It began and ended the same way - plucking tiny brown dog ticks off the floor beside my bed with bits of toilet paper and dropping them into the commode. There's a war going on inside our little house. The invaders are about the size of a sesame seed and rode in on a Trojan horse - our beloved pooch Wiley. This perfect day was the height of the war ...
Sydney's mid-day nap is MY time. Recently, I set down the novel I was reading and laid on the floor. The tile is cooler than the chair and yes folks, it is hot here so a little respite on a cool floor is not unusual. I watched the fan for a few moments, thinking about how much I hate wind but love our super powerful fans. I turned my head, looking under the chair and there he was, the first tick. Creeping toward me, ass higher than head, brown body blending effortlessly with the grout, he seemed determined to get me. Was he laughing? Maybe. Did I recognize him as a harbinger of the war ahead? Absolutely not. Did I kill him and hundreds of his brethren soon there after? Fucking right I did.
Little black spots on the floor and walls are all suspect and sadly, for a few days, they were mostly ticks. Frustrations mounted. Home guard (child safe!) pesticide purchased and administered. RAID ran out and was replenished. Ticks were and are flushed down the toilet. They can crawl out of the bowl. They can survive in the trash can. They can multiply if merely flicked. They do not smoosh easily.
On the perfect day, Sydney and I were stacking blocks in a seemingly tick-free zone when Wiley appeared, looking for some loving. Syd coo'd "Oh Wiley" and I instinctively reached my arm around my mutt, hugging her to me as I have since I rescued her eight years ago. As I went in for our customary nuzzle I spotted four ticks, fat from feeding, lurking in her ear.
Blocks were abandoned. I packed Sydney onto the bike and we rode to the vet where I picked up tick shampoo. Meanwhile, Phil was beginning the assault with the vacuum cleaner. My parents took the babe in for the day and wished me luck. We needed it. Phil and I spent the better part of the day picking ticks - one by one, off of the dog. I'd drop them into a bowl of water. I'd flush the bowl when it seemed as though too many were trying to climb up the side to freedom. Maybe 50-75 ticks would be in a ready-to-flush bowl. I flushed at least five. Wiley knocked over two. That's easily more than 300 ticks.
Exhausted and hot, we headed to the beach after we could no longer locate ticks on the dog. We each drank a mango margarita and then split a third. We ate chips and salsa and designed our perfect next home. We talked about pets of the future. We enjoyed the salty, cool sea air. I went to Mom & Dad's to play in the pool with the baby, Phil went to write. We reconvened at our friend's house. Townies strolled, biked and drove by. Syd promendaded down the sidewalk naked pushing an empty doll baby stroller, tickled pink cause she saw a horse. The afternoon wore on into evening.
Dinner was in the crockpot at home. Phil cooked up some rice while Sydney and I took a bath. The dog was in the backyard, embarrassed and skittish and doomed to spent the night outside. Only her second in our lives together. The baby went to bed without a fuss. Dinner was delicious. We settled into our chairs and scrolled through Netflix determined to find something funny.
I noticed a few ticks on the floor beside my bed and sent them to their watery grave. I sprayed the pesticide again in that area, figuring a double dose would do more good than harm. I climbed into bed, cuddled my cold water bottle (don't scoff - it works wonders in this heat) and kissed my husband goodnight.
I know tick genocide does not consitute an ideal day for most people but I'm sticking to my perfect claim. It's easy to get caught up in the should's and have-to's that steal days away. We had no plans that we had to shuffle or cancel to deal with our minor emergency. We had no arguments over what needed to be done. We laughed. We worked together with (sometimes) silent determination to take care of the little dog we love very much. We shared the day with family and friends. Yes, we are fighting infestation but I think we are winning.