Just out of reach

By Mir
July 4, 2005

It’s been a true holiday weekend for me; I have been busily mooching my way across various friends, and haven’t fed myself since Friday. It’s amazing; I mean, my kids are out of town, it’s not like I lost a limb or anything. But it’s really very sweet that those friends who didn’t abandon me to go out of town on vacation or something (like SOME people who clearly DON’T LOVE ME AT ALL) want to love me and hug me and feed me until my pants go *POP*.

Oh yeah, sorry ’bout that by the way. Did it startle you, earlier this evening? That loud noise? It was my shorts… right around the 23rd strawberry, I believe. I’m sorry.

The weather has been kind enough to grace us with a flawless few days: Warm–but not too hot–sunny, not too humid. Just beautiful. I’ve spent hours upon hours outside this weekend and I think I’m even starting to tan a little, because it was only spontaneously commented to me, “Wow, you are REALLY white!” twice.

The only problem is, while I was busy eating my way across town, I was also being eatEN. At last count I have about eleventy billion bug bites. A small price to pay for a long weekend of respite, really.

After my lazy lie-around Saturday, I determined to really get moving on Sunday. After church I went to brunch and caught up with a friend. Naturally that was so exciting, I had to come home and take a nap to recharge. After that, I headed outside to mow the lawn. When I came in, a friend called to invite me over for dinner. A quick shower and I was on my way again. More food! More fun! Some watching of a TiVoed episode of “The Scholar” which made us very, very happy to no longer be 18!

Today, I met up with other friends and headed to the town “Hey, everything is closed for the holiday so why not come buy a hotdog to support the Daughters of the American Revolution or something” festival. It consisted of a lot of booths of… ummm… stuff. It really wasn’t all that thrilling. But maybe that’s just my opinion, because my friend elected to stand in line for close to an hour to work her way up to a rather scary-looking clown who was making balloon animals. This clown was making balloon animals in much the same way that erosion makes beaches. Technically, sure; his actions results in balloon animals, yes. And I’m sure he could’ve done it EVEN SLOWER, but I’m not sure HOW that would’ve been possible.

But Boing (my friend’s daughter) wanted a balloon rabbit, and a balloon rabbit she was going to have. So she stood on line to get Boing that rabbit, and Boing and I would go wander off for a little while and then return to check on my friend’s progress in the line. (She was always exactly where we’d left her.) Boing was hungry, so we went and got her a hotdog. Then we ran into and talked with some friends, and then returned to check on my friend in line (unmoved). So Boing ate her hotdog, and declared she was bored, so we went off to look at some kittens. We went back to check on my friend (unmoved) and got the green light to go get some cotton candy. So I got Boing some cotton candy and laughed myself silly while she stuffed that fluff into her face as fast as humanly possible. I was kicking myself for forgetting my camera.

Finally, the other people in the balloon animal line died of old age, and it was Boing’s turn. She ran over to stand with her mom and eventually claim a hideously twisted semblance of a bunny from the scary clown. Wow, really worth the wait! But she was happy. So that was good. And then we decided we could leave the festival.

We went strawberry picking, and then we went home and hung out for a while, and then we grilled salmon for dinner, and it was lovely. It was, all of it. And a little while before I left we started talking about recent events in my life and I noticed two things.

First: My stress level is still quite a bit higher than I would like. In fact, I’ve decided I vastly prefer the denial method of coping–also known as the “lalalala I can’t HEAR you!” method–to this “sharing” thing. Sheesh. Gotta make a note of that one.

Second: As we sat and talked, I realized I have quite a few bug bites. Not surprising, given all the time I’ve spent outdoors this weekend. And it’s not like I haven’t had bug bites before. But today I have an EXTRA SPECIAL ITCHY AND ANNOYING bite! I have a great big bite just inside the base of my left shoulderblade. I share the location not just because I share every worthless detail because I never know when to shut up already; I share the location because perhaps you are like me, and recognize that this location is NOT amenable to scratching. Reaching my arm around my body leaves my fingertips just underneath it, but going over my shoulder means my reach ends just above it.


None of my other bites itch. At least, they don’t itch as much as this one that I can’t reach. I am trying to ignore it, which of course just makes it itch more because NOTHING ITCHES MORE THAN SOMETHING YOU CAN’T SCRATCH. It is taking every ounce of my concentration to not bother trying to scratch it, because I CAN’T, anyway, and thinking about it only makes it worse, and now I am sort of wishing I had died in the balloon animal line.

What will I remember from this weekend? Will I look back on the time I spent with friends, all of the good food I had, the gorgeous weather, the extra sleep? Or will I only remember futile scratching and being uncomfortable? (Hint: May depend on whether or not I’ve had a drink or two.)

I think the bugs know something. Things are shifting ’round here, and it seems a wee bit coincidental that of the thousands of bites I’ll have this summer, I have this particular bite right now.

Uh, see what I mean? I just accused insects of having cosmic knowledge. Something is clearly amiss. I don’t want to alarm anyone, but it might be best to send chocolate. Just in case. As a diversionary tactic, you understand.


  1. Mamacita

    Put toothpaste on the bug bites. It stops the itch, it really does!

  2. Beth

    But if you can’t reach it, you can’t put toothpaste on it! I’m a fan of doing the bear routine: find yourself a well textured tree/wall/what-have-you and backing up onto it. Bend and straighten your knees, and you’ve got a lovely back scratcher. And since most of us weigh less than a real live bear, we’re not likely to actually knock over said tree ;-)

    Sounds like a lovely weekend, all in all.

  3. udge

    Reaching my arm around my body leaves my fingertips just underneath it, but going over my shoulder means my reach ends just above it.

    Go to the kitchen, get a fork…

    Glad you had such a good weekend, enjoy the free time.

  4. Leanne

    Noting the fork idea. Excellent!

    (Lightbulb: Apply anti-itch creams with butter knife, since we’re going with utinsils as a means for relief!)

  5. Cat

    Nothing wrong with mooching amoung friends, Just be prepared for payback! LOL

    wow thanks for the toothpaste idea for bug bites. :)

  6. Angela

    Ohhhhh…….”Nothing itches more than something you can’t scratch”….Jeez…that aptly explains almost every frustration in my life currently!

  7. MshellG

    If the toothpaste doesn’t work, try making a baking soda paste. You’re still confronted with figuring out how to get it on your shoulder blade though! I have a high tolerance to most OTC itch remedies but a little water and baking soda always does the trick! :O)

  8. alice, uptown

    Your pants got too tight from strawberries? That just can’t be. Way too healthy in the food consumption department, or you’re leaving something crucial out. Like cream. Yes, strawberries and cream has a more realistic ring to it.

    About applying the goo of your choice to the bugbite: use a more creative utensil than a butter knive. Think spatula, and you’ll be able to reach just fine.

  9. blanco

    nice web this of yours.

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