something pretty to look at because our topic is so ugly
If it weren't raining so much, we would be getting a lot more exercise this time of year. As it is, our page-turning fingers are lithe, and the muscles that adjust our heads on our pillows are in fine form. But the muscles required to do our nightly tick yoga are getting a little flabby.
If it weren't raining so much, we would be spending our days, sunup to sundown, out in the air. We would tromp through the garden to see what June flowers were blooming (as it is, they are battered to the ground by all the downpours). Birch would be circling the pizza oven daily, one ring of firebricks going up at a time (as it is, the mortar can't cure, and things crumble if he so much as looks at a brick). I would be hauling soil to the new rain garden I'm making outside my garden window (as it is, everything is mud, nothing but). All of this outdoorsy activity would put us in constant reach of the ever-waiting ticks.
With all the rain, we don't have that much exposure. Still, on one of the two of fifteen days when it did not rain, Blossom got a tick. She missed it during tick yoga that night. Tick yoga is when you bend and reach in all directions, trying to see and feel parts of your body that have never been seen or felt (at least by you yourself). Ticks like to go right to the place you yourself have never seen or felt before. That is why we all practice tick yoga with great vigilance. Sometimes we do double or triple tick yoga, which looks a lot like a game of Twister.
Because we were all sun-addled on one of the two days it hasn't rained in the last fifteen, we didn't spot a tick on Blossom. And we didn't know how long it had been attached to her. Since we live in Lyme-disease territory, we removed the tick and immediately called the pediatrician. (If you want more information on the gruesome details of removing ticks, do go see the entertaining Bug Girl, who is not squeamish about these things. One note though: Everybody says to use tweezers. But have you ever come at a kid with tweezers? "They're all pointy!" At Portland's annual garden show, we scored this little tick scoop. Birch tried it out on Blossom's tick, and everybody was happy -- except the tick.) Anyway, here's the public service announcement and purported point of this post: The pediatrician sent us not for antibiotics (as with Birch's last run-in with a tick) but to a local hospital's tick tester. Using a microscope the tick tester determined the tick had been attached for less than the thirty-six hours required to transmit Lyme Disease. So, if your tick yoga turns up a wretched bloodsucker, scoop (or tweeze) it off, save it on a piece of tape, and check to see if your hospital has a tick tester.
These days, because of the rain, we only go outside sheathed in rain slickers and our boots. The ticks can't even smell our warm blood through all that rubber. As our summer-fun muscles atrophy, at least our fingers still get a daily workout: It's a lot of work chopsticking all the slugs out of our floating garden.
Have we mentioned that it's been raining here?