Friday, August 01, 2008

The Nature will get you every time. Or, mosquitos, my ass.

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.

Helpful. Thanks.

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.


  1. There is nothing worse than chiggers. When I first moved to Florida, I was unaware of the little devils, and spent an afternoon sunning on a towel on the shore of a little lake close to our house. I kept slapping at bugs, assuming they were the famous Florida mosquitoes. The next day I was covered with probably 70 or 80 of them! It was terrible. Hope you feel better!

  2. My idea of roughing it is a hotel without room service and a mini-bar so I get you on not being down with The Nature.

    I hope the bites get smaller, less red, and less itchy soon.

  3. At least it's not... Botfly?

    Yeeps. But according to my aunt and uncle, who voluntarily reside in The Nature, the insects themselves don't burrow, so much as inject you with itchy. And it takes a while for the itchy to go away. So maybe you can both get a reprieve from nail polish contortionism. :o)

    Yes, I am a huge nerd.

  4. Aww, an endearing moment for the two of you. Hope the itchy goes away soon!

    I'm never going swimming in a pond.

  5. I like The Nature about as much as you, but mostly in pictures and in camping trips with bathrooms. But backwoods, poo in a hole you dug yourself, sleep under the stars, bugs bigger than my fingernails, no shower Nature? Not my cup of tea.

    The Nature is like a bad Mother in law. Nice, IN THEORY, but best when far far away.

  6. What horror! There are chiggers all over my parents' ranch in Texas and there are few itches as bad in my experience. As Dagny said, they don't actually burrow and therefore don't need to be suffocated with nail polish. Regular cortisone, Calamine, and steroid cream is most helpful.

  7. it sounds awful

    but that Nick is a wonderful man!

  8. Simple Scholar - That is one of the worst things I've heard. I can't even imagine. Terrible!

    Restaurant Refugee - Yes! Or really roughing it could mean no mini-bar.

    Dagny - Oh, I love you. I did briefly wonder if it could be, because they were so red and puffy that I figured there could be something living in there. I am very very glad to know they don't burrow, as that idea completely nauseates me.

    HKW - Ah, thanks. No, no need for pond swimming. Although in Austin you guys have that amazing river swimming pool! The coolest pool ever!

    Slightly Disorganized - Yah, no pooing in holes. I definitely prefer the nature through a window. And I do like your analogy.

    Amanda - As I said to Dagny, I am SO GLAD to know they aren't burrowing in my skin. I am all over the cortisone now.

    notsojenny - Thanks! He is, he really is!

  9. a man willing to apply clear nail polish to the crack of your ass -- that's how you know it's true love!

  10. A true friend you got there.

  11. Wendy and DCup - Absolutely true!

  12. Wikipedia has a good description of what the Chigger does:

    Chiggers, which are not insects, but rather mites, will only bite humans (who are usually accidental hosts) when they are in their larval stage. Chigger larvae do not, as many believe, burrow into the skin and suck the blood of their host. Rather, the larvae attach themselves to their host by biting the host’s skin. They then inject digestive enzymes into the bite wound, and consume the soupy digested tissue.

    So, if it was chiggers, you were being digested. Yum... Didn't you want to know that. :-P

    Hope the itching goes down... :-\

  13. Yup, Nick is most certainly a keeper :)

    That happened to me once after floating down the Apple River in WI - yet despite the red itchiness, I, too, had a lot of fun.

    As always, Lisa, thanks for giving me something to chuckle over first thing in the morning.

    Hope this finds you chigger-bite free :)

    (P.S. I moved to Wordpress)

  14. Now that's love. He is a definite keeper.

  15. I'm sorry, did one of your comments say something about "soupy digested tissue"???

    Ah. Horror indeed.

    Get that taken care of ASAP because now I'm all itchy and grossed out just thinking about it!

  16. Definitely sounds like chiggers. We used to get them while hiking in Arizona. They'll get worse for a bit, then they'll get better. Try not to itch too much, and put lots of anti-itch and nail polish on them!

    And Nick? Wonderful!

  17. Um...ew! But I have to say, that's one good man you have there. :)

  18. VVK - OK, that's one of the most disgusting things I've read. Ew ew ew. Thanks for that. :)

    Brown Eyed Girlie - Yah, definitely keeping him. And glad it made you laugh. :)

    Amisare - Thanks. He is lovely.

    Nicole - It's sooo much better now. Still red welts but barely itchy. I suppose at some point the soupy digested tissue runs out?

    Sarah - Ugh. I hope to never encounter them again. The itch, coupled with what I now know, makes me really horrified by them. But the itch more than anything.

    Zandria - Ah, thanks. :)

  19. Oh man, chiggers sound terrifying! Just hearing the word "burrow" makes me itchy.

    What a sweetheart Nick is and I hope you feel better soon. :)


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