Angry Bees

Today was totally awesome, right up to about 4-5 hours ago. 

I’m better now, but still recovering. Here’s what happened …

First thing this morning, about 8:30 a, I donned my work clothes, using my nifty yardstick suspenders to hold them up because they are too big now. That’s not totally true, of course, because I always use those suspenders on my work pants. It’s kind of like a trade mark. Jennifer gave them to me as a joke, but I wear them almost every day when I’m working. I love those suspenders.

Before doing garage ‘stuff’, I hitched the trailer up to the mower because it was full of wood, from a dismantled couch, and I didn’t want it to be that way. So, I carted it down to the burn pile and tossed it all out. On the way back, I stopped along the fence, over which hangs our neighbor’s walnut tree, and gathered up a little more than one Avon box lid of walnuts. The last time I did that, I had about 5 lids full, one layer. 

The walnuts got me into the ‘picking’ mood, so I moved on to the two apple trees that still have fruit on them, and added them to the trailer. There were at least 10 dozen apples, many of which will be converted into applesauce. 

Shortly before 9:50 am, Diane took off in a panic because she had an appointment to get her flu shot at her doctor’s office but she couldn’t find her purse. She drove herself anyway, which is definitely against the law. I briefly considered calling the police to turn her in but figured that wouldn’t end well for me. So, I ignored her infraction and got busy moving ‘stuff’ around in the garage, something I do once in a while that looks like work, but actually isn’t. In this instance, however, I actually did some constructive rearranging, moving a pair of captain chairs, that Diane bought at a yard sale a couple of years ago, to get them into a location less annoying to me. They were destined for the ’79 Winnebago, but I actually like my seat so stalled her out. When we returned from vacation, those chairs were right smack in the path we use to get to the Yogurt Refrigerator in the garage. It’s imperative that we be able to get to that refrigerator in the morning, especially when it has yogurt in it.

While I was doing that, Jeff appeared out of nowhere to pick up those very same chairs. If I had waited just a bit longer, I wouldn’t have had to move them at all. Still, it was a good thing to see Jeff, as it is to see all relatives. In this case, if you don’t know, Jeff is our son. I helped him get the chairs to his van then offered to give him the Garage Organ, also. He accepted so, hopefully, that will go away soon. At this rate, in another couple of years, we might have the other side of the garage cleaned out to the point where I can actually park my car in there. Diane’s been using the garage since we moved in because it was a rule that I make that so, or she would make it necessary for me to employ a lawyer to talk over how to divide up the property. So, she can drive in and out at will. Sometimes that’s what she does on a rainy day. She’ll get in the car, back out into the driveway, sit there for a moment, then drive back into the garage. I don’t know why she does that. Kinda quirky.

She really does do that, but only when one of us forgets something. She didn’t do that today. She just drove off without her license. As soon as she was gone, I found her purse laying on the printer. Actually, it was one of the many purses she leaves lying around the house, but I know the one on the printer was the one she wanted because it had her wallet in it.

Jeff left with the chairs, then Diane showed up shortly thereafter with a Buick full of food because she took her Mom, Jean, to Safeway to restock the depleted larders. We don’t really have a larder, but we have empty shelves and drawers where food used to be. Now the Yogurt Refrigerator actually has yogurt in it. And, I have milk to drink. She bought me a couple of bagels, too. I love those things, but can’t eat too many of them because they make my pants too tight.

After unloading the Buick, Diane checked her cell phone messages and discovered she had missed a call from KayKay, Ozzie’s hair dresser. He gets a poodle-do about every 36 days, and he always needs it. When the yard is wet, he probably should have one a week because he’s so short that I can’t cut the grass low enough to keep it from hitting his belly. He’s a mess for most of those 36 days, but for the first few he looks great and actually smells good. So, off Diane went to get him back. He was wearing a cute little neckerchief with Jack-o-lanterns on it which I took off right away. He and I have talked about those things and he’s let me know he really doesn’t like them. But, KayKay always puts one on him.

