(Continued from yesterday.)
The first part of the story can be read HERE
.To recap: @Bookmark61 and I were in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. We had time on our hands before checking into our hotel, so we went geocaching. The real purpose of the cache I chose was to see the ruins of the old Red Brick School. The real purpose of seeing the ruins was to find the old Kirk-Bender Spiral Fire Escape. Success on all counts. We found the ruins, we found the fire escape, I took photos, we found the cache. And that is where our story resumes.
The cache had been hidden in a crevice in the stone wall that surrounded the tiny pocket park on three sides. After coming out of the woods that had taken over the ruins of the school, I sat down on the tiny bench in the tiny pocket park to sign the tiny cache log. When I looked down to sign the log, I noticed something tiny on my thumb. It looked like a little freckle. Now I know you probably won’t believe this, even I have a hard time believing it, but even though I’ve got thousands of freckles I’m pretty familiar with where they are all located on my body. And I didn’t remember a freckle being in that particular spot on my thumb. So I brushed it - whatever it was - off my thumb and looked back down at the cache log.
I was holding the log on top of my GPS, and my GPS was resting on my leg. As I looked down to sign the log, I noticed a little spot on my leg. I knew it couldn’t be a freckle because I was wearing pants. I thought that whatever it was I’d brushed off my thumb had landed on my leg, so I reached down to brush it off again. And then I noticed another tiny little spot, and another, and another. Scores of them… maybe even hundreds of tiny little spots no bigger than a grain of finely ground pepper or a speck of dirt were slowly crawling up my pants.
I did what any stout-hearted geocacher would do. I did the panic dance. The panic dance doesn’t really have prescribed steps. Any kind of hopping around on one or both feet while making brushing and/or beating motions with one or both hands will do. I also sang the panic song. The words to the panic song may change slightly from situation to situation, but the gist of it is always the same: “AGH!!! (Ticks!) (Spiders!) (Bees!) (Bugs!) (Butterflies!) Get-them-off-get-them-off-get-them-off!!!”
It’s all very energizing and amusing.
In this case, the panic song went, “AGH!!! SEED TICKS!!! GET-THEM-OFF-GET-THEM-OFF-GET-THEM-OFF!!!” [Aside: I found a very entertaining blog about seed ticks that describes what happened to us as being “tick bombed.” You really should click this link and read the blog. It has pictures and it describes the tick bomb experience quite well. I didn’t take time out from the panic song and dance to take pictures.]
Brett came over to see what the panic song was about and when he looked down at his own pants, he joined in the dance. If I had scores of seed ticks on me, he had hundreds; if I had hundreds, he had thousands. In other words, he was no help whatsoever. In fact, I ended up having to help him. We beat ourselves and brushed ourselves; I beat and brushed Brett. We stood on a paved path in the middle of a residential area and hopped and danced and yelped and sang, and I groped my husband, and since Eureka Springs is a combination hippie/biker mecca, if anyone saw or heard us they thought nothing of it and went on their way.
Oh, and I lied. I did take one picture. After I’d gotten most of the ticks off me and gotten up close and very personal with the back and crotch of Brett’s pants, I did what any geocacher would do in this situation. I signed the log and replaced the cache, then I took a picture of Brett.
He’d gotten desperate enough to remove his shirt. He was on the verge of removing his pants at one point. I’ll admit that I thought about stripping off my clothes, too. This is where Brett and I tend to think differently. He was thinking, “Hundreds of ticks on my shirt… must take off shirt!”
I was thinking, “Hundreds of ticks on my shirt… shirt is the only thing between me and the ticks. Hang in there shirt! Be tough! Repel the invaders! You can do it!”
Once we got de-ticked enough to get back in the van, we drove straight to the hotel. As I approached the desk, I put on my pleading voice and said, “Pleeeeease may we check in early?” And they let us. I must have looked pretty scary, all red-faced and twitchy. Brett broke speed records getting the luggage unloaded and getting into the shower. While he was scrubbing himself raw, I stripped off all my clothes, checked for freckles that didn’t belong, put on a robe and tied up everything we were wearing (except our shoes) in a plastic bag. When it was my turn to shower, I shaved everything that could be shaved (except my head), shampooed what I didn’t shave and tried to scrub every freckle off my skin.
The clothes stayed tied up in that plastic bag for the rest of the trip. When we got home, I did all the other laundry first. I was a little bit afraid to open the bag, but surely four days in the heat without air should have killed any little bloodsuckers we missed. Just to be on the safe side, I washed that load twice in hot water and ran it through the dryer six times on high heat. Between suffocating, drowning and baking, all the little spawns of Satan seem to be dead and gone. The only traces left are the blistery, itchy sores in random places, mostly our ankles, but I have one on my stomach, one on my back and a couple up by my armpits.
The good news is that seed ticks don’t carry the nasty diseases that fully grown ticks carry. So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.
And now you know the rest of the story.