“Oh, this is a dangerous place…”

So for the last couple weeks I’ve been hitting the pavement hard each day. Counting my steps and miles walked. During the day at work I’ll walk on two breaks, then after work I’ll put in three to four more miles. I’m locking in at least 7 to 8 miles a day with over 12,000 steps. These last couple days have been absolutely gorgeous, too. Big, blue skies and temps in the mid-70s. Perfect outdoor walking situation. I’d much rather walk outside than hit the Y and stand on a damn treadmill. Sure there’s more options in the gym, but I prefer my walkabouts amongst the trees, open skies, and around this time of year even the damn allergens.

Monday and Tuesday were pretty big days. Lots of steps and miles put in. Feeling good and strong, and getting closer to being ready for that hiking trip at the end of July. Monday after work I decided to take my shorts and shoes with me and go walking in town as opposed to walking in the neighborhood at home. I love the city walks. Something about the sidewalks, the neighborhoods, city parks, and various styles of homes you get to see along city streets makes the walk that much more interesting. I got a good hour and 15 minutes in, then met my oldest at the pet store in town as she wanted to buy a bigger aquarium tank for her fish Judas. We hit a couple spots before finding one that came with everything for a good price.

When I got home I noticed I got a decent sunburn on the back of my neck(redneck…pfft.) I put some lotion on it and went about the evening. The next day at work I decided to walk into the adjoining field as opposed to my typical parking lot jaunt. It’s nice, as we have a large grassy field next to our building that leads to a gravel drive. It separates a large woods and an embankment of tall grass and weeds. Beyond that is an industrial park. It’s a nice, quiet place to walk that feels as if you’re worlds from the hustle and bustle of work.

I think I did an almost 30 minute walk yesterday at work. The sun was pretty warm, and by the time I got back I had gotten pretty hot. I walked into the bathroom and noticed my neck was now lobster-like. Yeah, I’m an idiot. I should have brought sunscreen with me to work but like a moron I didn’t, so now I was hot and sunburnt. I sat down and started doing some work. About an hour later I felt something on my head and thought it was a fly and swatted it. I brought my hand down and saw a tick sitting in my hand. I immediately grabbed a tissue and scooped the bloodsucker up and mashed it into a ball. In order to make sure it didn’t escape I put the tissue into a sandwich baggie I’d brought Triscuits in and sealed that bastard’s fate. Holy crap. Damn thing must’ve hopped a ride from when I was out in the field. Maybe I won’t go out there anymore.

After work I changed and headed to my usual parking spot for my afternoon walk in town, not thinking about the sunburn that was radiating on the back of my neck. I met my wife and we did a shorter version of my walk as she wasn’t really dressed for a long walk(good thing, with the 1st degree burn creeping up to 2nd degree on my neck.) I stopped at the store to grab a few things then headed home. Got home and started putting dinner together. Once I was done I told my wife I was going to take a quick shower.

As I cleaned up the water hit my neck and I winced. Oh man, that sunshine did a number on me. I was sore and that water reminded me of it every time it hit my skin. As I washed up I felt something on the back of my leg. It was another tick! Hadn’t attached thankfully. I flicked the damn thing to the floor of the tub and it went down the drain. I quickly finished, got out of the shower, then headed for my gym bag where the pants I wore to work were still residing. I took them to the back porch and began going through them. Each fold, every crease, and I pulled them inside out. That’s when I found yet another tick, hiding under the pocket that lay hanging like a dead limb. “Jesus!” I said to myself. I tried snagging the bastard with a paper towel but it wouldn’t come off. I must have flicked it as it seemed to have flown off the pants. I started looking frantically on the porch and ground but I couldn’t find it. After about a minute I started checking the pants again and found it under the pocket again. I got it off the pants and tried crushing it. Ticks are hard to crush, let me tell you. I took it inside, put it in a baggie and proceeded to smash it with the bottom of a utility knife in the drawer. “Die!” I said out loud, my wife looking at me like I was insane. “That’s three ticks I found on myself today!” I said to her. “I’m never walking in that fucking field ever again!”

Once I calmed down we sat and ate, Netflixing and chilling. Dinner was great, the show was entertaining, and I finally felt as if the Tick invasion of ’23 was over. That’s when I felt something on my arm. I swatted and found another damn tick! There must have been two in my damn pants, and the one that seemed to have disappeared ended up on me! My wife did a “tick check” on me, and I went into the bathroom to do a more thorough exam. Nothing. I was clean of any damn bloodsuckers. But the rest of the night I felt as if there were bugs crawling all over me. It didn’t help that my throat was itchy as hell and my sinuses were plugged up because of the allergens I’d consumed during the day’s walks.

I’m not stopping with the walking. I feel pretty damn good, despite finding 4 freaking ticks – three on my person – yesterday. But if you’re heading outside to get your steps and miles in, I highly recommend sticking with paved trails. Or better yet, do some sidewalk hiking in the city. If you must hit dirt trails and dense, wooded spots then douse yourself in some Deet(OFF! Deep Woods has 25% Deet in it) before heading into the forest. It seems ticks are thick this year(are they every year?) I saw more ticks yesterday than I have in the last 20 years, so I’m going to say they are. Lyme Disease is nothing to mess with, at least that’s what I hear.

Be safe out there. It’s a dangerous place. Oh, it’s a dangerous place.

4 thoughts on ““Oh, this is a dangerous place…”

  1. Great stuff getting those steps in J…12,000 is impressive. My cardio case worker told me as or right now to get 7,000 in a day so I’m basically at that or around 10,000 steps tops. This is a bit of journey back so I don’t want to push it and neither does anyone else I know. The great thing is having Apple Music as I put the buds in and go…
    I enjoy reading these posts…keep em coming!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks man, and so glad to hear you’re on that health journey yourself. Good to take your time and slowly work it up. Over the years when I’ve pushed myself I usually end up pulling something and then have to stop entirely for a bit. There’s some truth to slow and steady wins the race. At nearly 50 I’m good with slow and steady. Plus, my back issues are a hell of a lot better. Extremely pleased about that. And I’ll definitely work on more of these posts. It does the head and heart good.

      Liked by 1 person

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