Monsters In the Ivy

Over the weekend I developed an incredibly strong (albeit strange and unexpected) respect for weeds. Yes, I said weeds. I would LOVE to have the same quiet strength, robust courage, iron resolve and hearty resilience as say, a towering weed — something that can just sprout up anywhere and thrive no matter the circumstance. But I fear that I am a bit more like a fussy houseplant — high-maintenance with a tendency to wither and wilt when my environment does not quite suit me. The following account is a testimony to this fact…

It has long been established that I am not a fan of yard work or of getting my hands dirty. However, I could not—in good conscience—sit inside the house reading a novel on Sunday while Lee was outside toiling in the yard. I figured that the least I could do was pull a few weeds.

Now, I feel I should mention here that I am incredibly fearful and loathsome of insects. Regular visitors to this site will not find that to be new information. However, before proceeding, I felt it was necessary to establish… just in case in you’re new or had forgotten.

Anyway, after clearing out a few of the flower beds and remaining relatively free from debris and insects, Lee said that there was something in particular that I could do that would be of great help to him. And while I was pleased to be of some service — I was apprehensive as to why he did not wish to do this particular yard-job-thing himself.

It was then that I watched with great horror as he took my garden clippers from me and trudged waaaay into the mid-calf-deep ivy patch that runs along a stone walkway over to the side of the house. He fearlessly crouched down in the dark green tangle to demonstrate for me how to cut the ivy off of and away from the brick on the house, all the while explaining how detrimental the growth was to the continued integrity of the mortar.

“UGH.” I thought, “That ivy patch has GOT to be LOADED with spiders and their impenetrable webs and ants and centipedes and earwigs and mosquitoes and God only knows what other hellish creatures!”

But I knew deep down that I needed to suck it up, put on my game face, and just do it. He needed me to do this. I offered and he had ASKED me to do this incredibly scary thing and so I knew I must. After all, it wasn’t going to kill me. And that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?

I smiled as he walked away, trying to appear as resilient and strong as the weeds that I’d just removed from the edges of the aforementioned ivy patch. But on the inside I was terrified. With the clippers in my trembling hand, I stood at the edge of the verdant, living, breathing monster trying to summon the courage to go IN.

“What’s the worst that could happen?” I asked myself while imagining a giant, black hairy spider making it’s way up my bare leg. I might get bitten or stung or maaaaaybe come down with an itsy-bitsy case of West Nile, but other than that I will be fine. JUST DO IT.

So I did. I stepped cautiously into the teeming, wicked, leafy mess and cut that ivy back as fast as humanly possible. I did NOT think about what types of demonic incarnations might be feasting on my ankles whilst I did so and I got the job done in record time.

I am relieved to report that I escaped relatively unscathed with only 11 insect bites (at last count) on my ankles, shins and calves and am thus far NOT experiencing any of the symptoms of West Nile or the Plague. A little Benedryl cream and the promise to myself that NEXT time I will dress like a bee keeper when I venture into the ivy patch, I am feeling a bit stronger today. Perhaps I have some weed-like strength within me after all.


11 thoughts on “Monsters In the Ivy

  1. Shawdiane says:

    WELLDONE !! I let Doug do the dirty on our Horrible Ivy! Hate the stuff, chokes all my plants. A shame because it did look lovely covering the fence. As for the spiders, on this small island, my garden got full of big pink & brown speckled podgy bellied spiders in massive webs, so another job for lovely Doug!! One morning still sleepy I did not look as I walked up the back garden path to my greenhouse where I grow fresh herbs & veg. I was looking to the ground when something sticky caught my hair ! Then I realised & let out such A SCREAM…I must have woken up half my neighbors as I came face to face with one of the … yes you guessed right… Big Pink & Brown Speckled Podgy Bellied Spiders …. UUUuurgh ! Still gives me the creepies. I managed not to disturb it thank God !!! : Doug came running out & I made him throw over the fence’ !! Aaww!! Any you have not told me what job you now have & how it is going ??? Love & Blessings … Shawdiane *^*~~ Love from 2 Siamese Pussies

    • UGH! Sorry to hear of your spider encounter! That is awful! I live much of life in fear of them too so I relate! Walking into them would be awful!!

