Everyone knows I am not a huge fan of The Nature.
And yes, I know it doesn't require an article in English. But I had ESL students who said it that way and somehow, I feel like it suits it. Because it is this vast and solid entity. Plus I just like how it sounds, coupled with the memories.
ANYway. My family reunion - first ever! - of last weekend is a different post entirely, but let me just tell you that we were really out in The Nature.
The directions were something like: "Once you get off highway 81, turn on Farm Something Road and drive 10 miles. You'll pass a country store, which you should make note of, in case you get lost and need help, in which case, drive back to it and ask to use their phone, because cell phones don't work in this area."
So we were instructed to drive till we saw a white house with balloons, at which point we were to take a right and drive down a gravel road, and then take a left at the fork...She very deliberately didn't give us the easier directions, because they entailed driving through a shallow creek.
We arrived successfully, having run into family at the white house and followed them in.
It was hot, and one of the first things most people - certainly the grandparents and all of the kids - did was go swimming in the pond. An actual, honest-to-goodness pond.
We were instructed to watch out for both ticks and leeches. Eeeee! The kids, a couple of whom wound up with one or the other on them, were considerably less freaked out than I was.
Nick said he'd have bet good money that I'd never get in, but I did. I scooted into my bikini and inflated a big red lobster and paddled in with the rest of them. Yes, walking in and feeling the oozy mud between my toes was really icky. And yes, the stuff growing on the bottom freaked me out. And yes, my cousins' kids - all teenagers - made endless fun of me for the lobster and my squeamishness. But it was cool and pretty and fun.
And Monday morning I woke up itching like crazy. With three red, dime-sized welts - one on my upper thigh, one exactly where the band of my underwear sits, and one in my ass crack. That one was the itchiest.
They looked like mosquito bites, but bigger and redder and itchier than any I'd ever had.
I was trying very hard not to scratch, especially the one in the crack, which, um, really sucked ass, and Nick said what whatever I did, to make sure not to scratch through to my brain.
So there aren't many less convenient places to itch. But I got Benadryl and applied it furtively every couple hours in my cube.
Despite the Benadryl, they kept getting bigger and itchier. Every night and morning we did a bite check. Bigger! Redder! Itchyitchyitchy!
Then yesterday someone I work with, who overhead me describing them in the bathroom, suggested that maybe they were chigger bites. Chiggers! The name is terrible!
She said that chiggers burrow in and chew on your skin, and to put clear nail polish on them to stop it. Burrow. Chew. Horrors.
So last night when I went home, I pulled out the nail polish. I had no trouble with the first two bites. But had to ask Nick for help with the third.
It makes you feel very thankful to have someone who not only does not make fun of you in this one particularly vulnerable moment, but is willing to apply nail polish to the giant bite in your ass crack, and genuinely hope that this helps.
So far, so good.