an uninvited bloodsucking house guest

No, not Grandma. Adam, Oliver Fern and I dropped her off at the airport this morning after she spent six weeks with us over the past two months. I’m always a little melancholy for a couple days after she has gone, she’s more sporadic householder than visitor. When she leaves….. there’s a void. But after a few days muscle memory takes over and first elation and then normalcy set in- you don’t have to ask for an explanation if you’ve ever had your mother come and visit for four, five or six weeks. Some people say I’m crazy. They say I should run marathons, climb Mt. Everest or try bullfighting.

The uninvited guest was a huge tick we pulled out of Adam’s scalp this morning. We consulted with our pediatrician. We rented a flamethrower and torched all textiles in the house. Replaced the carpeting in my car. Shaved Lucy. Took tomato juice and hot jalapeño pepper baths. In short, we itched ourselves for the rest of the day every time an arm or leg or pubic hair moved. Especially the pubic hairs. Ticks like groins and crotches, which for them are the equivalent of luxury spas. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed how much my groin itches throughout the day. I think I may have Phantom Groin Itch Syndrome. Same thing goes for eyebrows.

Where did the tick come from? Stegosaurus Butte? The Pratt River Trail? I’m pretty sure it was Stegosaurus Butte, even though that was Monday last week. While we were there I spotted a tick crawling around on the sunny rocks. At one point, Adam lay down for a mountain snooze. The tick could have hitched a ride on his backpack, hung out on Lucy all week, and then jumped onto Adam this morning (Adam was the first one up this morning and thought he’d be funny and tie his superhero cape around Lucy’s neck). The tick is still sitting in a jar on the kitchen window sill, where it continues to crawl around like a little mercenary. I check on him every five minutes to make sure he hasn’t eaten through the tin foil. How do you dispose of a tick in a humane way? I keep asking myself. Okay, for what it’s really worth: This is the first time in my nearly 20 years of hiking in the Pacific Northwest that a tick has come home to roost. So I’m not really that worked about it. But holy cow, they are downright creepy-looking. For sucking on my kid’s head? That bastard is going for a ride down the toilet.

This picture is from early in the hike, yesterday morning. It’s the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River flowing westward before it loops south again. There’s a good fisherman’s path down to the water right here. I wonder if there’s a deep pool in the elbow of this bend where the big fish like to hang out?

2 thoughts on “an uninvited bloodsucking house guest

  1. Eek! It makes me itch just reading about this. A couple years back I joined Dom and his folks on a big road trip to the Midwest. On one particular day of our trip I was overcome by the beauty of bright blue sky meets grassy farmscapes and tromped through said grass for pictures. Bad idea. Why didn’t anyone remind me about ticks? I spent the remainder of the day pulling not one, not two, but THREE ticks off myself. Ugh. Creepy bastards indeed.

    • I remember you telling me about that incident, hahaha! I was never really grossed out about ticks until i had a personal experience with one. I think all the uninitiated need to do is look at some pictures of ticks that resemble hot air balloons after sucking blood out of some poor mammal…..then the requisite fear and paranoia will most surely be attained!

      You don’t really worry about ticks out in the Olympics, do you? I guess there’s no guarantee anywhere, it’s more about how far the real disease-vector ones are spreading their range.

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