A few weeks of craziness here and I’m finally waking up from my drug induced haze.
Last week, my sisters family was in Orlando for spring break. Cindy and I took a few days to go over and visit them and spend some time with the family. They were staying at the Marriott World Center, which is a resort in itself. We literally never had to leave this hotel. Most of our time was spent in the pool swimming and having fun with our underwater camera while the kids hammed it up.
I truly love these kids. They are such a joy to be around and each so unique in their own way. They’ve all grown past the stage of whining little rug-rats and they’re now little adults that can carry on engaging conversations about normal topics. Cindy and I are not normally all that excited about being around groups of kids, but these guys are different. We both agreed that we could spend months with them and we’d be perfectly content. It was our nieces birthday, so we all got to go out to dinner and sing her the Happy Birthday song a few times throughout the day.
I was sad to say goodbye when it was time for us to head back to Cedar Key, but it was good to see them even if just for a few short days. On our way home, we took a different route rather than jumping on the Expressway. Heath had given me a route to take that would bring us through Old Orlando, before Disney came to town. This was the original route before the bigger Freeway’s were built. You get to pass through little towns with old motels and quirky roadside attractions.
One of these attractions in particular was a roadside stand that had all sorts of Yard Art for sale. We’ve had a few people send us emails after they had passed this place saying “I think you’re related to these people!“, or encourage us to stop by for a visit because they know we’ll find fun things to decorate our yard with.
We found the place and ended up spending a few hours wandering around talking with the nice woman behind the counter. It’s called Barberville Roadside Yard Art & Produce. It lived up to all the talk and I’m sure Cindy and I will spend thousands of dollars here over the course of our time spent in Florida. Heck, this first visit I dropped close to $500 in quirky, fun finds. One of them happens to be something we’ve been looking for a long time. A cool stool for the tiki bar that has already become a huge hit.
Once back in Cedar Key, we had a short visit from a good friend from Michigan who was passing through. That night turned out to be one wild night in Cedar Key with all sorts of antics happening that I’m sure will have John telling stories for years to come. From his arrival at the tiki bar that was standing room only, to all of us leaving to head downtown where we found topless girls in the bars and in the streets to the end of the night happening with a huge bar brawl that had the police and paramedics tending to the guy that got his but kicked. We tried to explain to John that this is not a normal night in Cedar Key, but he just kept laughing saying “I now know why you guys live here!“
The next day, I went out to Heath’s property to help him sink some poles so he can add a lean-to along the side of his covered RV storage. While out in the woods, we were working with really big cypress logs that Heath had found back on the property. These were huge cypress trees at one point that had fallen. Since cypress trees dont rot, he wanted to use the actual tree trunks as poles to build the lean-to.
At one point, we had this 20′ tree trunk suspended in the air with the help of his John Deere tractor. I was hugging the tree in order to swing it into the hole we had dug. Once the tree was set in the hole, I noticed I had a few ticks crawling on my hand. I picked them off and gave myself a quick tick check, but we had 4 more logs to place, so I never really had time to give myself a detailed check. That would later result in much agony.
Later that night, I’m working the tiki bar and feel something crawling on me. I come in the house and ask Cindy to check my back because I feel something crawling on me. She finds a tick and tells me to jump in the shower and turn the water as hot as I can stand it. I take a long, very hot shower practically scaled off the upper layer of skin. It had been a long day and I think I was asleep seconds after getting out of the shower.
5am finds me waking up because I think I feel something crawling on me again. I’m not sure if I’m going crazy or my mind is just playing tricks on me. As soon as I get into the bathroom and look at myself in the mirror, I FREAK OUT!
I run back into the bedroom with Cindy’s reading glasses and a pair of tweezers. I turn on the light on her nightstand and yell “Cindy, wake up!”
She rolls over about to smack the crap out of me saying “What the HELL are you doing!?! It’s friggin’ 5am in the morning!”
I hand her the reading glasses and the tweezers and say “TICK CHECK NOW!”
Along my belt line of my stomach, there are 3 ticks burrowed into my stomach. Cindy gets over the rude awakening when she realizes I have serious issues to attend to. She surgically removes the ticks from my abdomen, before she tells me she’ll do a full body scan. By the time we’re done an hour later, she’s removed 7 ticks from my body. One of them, the largest of them all and the one that has everyone laughing so hysterically about this incident (Yes, Cindy’s told EVERYONE about it) was removed from the most delicate piece of anatomy on the male body. No I’m not kidding! That is something I’m trying hard to forget about as it’s left more than a scar on my body, but on my brain too.
Come to find out when doing research on the intraweb, that ticks can actually bite you without burrowing in. My body has 12 bites in various places. These bites itch like nothing I’ve ever felt before. This is where the drug induced haze comes in I was talking about earlier. For the last week, I’ve been downing Benadryl like it’s candy. Even with large doses of Benadryl, the bites still itch like hell, but I guess the hallucinations and groggy feeling I’ve been experiencing tricks my mind to not pay attention to it.
I had called Heath first thing that morning and told him he needed to do a FULL tick check. He laughed and told me not to worry about it. Later we find out that he had none on him, but Jolie, someone who never even went out to the property with us had two ticks on her and ended up getting bitten a few times too. Poor girl.
I guess what I hit is called a Tick Bomb. The tiny ticks we had on us are called Seed Ticks. Read this link, but especially read the comments below her blog post to see what many of the other people have experienced. She’s not lying when she called them the Devil’s Spawn. It’s made for an excruciating week of semi-consciousness for the brief periods I’d be coming down off my Benadryl coma.
Scott, Karen, Cindy and I even went out on the boat for an entire day and I barely remember any of it. Who would ever think that a few little bugs could induce this much pain!? From here on out, if I step into the woods, I’ll be covered in DEET and go through a full tick check when leaving.