You think YOU’VE had a bad day…

I am sure you have heard the phrase that there are two sides to every story.  It seems like most of life is like that.  The yin to the yang.  The black or the white.   The truth or the lie. Up and down.  Left and right.  You get the idea.  Now, this morning was a little different.  I awoke (same as usual), went downstairs (same) and let my dog outside so that she could empty her bladder (same).  Suddenly, I noticed a dark mound in the back corner of the yard (NOT same as usual).  Before freaking out, I grabbed the wee mutt and brought her inside.  Something was not the same and it threw me off my usual game plan for the day.  What the heck was it?  How could my day start off so traumatically!

My mornings start off the same everyday.  I have awoken to barfing dogs, but other than that, nothing all that exciting happens at my house.  I went muttering through house “what is it, what is it, what is it…”  Being quite near-sighted (actually, way beyond “quite”, more like “extremely”) I went back inside and grabbed my glasses.  Another trip to the back door.  IT was still there.  I still couldn’t recognize what IT was.  So, back inside with another brilliant idea.  My camera!  I grabbed my fancy camera and photographed the invader.  I was trying to zoom in, but my brain was in a panic fog and I kept hitting the wrong buttons.  Grrrrr.  Finally, Wiseguy heard my lunatic mutterings and asked me what was going on.  I shared my information about the intruder.  He went out to look.  He thought it looked like a raccoon.  A deceased one.

How on earth did a raccoon end up in our backyard?  Especially a dead one.  We went all CSI: crime scene investigation.   What if someone poisoned the raccoon?  What if it got bit by a mosquito and got West Nile virus?  What if it was rabid?  How would we find someone to remove it?  After our propensity for asking unanswerable questions had run its course, it was time to actually do something proactive.  There were my first futile attempts, using Google:  Animal control.  Well if we had a LIVE animal we could pay them to remove it.  I found a few of those.  Finally my brain was calm enough to come up with the right search question for Google:  “Dead animal pickup, city of Hamilton”.  Ok, ok, I know it sounds morbid and maybe even juvenile, but I found the correct website and phone number.  Note to self:  be as detailed and accurate in your search description with Google.

Wiseguy called them and after he hung up he looked exasperated.  “What happened?”  I asked.  “We aren’t a priority,” he began, “they will get here when they get here.”  I took doggie Lucy, on leash, outside to do her business on our front lawn.  With that done, it was time for me to get back inside and get ready for work.  As I closed the front door, I looked at Wiseguy and he asked, “What about the turkey vultures?”  Oh NO!!!  Dead animals is what they love.  There are about six of them in our neck of this suburb.  YIKES!

I could not think about this anymore.  I had to get ready for work.  I hoped for the best and proceeded to leave Wiseguy and our two fur babies to wait it out.  At 8 a.m. I received a “call me” text from Wiseguy.  Good news!  The ‘coon was gone.  The lady who picked up the deceased animal said, “Oh, this is a small one.”  After numerous inquiries from Wiseguy with regards to the demise of our friendly neighbourhood stalker, the corpse remover declared that it could not have been West Nile Virus.  “More likely,” she said as she pointed to a large pole in our backyard with strings of wiring going from post to house, “it was electrocuted.”  Wow.  Our CSI skills did not even imagine THAT happening.

Well, that got me thinking.  I was having a bad day.  Having to worry about my dogs getting near a dead raccoon.  Imagine if my day started off as the raccoon.  I had tap danced across the fence, climbed down by the dog water bowl, and had a lovely cold drink of water.  The sun was up.  The birds were singing.  Ahhh…what a glorious day.  Then maybe, as Ricky Raccoon, I would’ve perhaps heard a dog barking and it was time for splitzville.  So, as Ricky I would dig my nails into the wood and begin my ascent up the post.  As I started skillfully climbing up and admiring myself for my wonderful intelligence in finding a convenient water trough I think … Ahhhh…life is good.  That would be my last thought as…ZAAAAAAAAAAAP!  BZZZZZZZZZZZZ!   FRRRRRRRRRRY!  My body would stupefy and fall backward to the ground.  Me…dead.

Ok, at first as I visualized this I thought of the Wile E. Coyote cartoons.  That was something that would totally happen to him.  Then it got me thinking about mortality and how life is short.  Really, Ricky the ‘Coon was having a great day and suddenly it was done.  Life was over.  You never know how long you have to live.  Appreciate what you have everyday.

My second thought was a little more common place, but still important.  I thought I was having a bad day worrying about a dead animal in my backyard and how we would get rid of it and what I would have to do to ensure the dogs didn’t get sick.  But…boy oh boy…I think being electrocuted is kind of more traumatic.  So yeah, I can almost hear Ricky Raccoon saying:

You think YOU’VE had a bad day…

Oh Joy! Oh Bliss?

