Wherein I speak Latin

CNN is not the greatest news source out there, and despite where you might think this sentence is going, I’m not providing an exception here.  The article I’m linking to isn’t news.  It’s helpful, and it’s health-related and general happiness- and stop-hating-the-world-related, but still not news.

How to stop being annoyed by life

My tolerance for petty bullshit is, as you can probably tell by my phrasing, LOW.  So is my tolerance for incompetence, willful stupidity, and intolerance.  I can still be patient with people.  I’m still patient with LOTS of people.  I don’t seem to have as much patience, though…and then I get irritated…and then I get frustrated…and if I’m lucky, I remember to stop and wonder just what I’m so irritated about.  Is it important?  Does it matter?  Can I do something about it?  I’m rarely that lucky (to remember to stop and think), but I think I’m getting better about it.  Things like that article help.  Sitting in a chair in the backyard for a few minutes during the workday helps.  Reading helps.

Why am I not reading?  I’m pretty much always asking that question.

So I was thinking about all that on my bike ride this afternoon, pedaling along the path by the river, enjoying the sunny day and the stiff breeze that made me work a little harder, when BAM!  Something small and sharp and OW PAINFUL IT HURTS hit me in the upper arm.  I never saw it, it was gone immediately, like it bounced right off, but it felt like I’d been stung.  Can you get stung at that speed?  Can a bee or a wasp or some other flying (I assume flying) insect hit you at just the right angle at approximately 15 mph to sting you and then get away?  I shouted a few things, maybe startling a duck, and pulled over to look.  It did kind of look like a bee sting (although the last time I was stung was on my knee in Chesapeake Beach in 1985 or ’86, so how would I know what it looks like?), and there was a tiny dot of red in the middle, and it hurt like crazy.  I considered going home, but I was mostly done (6 miles left!), so I figured I’d keep going unless it started to hurt more or I started to go into anaphylactic shock.  (WordPress doesn’t think “anaphylactic” is a word.  Screw you, WordPress, I spelled it right on my own!)  Would I recognize anaphylactic shock?  If it started, would it be too late at that point to get home?  Why was I worrying about this?  I didn’t die when I got stung when I was 6, so I’m probably not allergic to bee stings now.  Shut up and bike.

So, yeah, I think I got stung.  It stopped hurting as much, the swelling started to go down and spread out, like more of a welt, and now (an hour later), there’s hardly anything to see.  I think I’ll live.

Moral of the story: I didn’t get angry or irritated or frustrated by it.  No, that’s a TERRIBLE moral and has nothing to do with anything.  Getting stung by a mystery insect on a bike ride is not in the same category as the things that annoy me.  What’s to get annoyed about?  Nope, this story only barely escapes being a non sequitur, and it’s only a sequitur because the bee sting literally followed my thoughts on that article.  It’s a LITERAL SEQUITUR.

Bugs. Also, puppy.

Did you know that when you fly through a cloud of gnats at 15 miles per hour, they feel like tiny pebbles hitting your face?  Now you do.  Good thing my mouth was closed.  And I was wearing sunglasses.  I always wear sunglasses when I ride my bike, sunny or not, getting dark or not.  If I don’t, all that wind rushing into my face makes my contacts get all dry.  Plus, bugs.  I was riding my bike back from yoga one night several years ago, no sunglasses because it was getting dark, and a bug flew right into my eye.  It was gross.  And distracting.  And gross.

What’s not gross?  I just watched a video of a guy proposing to his girlfriend by handing her a puppy with the ring tied to its collar.  SO CUTE.  The puppy, not so much the proposal.  I don’t care about that.  Although, ACTUALLY…that’s kind of gross, too.  Not gross in the same way as bugs in your eye, but it’s like cheating.  “She CAN’T say no to me after I’ve given her the cutest puppy in the world!”  Cue evil laugh.

I hope you said yes because you want to marry him and weren’t swayed at all by the cute puppy in your arms, lady in the video I watched with the sound off so I don’t know what really happened!

Gauntlets have been thrown

I like to be outside.  I like the fresh air, I like the scenery, I love the sky.  I just don’t like it when outside touches me.  Personal space, man.  I need it.  You know I take allergy medicine all year, and it does a pretty good job, but I run into minor problems if my skin touches vegetation.  Not all of it, and not all the time, but enough of it and often enough.  I wear gloves and kneel on a towel when I’m weeding because my skin reacts when grass (cut or not) and weeds touch it.  It goes away quickly, and it’s localized (thank goodness it doesn’t spread), but it happens every time.

So aside from weeding being an annoying chore to begin with, I have that to be careful of.  Bugs are the other part I can’t deal with, as (again) you already know.  The outside of our house here is covered in ants.  So far, we don’t have an ant problem inside, but they’re all over outside, and when I was weeding the other day, they kept getting on me.  It’s not a HUGE deal (I was wearing gloves and long sleeves and they were just ants and not the biting kind (I assume because I didn’t get bitten)), but I came inside to shower and change and I found an ant ON MY HEAD, CRAWLING IN MY HAIR.

THAT IS UNFORGIVABLE AND I MUST NOW DECLARE WAR ON ALL ANTS.

Sorry, ants.  You started it.

Sleep update

This won’t turn into a health blog, I promise, but when bug bites and lack of sleep are the only things on my mind, well, I’m sorry.

