Tuesday was a weird day.

It started with the weather. My parents had an early flight, so they left for the airport at 4:30 a.m., when Tara and I were still in bed. I was kind of half-awake, because I kept hearing what sounded like thunder. I assumed I was dreaming, because there hadn’t been any in the forecast. Until I pulled back the curtains and saw streaks of lightning arcing between bruised and swollen clouds.

A few minutes later, the sky was absolutely glowing, dramatic shades of red, orange, pink, and purple painting the heavens while lightning continued to flicker.

It was so impressive, I decided to go for a walk and take pics. Not just any ol’ walk, mind you; I hiked to the top of the ridge overlooking my neighborhood. Was this the smartest idea in the world? Probably not, given the amount of lightning and thunder we were experiencing. But I kept checking the radar on my weather app, and the storm appeared to be skirting by to the south of us. And then suddenly, it was right overhead. I raced home just as it began to rain, thankful my body hadn’t become a human lightning rod.

Fast-forward a few hours. I’m in my office, participating in our weekly marketing meeting over Teams, when I feel something tickling my skin. I brush at it absentmindedly, but a few minutes later, I feel it again. I glance down and spy A TICK crawling across my arm. Naturally, I freak out! You would too, if you spotted a parasitic arachnid on your body—one whose saliva carries bacteria and can cause disease. At least when Peter Parker got bit by a spider, he developed cool superpowers. The only thing I might get is a raging case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, WHICH CAN BE FATAL. Or result in paralysis, mental disability, or amputation of limbs. Honestly, death sounds better than what’s behind door numbers one, two, and three.

So anyway, I leap out of my chair, flick the creature from my arm, and stomp on it. Only that doesn’t kill it, because ticks have hard exoskeletons and are basically indestructible. The real kicker? All of this is taking place on camera in front of my coworkers, because as you’ll recall, I’m in the middle of a Teams online meeting.  


Luckily, nobody questioned why I was dancing around like a fool. Which begs the question: why didn’t anybody question why I was dancing around like a fool?! Clearly, this isn’t normal behavior. Have I already earned a reputation as “that” guy around the office? Usually, it takes a year or two.

I later identified it as an American Dog Tick. And if you think I’m being overly dramatic, the New York Times calls this species “the zombies of the woods.”

And to think I was afraid of bears before. Ha! At least you can see them coming for you, versus these invisible hitchhikers. Most of the time, you never feel their bite.

If I develop a fever, headache, and rash in the next few days, it’s been nice knowing you.

By the way, I need to clarify a point from my last post. You might recall I talked about my inability to chill out on weekends—the exact opposite of my wife, who has the whole relaxation thing down pat.

That’s certainly true, but I hope I didn’t imply that she’s a lazy bum or anything. Tara works her ass off, too! We just do so at different times.

While I’m scurrying about like a madman on Saturdays and Sundays, the opposite is true during the week. After working eight hours at the office, I have little physical or mental energy for chores. All I wanna do is kick back on my recliner and lose myself in mindless television. Something like America’s Got Talent or Naked and Afraid. If there’s a glass of wine beside me, all the better. Meanwhile, Tara is go-go-go during this time. She’s typically doing laundry, cleaning the house, paying bills, gardening, or disassembling Chevy small block engines just for kicks.

“You’re the yin to my yang,” she tells me, and we do seem to complement each other perfectly. One of us is always picking up the slack for the other, and isn’t that an ideal relationship if you think about it?

Monday night is a great example. It was my parents’ last evening visiting. While the three of us kicked it on the patio, chatting and listening to music, Tara was elbow-deep in potting soil. She planted, pruned, weeded, and mulched while we watched House Hunters. She was still in the yard after dark, working by the dim light of a headlamp, long after the rest of us were already in bed.

I suppose it all comes out even in the end.

We’re going camping this weekend. Luckily, I made the reservation six months ago, because everybody in the world is recreating this summer, free at last from their pandemic shackles, I guess.

Since it’ll be a warm summer weekend and we’re camping at Sheridan Lake, we’d planned on taking the boat. You know, that still-nameless vessel we acquired a year ago and have used exactly once? But it apparently needs a new battery, and those aren’t cheap. Instead, we’re going to rent kayaks.