Spring is finally here!  How do I know?  Besides the fact that it is April, the last snowfall occurred last week.  NO MORE SHOVELING SNOW!  Also, my doorbell has been ringing consistently, signalling visitations from lawn care services.  Uh huh!  And yes…I did hear a few lawn mowers powered up today!  Spring is finally here!  Hurrah!  Joy!  Bliss!  Bzzzzzzzz.  What?  Bzzzzzz!  My yearly dreaded visitors have arrived as well.  Oh joy…oh bliss?

Our beautiful, first warm day was 24 degrees celsius (or a balmy 75F).  The air was warm, the sun was shining, the grass was green, and the birds were singing.  Tulips and daffodils are popping up around the neighbourhood.

IMG_2838Hazzah!  We can open our windows again!  I decided that it was time for me to meander around my backyard and enjoy breathing in non-frigid air.  Spring!  A time of renewal and rebirth.  Spring is also the time that I steel myself to become a Warrior Princess!

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No swords, but many a facial tissue, reliable flat shoe, or any other item that might slay my evil spring foe…the beige house spider.

Ewwww, ewwwww, ewwwwwww!  I’ll be honest, sometimes I will negotiate with the spider, “I will leave this room and come back in ten minutes.  If you are still here, then your life is over.  Your call!”  Crazy?  Maybe, but they really are good at eating little flies (which I also deplore) so it’s more like a negotiation for cohabitation.  Bugs are a fact of life, but the bane of my existence is the diminutive, annoying, buzzing, carnivore…the mosquito!

I consider myself a happy…super happy…ok, Pollyanna-happy type person.  I have consciously decided to find the good in everything; the silver lining, so to speak.  Yet, after that wonderfully, warm, spring day, I discovered something new upon my person that thwarted my normal “happy-go-lucky” days.  Bites!!!  Awful, itchy, little red welts around my ankles.  Yes, both ankles.  I showed Wiseguy my ‘skeeter’ (a.k.a. mosquito) bites and he said, “There are no mosquitos out yet.”  An easy claim for someone who NEVER, EVER, EVER, gets bit by mosquitos!  I am not only his wife, but his mosquito repellent.

My father once told me:  “Once you have been bitten by mosquitos 50 times they will stop biting you because you have so much venom in your body that your blood isn’t appealing anymore.”  Well guess what dad?  I tested that theory one year.  I had 63 bites.  You know what else?  They were still biting me!

I truly believe that I have some super sweet, absolutely amazing blood that attracts these buzzing little vixens to me.  Vixens?  Yes, only female mosquitos bite and suck blood.  You can read all about it, but I’ll summarize it for you:

  1. Females are the vampires
  2. Males prefer fruit juices
  3. Females also go for fruit juice; the blood is to feed eggs – 200 eggs!!!!!  Guess whose kids love me too?
  4. Eggs are jacuzzi-ed; drain every water puddle around you to avoid mosquitos!

Back to my original itchy horror.  Wiseguy said I didn’t get bit by mosquitos.  I have an ankle (oops…two ankles) with lumpy bite marks.  My pups don’t have ticks or fleas.  I have seen flea bites and what I have are not flea bites.  I know what a ‘squito bite looks like and feels like.  Again, I am their main blood donor.  I should just get a t-shirt that says:  Mosquito – Blood donor clinic open.  Yes, I am feeding the mosquito population; not by choice, but by popular demand.

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Did I ever mention that I had this wonderful disease called “West Nile Virus“?  Oh yes, my popular buzzing friends decided that I needed to take some time off work.  So, I received a wonderful bite from my local mosquito friend and it felt different from my usual experiences.  True enough, a couple of days later I started getting a rash.  It spread from my legs to my neck within two days.  I went to one hospital and said, “I think I have West Nile virus.”  I was told (after three hours and no tests) that I probably had a reaction to a strawberry I had devoured.  Note:  I have no food allergies.  They sent me home.

The itchy red splotches did not go away.  After a week, I found that I suddenly could not walk straight.  I was leaning left.  Emergency unit again, but a different hospital.  “You have vertigo,” said the nice doctor.  “I think I have West Nile virus,” I declared when she asked about the rash.  “Probably pesticides on strawberries or blueberries,” she proclaimed.  Hmmmm….why would no one believe me?

So, after two weeks of being off work, I needed a note from my family doctor which would state I was able to return to work.  She looked at all the new notes in my file, “Wow,” she laughed, “you’ve been busy.”  “I think I had West Nile virus,” I declared.  “Did you get tested?” she inquired.  I relayed my requests to be tested and lack of action and so SHE made sure I got tested.  Guess what?  Booyah!!!!  West Nile virus!  I did have it! Okay, it wasn’t good that I had it, but I was so thankful that:

  1. Someone believed me
  2. Someone tested me
  3. I WAS RIGHT!!!  (yes, many exclamation points, but so important after nobody believed me and I had physical proof!)

Moral of the story:  Skeeters, ‘squitos…they are VAMPIRES!

Pollyanna version:

  1.  I did need a break from work – rashes / vertigo are a solution
  2. I have the bestest, sweetest blood around!  Why wouldn’t those blood suckers seek me out.  Oh joy!  Oh bliss?