Monday, July 20, 2015

Mother Nature's Evil Twin Is Trying to Kill Me

On Monday I finished the giant editing job I've been working on since June, and I decided to devote each day of the rest of the week to a theme, which has worked well for me in the past.
  • Tuesday: Religious education! (I now co-chair this church committee.) I finally read every e-mail that Kind Tina, my co-chair, sent me throughout the spring — and won't she be pleased, I now have a 24-item list of things to discuss with her. I also went through piles of old RE documents, read several RE handbooks written by other churches, etc. etc., it was a huge amount of work, and it took all day. But now it's done! For now.
  • Wednesday: Piles and lists! I dealt with all the crap that had piled up on my work desk, re-affixed the light-blocking panels on my kitchen porch door, finished the first draft of an article for the Betsy-Tacy Society Newsletter, and did a bunch of other things that I've been carrying over from week to week on my calendar. Success! Accomplishment! 
  • Thursday: Beauty! I planned to work in my garden until I couldn't stand it any more (it's a jungle out there) and then self-beautify — fake-tan my legs, paint my nails, etc. 
Here's where everything fell apart. Many things needed to be done in my front yard, but the most pressing task, in my judgment, was to prune the wildly overgrown willow tree, whose limbs now reached into my driveway and tickled my face every time I got out of my car. That tree wants to take over the world. I'm not overly fond of it, but it does have a cool funky shape that I kind of enjoy, especially without leaves. During the summer, though — man. It grows like Topsy.
I started on the side closest to the front door, hacking, clipping, cutting. No big deal. Then I moved toward the driveway and prepared to saw off a smallish limb.

And then shrieked, "Son of a BITCH!" and flung off my gardening gloves, where I could clearly see some sort of black stinging insect clinging to one of the fingers.

I ran inside the house to pour cold water on my sting, then I Googled "how to treat bite from stinging insect." Ice was suggested, which I promptly applied. The stung area felt better within a minute, so I headed back outside, this time armed with my electric flyswatter, and I zapped the insect (which was still on my glove, crawling around like an idiot with a death wish).

Well, hmm. Perhaps I should not use the word "idiot" lightly, given what happened next.

Assuming this was an isolated incident with a now dead stinging insect, I picked up the clippers and resumed my grooming.

"MotherF***ER!!!!" I then shrieked, and raced back inside for more ice.

Dear Readers, how I would love to tell you that I learned my lesson, left the tree alone, and stopped shrieking obscenities up and down the length of my quiet residential neighborhood.

But no. No.

I repeated this entire scenario three more times, for a total of five stings. Well, to be fair, I got stung twice in the same clipping attempt, so really only two more times. Four pruning attempts, five stings. But then I gave up.

My good friend Google told me that I had a nest of bald-faced hornets living in my willow tree. Bald-faced hornets are nasty bastards that get particularly pissed off when they believe their nest/queen is under attack. Which I guess my vicious pruning shears pretty clearly represented to them.
And, get this, unlike nice polite bumblebees, bald-faced hornets do not die after stinging you. They just keep stinging and stinging. Jerks!!!

But Pest Control Guy Kyle came out first thing the next morning and removed a nest the size of a baseball from my death tree. He assured me that he would come again if I saw a single hornet, but that he has never had to make a repeat visit after removing a nest.

I spent the weekend cowering indoors and hiding from my death tree, but this is no way to live. Yesterday I cowboyed up, grabbed my pruning shears, and proceeded to Do Battle.

And I won!! That tree is pruned within an inch of its life (though I still need to saw off the limb that's reaching to Heaven — sawing is a lot of work, and it's bloody hot). I am a BADASS.

Today is the hottest it will be all week, and each day after this will be cooler. I have two big editing jobs coming, but I don't know when. Perhaps while I wait, I will give the days of this week themes, as I never got to "writing" and "fitness" (fitness morphed into gardening, and writing was going to be Friday's theme but I did something else instead).

No weight loss news whatsoever. I documented my food on FatSecret for several weeks, I stayed within my calorie limit every day, with a decent balance between carbs, protein, and fat, and I didn't lose an ounce. (FatSecret says that I should lose a pound a week at this calorie limit.) I have a doctor's appointment on August 3, and I know they will test my thyroid, which I'm beginning to wonder about.

But frankly, it's too hot to care about anything. I just rented two movies with "summer" in the title; I'm going to sit in front of my fan with an iced drink and enjoy the wacky highjinks of Mark Harmon and Jennifer Love Hewitt, because that's the best way to keep cool on a sultry afternoon, if you ask me.


—Lady C, gardening badass


  1. I love you, but you are a dolt. If you get stung, it's a sign from above that the tree really didn't need pruning. Nature will ultimately win anyway; why try and fight it? xxoo

    1. I am a dolt. No question. But also a BADASS. Just a really really dumb one.

  2. Fat Secret is nice, but its calorie estimate is high. I have checked several other sources and they have always been lower. In my case Fat Secret 1600, others 1200-1500. And nothing seems to take into account metabolism. As for Summer School, cheesy fun...and a young Courtney Thorne-Smith.

    1. I think you're right — I'm going to chop 400 calories off their limit and see what happens. I'm back to logging, in other words — want to buddy me? (Dirty!)

      Courtney T-S is gorgeous in that movie! And funny. I love her character.

  3. I'd already read this story on maud-l, but it's even better with all the cursing! I LOL'ed!!

    1. Only a hornet could inspire such a potty mouth; usually I am the perfect lady.


  4. Catching up on old posts... I plugged my numbers into Fat Secret, and then plugged my OLD numbers into Fat Secret. The old numbers suggested I eat 2200 calories a day, whereas the numbers my doctor at the time gave me were 900-1200! I'm sure 2200 was more than I'd been eating before I started trying to lose in earnest. I might have mentioned this before, but have you looked into getting your metabolism measured? They offered that at my gym, six or seven years ago, with a machine you breathe into and everything. I think they had it at my HMO, too. (It only corroborated the doctor's suggestion.) Getting diagnosed with severe hypothyroidism, and getting treated for it, did exactly nothing to help with my weight loss, BTW. Not that it didn't improve my life vastly in other ways.

    1. FASCINATING. I will ask my doc about metabolism (because my thyroid numbers were perfectly normal -- though normal does not necessarily mean OPTIMAL, I pointed out) (doc has yet to respond to my brilliant point). Also, based on what I'm reading other places, I think I should subtract 500 calories from my FatSecret target. Anyway -- new stuff to try! But not today, I'm hot. :)