Somewhere during the afternoon the guy from the Habitat For Humanity Restore Store showed up with his trailer to pick up our incredibly heavy dining room table and the couch Diane didn’t want any more. After those things went away, Diane strongly encouraged me to mow the yard. The grass was actually almost dry so I took the hint and fired up the lawn mower, pumped up the front tires, which always almost go flat in a couple of days, attached all the required parts for sucking up the cut grass, and got to work.

I went real slow, and only put the mower deck on 5 instead of 4, like normal. I’m not sure if those numbers relate to inches or not. For me, it’s just a ‘setting’ I use. Seems to be a good one, especially when the grass is dryer. I apparently went slow enough to keep the output tube from clogging up, because I didn’t have to stop one time. I just mowed merrily along, without a care in the world. Well, that’s not entirely true because I really do have cares. It’s just that I really like mowing the yard. Really odd, isn’t it?

When I was done I took the clippings down to the burn pile, around which I have a very nice arc of years worth of grass clippings. I’ve never turned it, ever. I just keep adding to it, and it just seems to sink into the ground. I’ve discovered that under all that grass is some really great dirt that Diane won’t use. She still insists on buying dirt at Wal*Mart for the things she puts in pots. I’ve given up on trying to convince her to use MY dirt. So, it’s just going to continue sinking into the ground, making more and more terrific dirt.

I drove around the back of the grass clipping arc, near our lower fence, and backed the mower up over a low spot. This makes it easier to dump the bags, of which I have three. When I empty them, I always rotate them so they all get equal time getting filled up. In a cavalier fashion, I flipped my seat up over the steering wheel, like I always do so the bagger lid will stay open, and walked around behind the mower. Then I dumped my bags.

On the third bag there appeared before me an angry herd of yellow jackets, the kind that live in the ground. I guess they discovered all that great dirt and decided to call it home and were just a little ticked when I dumped more grass on their entry. Blocking their doorway created a situation where those on the outside, who wanted back in, went into attack mode and started dive bombing me.

Bees have never bothered me much, especially when Diane is with me because they like her better. This time, however, I was the only target. The first indication I had that I was in peril was the critter stabbing the back of my right hand through my work glove. He was really digging in when I flicked him away with my left hand, so I thought I probably should vacate the area, which I did. But, the bees followed me all the way back to the house, which is about 150 feet from the burn pile. I thought they’d give up, but they didn’t, so I ran up the stairs to the kitchen door, opened it briefly to call for help.

Diane came right away, but she wouldn’t come out, and I don’t blame her. She’s very allergic to stings. Me? I’m impervious to them, I though. I just kept swatting them, and turning around so Diane could see if there were any bees still clinging to my clothes, which they weren’t because in a coordinated assault they targeted my uncovered neck where they stung me about 6-7 times. They also got my right arm 3-4 more times, in well-selected locations all the way up, and one of them got me on my right side, just below my armpit. I think one also gnawed through my jeans and got me on the toughest part of my knee. That one must have been a dare between two of he attackers, or perhaps some sort of initiation. 

Once Diane confirmed that she didn’t see any more bees clinging to me, and I didn’t see any buzzing about, I shed my clothes right there on the porch and rushed into the house. Diane was thankful that I had forgotten that today is Underwear Optional Day. It’s something I started when I was working at PGE, but it never seemed to catch on. You know, kinda like casual Friday, but different?

So, that’s what I’ve been recovering from for the past number of hours. The sore places where I got my shots yesterday, and the bee stings today just kinda made my day a whole lot more interesting. If I had thought quick enough, since they were already biting me, maybe I could have convinced one of those bees to give me some cute, pouty lips. Instead, my right hand is about twice the size of the left, but the fingers still work, and the remainder of my right arm is a mess. I can’t see my neck, but my nerve endings are, even right now, making it abundantly clear that I have been seriously assaulted. It hurts, but I didn’t cry. I just made the “Sucking SSS” sound for a bit, then decided to just tough it out. 

To help me, Diane cooked a really good steak, which we shared. I love steak.

After dinner we sat on our couch and watched some of the shows that recorded during our absence last week. Afterwards, Diane held my hand until it quit hurting. She’s good to me that way.

Now you know. Please don’t feel sorry for me, unless you really want to. I actually discovered those bees when I burned down the burn pile a couple of weeks ago. Then I forgot about them.

Silly me.

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