Last night was just as bad as the night before, even though I didn’t take any Benadryl.  My feet were on fire, so I couldn’t sleep.  Simple as that.  I tried putting hydro-cortisone cream on one foot and after-sunburn aloe on the other, just to if either remedy would help – neither did.  I also tried putting my socks in the freezer and then wearing them.  Back to the tub, at least four times.

I still haven’t collapsed.  Maybe this is a sign that I don’t need as much sleep as I think I do.  Or maybe the collapse is imminent.

Today, however, has been MUCH better, and I have high hopes for sleeping tonight.  I went to the doctor this morning, somewhat embarrassed to be complaining so much about bug bites, and she gave me a prescription topical steroid that has worked for me all afternoon.  I don’t know if that’s because my feet don’t bother me as much during the day or if it’s really working, but I’m going to be positive about it.

This will work!

Update: It didn’t work.  Only super-hot water worked.  Feels awful while my feet are in it, but there’s temporary relief afterward (enough to get to sleep).

Time is relative

Yesterday flew by.  Then last night was the longest night in recorded history, followed by today, which seems like it will never end.  Benadryl  has turned on me.  It is now the enemy, not to be trusted.  Those $#&$%# mosquitoes from the other night left bites that are torturing me.  I couldn’t sleep last night at all.  I bought topical Benadryl – no relief.  Before I went to bed, I let my feet soak in cool water in the tub.  That felt GREAT, but I can’t exactly sleep there.  I took one Benadryl pill around 7 or so, and then the second one around 9:30.  I don’t know if this would have happened on just one, but two was a mistake.  Rather than relieving some of the itching and knocking me unconscious, the itching felt worse than ever and I was WIRED.  Wide awake, heart not exactly racing, but certainly not calm.  I was restless, and my feet were burning.  Within half an hour, I had my feet back in the tub, and not more than another half-hour after that, I moved to the couch so I wouldn’t keep John up all night with my constant tossing and turning.  I tossed and turned on the couch all night instead, watching the clock, unable to sleep or relax.  It was not fun.

I must have slept a little bit – I remember dreams about packing and getting rid of things.  But I also know I looked at the clock some part of each hour at least twice.  I bailed on running with Susan (which I regret now. I was awake – why not go?) and managed to nap some between 6 and 7.  I got up and went to work anyway.  I wasn’t sleepy.  I’m still not nearly as tired as I ought to be, and I’m not looking forward to the collapse.  I’m also not looking forward to trying to sleep tonight.  It’s so much worse at night.

I’m seeing a doctor tomorrow (for something else), so if this isn’t better, I’ll be bringing it up.  I just want the itching to stop.  Amputation seems reasonable.

$%(^&$ Mosquitoes!

I cannot express my hatred of mosquitoes in words.  Only primal screams will do.  We were out on the deck of a restaurant Friday night.  I was wearing jeans and sandals.  During the day on Saturday, I noticed my feet itching a little.  Then a lot.  Then I finally looked.  SEVEN bites on one foot, two more on the other.  And NOW, three days later (and every night – it’s always worse at night), my feet feel like they’re on fire.  My BARE FEET look like clown shoes (the ones with the pink polka dots).  It’s awful.

So I googled “places without mosquitoes” to see if maybe that’s where we should move and found a very helpful article.  I guessed two of them (Antarctica and Iceland), but the other three are tropical islands.  Surprising.  It might be worth it.  It’s probably better than the alternative, which is to chop off both feet at the ankles.

*@$%^ mosquitoes

Do mosquitoes love me or hate me?  On the one hand, they can’t stay away from me.  On the other hand, they’re harassing me.  On the one hand, they think I’m delicious.  On the other hand, they make me miserable.  Either way, I think I won by moving out of the swamp that is Hampton Roads.  High ground = very few mosquitoes.  Unfortunately, very few does NOT equal zero, and every once in a while, I still get attacked.  I had a bite on my left shin that was taking forEVER to stop itching and go away.  I finally got a day or two of relief, but then I lost my head and went outside in the early evening to sit on the deck and read for a couple of minutes while the dogs played in the yard.  Silly me.  By the time I found my head again it was too late.

Best news I’ve heard all day

We do NOT have a bug problem.  The bug guy came over this morning and walked around the entire house with John.  He found no evidence of a bug problem aside from the porch columns, and he said those were mostly water damage.  Once the wood started to rot, the carpenter ants moved in to eat it.  We’ve already taken care of the ants, so all we have to do is replace the columns with properly-treated wood.  Yay!

John told me a joke just now, one he saw on Reddit today in a thread full of jokes people found funny when they were ten. Or six.  Pick your favorite immature age.  Yes, I laughed.

Why did Sally fall out of the tree?

Because she had no arms.

Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Not Sally.

Infestation

About a month ago, John noticed that the corners of one of the columns on the front porch was rotting.  The wood was all spongy.  Things were busy, so we didn’t get around to doing anything about it, but today was finally the day for John to take a closer look.  I went for a run this morning, and as I came back up the hill to the house, I could see the ladder leaning up against the porch, part of the drain pipe in the yard, and a giant gaping HOLE in the column at the corner.

Not what I expected to come home to.  He was able to just peel away parts of the column BY HAND – it was that bad.  So anyway, it seems we have carpenter ants (and that may or may not also mean termites, since according to the great and powerful internet, carpenter ants eat termites), and the pest guy is coming out on Tuesday.  Cross your fingers that the house doesn’t fall apart around our heads.