I’ve never been in a kayak before. With my luck, a thunderstorm will pop up when I’m in the middle of the lake. While paddling madly to shore, I’ll spot a tick crawling on me, panic, flip the boat, and end up drowning.

Talk about living dangerously…

34 thoughts on “TickTalk

  1. Ticks are horrid here in Maine! Even with flea and tick treatment, my dogs still drag them in. Evil little bastards. I know so many people who have been diagnosed with Lyme disease…it’s quite insidious. And some doctors are in denial that Lyme disease is a “thing.” It can be debilitating, and is often misdiagnosed. I find at least 1 or 2 on me a week. Ugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My skin is crawling just reading this post.

      Fortunately, “my” tick doesn’t spread Lyme disease. Not that Rocky Mountain spotted fever is any walk in the park though!


      1. Now there is a Lone Star Tick out there that when bitten, some people develop an allergy to red meat! No more cheeseburgers would be horrible!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. When identifying my tick, I thought for a moment it might be a Lone Star. It was a toss-up between the two, but the coloring was closer to that of the American Dog tick. Plus, Lone Stars are found in South Dakota, but they’re much more rare here.

        No cheeseburgers? Just put me out of my misery now.


  2. “disassembling Chevy small block engines just for kicks” For reals?
    Dope sky pics. Sorry about the tick. Blech. I had one of those stuck in my leg. It took multiple tries to pull it out. Ugh. Still alive though. Paralyzed, armless, and mentally unstable, but alive. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A great title, Mark. Unfortunately you are referring to an actual tick. Lyme disease is big around here and you are likely aware how it causes major symptoms. Oh, my gosh, Zombies of the woods. Great how you identified it. I get it on the yin to your yang. My husband and I refer to this phrase, often. Your photos are stunning! Not worth the capture when lightning. Enjoy your camping trip. You may still have unknown superpowers emerge.😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We have an awful time with deer ticks and Lyme disease here. I had one crawl out of my hair and onto my glasses a few hours after I showered from a walk near a wooded area. I’ve had to remove them from both my husband and a friend after walks. They can dig in deep and it’s freaky indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So many hikes I want to do in eastern WA this summer/fall. Worst time for ticks and now that you tell us one just appeared on your body from an innocent little walk on the ridge… sort of takes the enjoyment out of carefree hiking adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ticks are bad this year. As awful as it is, spray Cutter on clothes, socks and boots.

    RM spotted fever is no joke. I have a yellow tint to my teeth from all the tetracycline I was given as a kid.

    To kill a tick, drop it into some rubbing alcohol.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So between the tick and the potential for a disastrous weekend, it looks like this may be the end of our blog friendship. Too bad, because I figured one day I would road trip out west and find myself in Rapid City and I thought we could meet up and I would blog about it. But you will be dead soon. That’s a real shame. Thanks for ruining my future plans.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The photos are amazing.
    The TICK is satan. Very scary.
    I don’t think anyone (at least not me) thought you were implying that Tara was a lazy butt. I’m envious of her ability to shut it off when she wants to, that is a super power.

    Kayaking is FUN and not that scary. Well, unless there are rapids. Or sharks. Or alligators. Or ticks.
    have fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ticks are no-joke. At least it wasn’t a Lone Star one, which carries the risk of making you allergic to meat (at any random moment, too–the allergy can kick in anywhere from months to even a couple years after the bite).

    But, uh…huh. Maybe they all had different windows/tabs open and were only listening into the meeting? (Totally not guilty of that myself…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Allergic to meat?! That’s such an odd side effect!

      Half the time, I’m doing other things and only halfway paying attention during those meetings, too. Just don’t tell my boss, okay?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I haven’t seen a tick for years, thankfully. I remember as a kid back in Minnesota we’d pull them off and rip ’em in half. As you say, stomping only annoys them.

    I wonder if ripping ’em in half causes them to regenerate as two ticks? 😉

    As for your meeting dance, you could tell them you were ticked off.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pretty sure the only way to truly kill a tick is to burn it. I ended up flushing mine down the toilet…which means it probably emerged from a sewer a few miles downstream and is currently wreaking havoc on some other poor unsuspecting sap!


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