      The new job is a contract/freelance position so I don’t know how long it will last but it is a great place to work and a great company to work for. It is in retail and I am working specifically in the product design dept. The company designs slippers, footwear, bags and accessories and I basically create computer mock-ups to represent what the products will look like when they are still in the concept phase. It is different for me and a lot of fun. Hopefully, even though it is a contract, it will be good resume material! Thanks for asking!! I hope all is going well for you! 🙂 Best to you and yours (especially your furry friends—the cats not the spiders… 😀 )

      • Shawdiane says:

        Your new job sounds like fun! If you are able to let loose on the comp & use your own ideas to create the descriptions of each item, this is good for the little grey cells as well as
        your spiffing top notch artistic skills which I presume, you have in bounds. 🙂 I hope it all works out very well for you. It may even become permanent, if not, this sounds like a very good way to not only widen but also improve your skills. The more you have the merrier !
        So good luck my friend. As for the fury spiders. I went into my green house tonight to cut some fresh peppers for dinner (with lamb medallions mmmm. my fave) & as I bent forward I felt a stickyness on my arm !!! One long strong piece of sticky cobweb hung from the roof to one of my veg, but it looked like the little creep had only just begun it or had given up on building it ( Uuuurgh! gives me the creepies just writing this) I clean my green house (well I should say my wonderful other half cleans it) most weeks so I do not think any thing went into my long hair. I shook myself & my hair as you can imagine hahaha like a madwoman. You have not seen me yet have you. How can I show you a pic of myself ? Have a good week. Till next time, have a good one ! PS I have an idea, if you go to my website that I am just starting to build at you will see me pop up !

  2. Don says:

    These coincidences are kind of freaky. Last time I read your wonderful blog, I was munching on Doritos. You know the rest. NOW, I’m trying to type with a hand that has attached to it a finger the size of a bratwurst.

    Yup. I was gardening. Like you, it was something I was postponing and HAD to do, so I went outside for the first time in days (I have a tendency to exaggerate, I guess you’ve noticed. Nothing to do with compulsive lying; simply an attempt at humor.) Although I did only get stung by a Yellow Jacket a half hour ago, so the finger still has time to swell up MORE.

    I left the door open, plugged in my phone and placed the portable in my breast pocket. A precaution in case I go into anaphylactic shock. According to E-How, if that’s going to happen it’ll probably occur in 20 minutes. BUT it might take up to 20 hours, so I still have that to keep in the back of my mind—takes my mind off of the pain. Those YJ’s give a mean bite. Hurts more than I expected a bug bite could.

    Oops. I’m beginning to turn this into a novel. So, I’ll sign off and if I survive, I’ll catch you later.

    By the way—and I know, this might begin to “bug” you, so let me know if you don’t want any knitpicky advice. “NOT experiencing any of the or the Plague.” Chuckling through the entire essay, as usual, and upon reaching this sentence, I was haha. . . screech! When I came to the word plague. Just seems cliché and detracts from the excellent quality of the rest of the piece. “symptoms of West Nile virus.” is perfect. SORRY. I always say that I wish people would give me suggestions on my writing, but only a couple of people have–usually to tell me that it sucks–but never anything about a tweak. Perhaps if someone did suggest a tweak, i wouldn’t like it–i mean if they did it repeatedly.

    Anyway I’m now typing with only one finger off my right hand, so I must sign off, even though I feel chatty. 🙂

    • I hope you’re feeling better now and that anaphylactic shock never occurred! Those YJKTS can be nasty!! I hate them. I wrote a post awhile ago about having them in my house b/c that was something I dealt with a few years ago. You might want to check it out if you haven’t already read it… it might give you a chuckle.

      About the use of the “plague”… I appreciate the comment/critique about it being cliché but I do have to say that I am standing by this one. I put it in there purposefully because a week before I wrote this there was a lot of news coverage about 3 infectious diseases that had either had a surge or made a reappearance this summer. The big two were West Nile and the Hanta virus… but there was also a random incidence of the plague.

      A little girl in Colorado contracted the plague while on a camping trip with her family in mid-August. She apparently got it from infected fleas that were on a dead squirrel she was poking around. It was so odd that the Drs. almost missed it and her situation was quite grave but one Dr. finally figured it out and they cured her. Anyway, that news story was on my mind when I wrote this one… so it was a bit of a nod to current events / media-induced paranoia about infectious disease when only a few cases (or one in the case of the plague) is being reported.

      Hope your finger has shrunken back to it’s original size by now 🙂

      • Don says:

        Well, you have to draw the line somewhere, and I can’t think of a better place to do it than the plague. As a matter of fact, I was watching some lectures from Yale’s Open Course initiative and was viewing some lectures on epidemics. Interesting stuff, but kind of depressing–and the one on the plague was really freaking me out.

        I’ll check that plague post out.

      • Don says:

        Well, you have to draw the line somewhere, and I can’t think of a better place to do it than the plague. As a matter of fact, I was watching some lectures from Yale’s Open Course initiative and was viewing some lectures on epidemics. Interesting stuff, but kind of depressing–and the one on the plague was really freaking me out.

        I’ll check that yellow jacket post out. (Everything you write is humorous.)

        Oh, on a non-humorous note, I’d like to know what it was like to be at the 9/11 memorial. What it looked and felt like being there. Does the waterfall idea work?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s