COMING HOME: Wood ticks the price for wild paradise
WATFORD CITY, N.D. -- Once I was in Victoria's Secret shopping for undies. Sometimes I get out and do things like that. Sometimes I shower, comb my hair, put on some makeup and make the long trip to the big town to replenish supplies like pretty ...
WATFORD CITY, N.D. -- Once I was in Victoria's Secret shopping for undies. Sometimes I get out and do things like that. Sometimes I shower, comb my hair, put on some makeup and make the long trip to the big town to replenish supplies like pretty spring tops, sandals, nail polish and, well, underwear. You know, girl stuff.
And so it went and I was feeling good. I showered, combed my hair and put on some makeup. I was feeling a little less like a grubby ranch girl and a little more like a civilized woman while I thumbed through the racks of lace and silk and other impractical slivers of fabric. And then, while I was wincing at the thought of a permanent lace wedgie, I reached up to scratch my head only to discover one of the many reasons I will never be a Victoria's Secret model.
I don't know much about super models, but I can't imagine Heidi Klum has ever discovered a wood tick stuck in her hairline while frolicking amongst the ridiculous push-up bras, butt-crack revealing undergarments, smelly lotions, powders and weird music only to wonder just how long the darn thing had been there.
Nope. Victoria's Secret models shave their legs.
Victoria's Secret models live in places with white sand and gentle winds that blow their hair in just the right direction.
Victoria's Secret models have people comb their hair for them.
Victoria's Secret models don't have to check for ticks.
But I do.
Oh, I do.
Because it's May at the ranch and the sun is warming up the creepy crawly things that live in the grass, fallen logs, millions of trees and dogs that can't help but roll around in it all.
Out here you can't have paradise without paying a price.
And wood ticks are our price. I could add mosquitos and horseflies to that list, but none of them offend me as much as the sneaky little pest that can manage a trip from the tip of my boot to the top of my head without me noticing until I'm all dressed up and out for a nice supper with my husband, forcing me to interrupt romance for a hurried trip to the bathroom to flush the thing down the toilet.
But I'm not the only one being invaded around here. Yesterday I found a really large family of them having a Thanksgiving style meal inside my puppy's left ear.
But there's nothing we can do about it but wait for the summer to warm up and the Frontline to kick in.
I think I could make a fortune if I could just invent a fashionable and safe version of a tick collar for wild humans who live in wild places.
Because if there's anyone who needs it, it's me.
I can't get it under control. I mean, if you think trying to figure out how to dispose of a blood-sucking parasite that hitched a 150-mile ride on the back of your neck to the big town to shop for underwear was an embarrassing dilemma, try thinking of a proper reaction for when your hairdresser stops dead in her hair-dyeing tracks, horrified at the site of one munching away at a spot behind your ear.
Laughing it off like it's no big deal makes you look like an animal, freaking out doesn't help anyone, but telling her to just yank it out for you while you shrug your shoulders and launch into the story about the time you came home from a walk through the coulees with at least six dozen crawling up your legs? Well, that probably wasn't the best of any of those options ...
But that's what I did, forgetting that not everyone is so accustomed to the parasite.
And now she has a horrifying story to share over cocktails with her friends.
But that's me at the ranch in May. Between the mud and the leftover cockleburs I find while cleaning up, riding horses, and frolicking around, basking in the promise of warm weather, me and my wood ticks are just not suited for civilization.
Or Victoria's Secret.
Jessie Veeder is a musician and writer living with her husband on a ranch near Watford City, N.D. Readers can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org .