My occasionally snarky thoughts on everything from motherhood, politics, life and current events. Cocktails are sometimes mandatory. Bottoms up!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

If I were trying to kill you...

...I'd use my hands!!

I saw this itchy story over at Ellison's (inspired by this story - holy crap!), and it reminded me of one of the times I inadvertently tried to kill my Hubby. Well, to tell the truth.... it was more than once. But I didn't know!!

See... Ellison talks about growing up with poison ivy all around. He knew what it looked like. And when he was exposed (and apparently looked like the Elephant Man) his Mom and the Doc knew just what to do. And Ellison knew enough to avoid the stuff even more diligently from then on.
Monday morning arrived. There was no question of my going to school. My face had swollen to the point where I could barely see through my slitted eyes. I'm sure I itched all over as well, but my main recollections are of my horrifyingly swollen face. How much worse could things get? Would my windpipe swell shut? Gaaaahhh!

I vaguely recall stumbling about, mumbling, I am not an animal! I am a human being!" [Just kidding.]
My hubby was also exposed and had a terrible reaction to poison oak as a kid. I frankly, had no idea. I mean, I'd heard of poison ivy and poison oak and read about how horrible it was (and laughed/cringed at the stories I'd heard about people getting rashes in *unusual* places), but I really had no clue.

You see, I grew up in Wyoming. And while there probably *is* poison ivy and poison oak growing somewhere in the state - it sure as hell wasn't where I lived. Or anywhere we went. I never saw it. So I didn't know really what it was, where it grew, or what it looked like. Wyoming is an arid state. Bad soil, high winds, dry climate, hot summers.... Stuff just doesn't grow there! And I had no idea about poison sumac...

So, fast forward a few years. Hubby and I had moved from Helena, Montana to St. Louis, Missouri. Me, him, two little girls, and a dog.

We had a cute little rental house right near where he worked, in a quiet neighborhood, at the bottom of a hill. Part of the deal with the landlady was that we were to be responsible for our own lawn care. Fine by me. Hubby likes to edge and mow and we felt fine about maintaining our own space.

We were also right next to a cement "canal" that handled the run-off of the rain water from the interstate. And there was about a six foot fenced space between our yard and the "canal."

Where the weed trees grew.

So our first summer there, I noticed these weed trees growing in the somewhat jungle-ish space next to the yard. Our responsibility?? Hard to say... but with much rain and a few hot days the weed trees had grown up really tall - well over six feet. And a few sprouts began to appear on our side of the fence. So I sent hubby out one Saturday with clippers and gloves to deal with the problem.

Down came the weed trees - up blew my husband. Itchy and miserable.

Did we make the connection, you ask?? No. Of course not. Hubby figured he must have gotten in to some poison ivy when he jumped the fence to go after the "trees." He didn't see any, of course. So we weren't sure what had happened to him. And I had helped with weed tree disposal, and *I* was fine... So we had no clue.

After two or three more weed tree battles (always with some sort of an itchy episode afterward) we had managed to "kill" the weed trees for that summer. The itch/rash suffered by my hubby was always attributed to the poison ivy that he couldn't see... But we had won for now, the weed trees were down. And we merrily went on about our lives and didn't think about the weed trees anymore. Until the following summer...

The weed trees were back and with a vengeance. Holy cow!! They were taking over... So Hubby at *my* suggestion (brave man that he is) donned gloves plus long sleeves, long pants, boots and a bandanna over his face and once again jumped the fence to wage war with the weed trees. Thinking, of course, that he was completely covered and therefore not vulnerable to the invisible poison ivy that had gotten to him the year before. And he showered IMMEDIATLY afterward. Again, I helped. Again, I was fine...

Oh no... hell no... Not twelve hours later he was covered with a blistery itchy rash... EVERYWHERE. The poor guy missed 3 days of work and practically *drank* calamine lotion. He wore nothing but a large towel - for three-freekin'-days. It was awful... I felt soooooo bad for him, and still we had no idea...

I was again, fine. No problems... No itching... no rash.... Nada. We were again without a clue.

Then on the seventh day of his misery (and following gallons of calamine lotion and God knows how many oatmeal baths) knowledge visited our house...

On the evening news they were doing a "plants to avoid" segment - I looked up and saw............... the weed trees.

Holy shit, I had been sending my hubby out to tango with poison freeking sumac!! Year after year. Again and again. And because of his childhood exposure to poison oak, he was even more susceptible to a terrible reaction. Me?? Not so much.

So, Sorry Honey! I didn't mean to keep making you go get all blistery and rashy. I'll try not to poison you any more..... And it helps that we no longer live next to the weed trees...