  I show Jenn who diagnoses them as chigger bites, slap some Neosporin on them, and go back to the daily grind.  The next day, more blisters show up and it’s obvious that I got jumped by a full on TRIBE of chiggers.  Stomach, waist, legs, back, rear end, those little bastages just went to town on me.  And they itch like CRAZY.  Crap.  Neosporin, Caladryl, hydrogen peroxide, ANYTHING to dry these damn things out and stop itching.  If you had told me that lighting myself on fire like a Buddhist monk would cure that itch, I would’ve been in the driveway emptying a gas can over my head.  The next day I’m at work, and there is a serious pain in my hip.  It hurts to walk, it hurts to sit, it just plain HURTS.  There’s a lump right over the socket that is just radiating pain.  I look at this thing funny and it twinges me in response.  I do believe we have an infection working its way into my system, folks!  Okay, this is gonna require more than the 800mg ibuprofen and water that I got used to in the Army.  I’m cranky as a result, and I have it in my mind to go to get checked out as time permits (read: I’ll get checked out by the EMTs after I collapse).  Fortunately for me, Jenn, being the wise woman she is, tricked my surly ass into going to see the doc.  She suggested we hit Culver’s on the way home that night and “oh look!  Urgent Care is right across the street, how convenient!”  So I go in with my possibly infected hip, feeling like a wimp because I’ve been taken down by a bunch of microscopic parasites.  Doc checks it out, agrees that I have a possible infection, writes me a prescription for antibiotics, and sends me on my way.  Go get the script filled, realize my health plan, while not free like the military’s, is still pretty damn good, and go home to start dosing.

A few days later, the blisters have gone away, lump is gone, life is good….EXCEPT everywhere I was bitten looks like it’s breaking out in a rash.  And they itch WORSE than they did before.  What the frack!?  Screw it, it feels like a minor bee sting, I’ll treat it like one with antihistamine.  Still doesn’t explain my hip feeling like I popped it out of the socket, though.  Time to consult the internet before I give serious thought to self-immolation again.  Turns out that among the side effects of these pills are skin rash, itching and joint pain.  AND they fall under the heading of “stop taking pills immediately and consult your doctor”.  Great.  Well, I could just go back to Urgent Care and get a new prescription…..screw it.  Pop the antihistamine and Ranger candy and remember that when the doc asks if I’m allergic to anything, tell them “sulfa“(Jenn is going to turn around and smack me for being a typical dumbass male/veteran right after she reads this).

Here it is, two weeks later and the lawn needs attention again.  I think I’ll forgo the weedwhacker on the woodline and just napalm it.  Oh, sure, the neighbors might complain, but there is no way in hell I’m going through this crap again.

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