Thursday, April 1, 2010
I would think that husband would know this, as we've been married a long time, but somehow, he still doesn't seem to think about little things like head to toe rashes resulting in an angry wife. Fortunately, I have developed an eagle eye for spotting poison oak. I know what it looks like with leaves, and without. I know that it comes in many shades of red and green and many lovely combinations of the two. And I go to great lengths (which occasionally include shouting) to encourage those around me to avoid contact with the plant, lest they spread it's toxic oil to someone susceptible (like me.) Well, we brought our dogs on this little hike, and of course, I thought it would be wise to keep them on their leashes. Husband was somehow surprised at this notion, thinking it was too limiting to the freedom of the day try to control the dogs the whole time, and saying "It's not like you can keep them 100% poison oak free."
Well, that was true, since the evil plant reached it's arms across the trail trying to get me in several places. But, a little brush against poison oak is not the same as a full roll in or romp through it, which is exactly what they would have done off if they were off leash. So, I argued that I could at least keep them 95.9% poison oak free, which would drastically reduce my chances of getting it since we were riding home in my car, and I highly doubt he would be bathing the dogs anytime soon. Besides the poison oak, we did pass a few mountain bikers, and some jack rabbits, which my dogs undoubtedly would have chased causing further stress had I not listened to my inner wisdom, which said quite clearly "Of course you need to have the dogs on their leashes! DUUUHHH!"
It was a good chance for the kids to see in an up close and personal way, the variations in the same nasty plant. It actually is incredible that something that can look so lovely can have such sinister qualities.
Husband chose not to argue that I was spoiling the freedom of the day, and I chose to believe that he was not really plotting to cause me pain and suffering, but simply looked at the world in a different way, so he might not think of things like natural consequences, and horribly itchy rashes for other people. I packed up some good snacks, including dark chocolate and brie cheese, which certainly helps improve my outlook on any occasion. We came across a lovely lakeside spot where the humans enjoyed food, and the dogs enjoyed a leash free swim.
At one point, a little over midway through the hike, husband and boy child were traipsing through dubious looking brush staring at GPS coordinates rather than what they were walking in, while girl child and I were sitting on rocks eating dark chocolate, and I noticed this sign along the trail my husband had chosen for us. Ah, of course, we'll be taking the "Most Difficult" route. Was this another part of his plan to torture his wife? Why not a "Moderate", or how about "Easy" route? Nah, let's take the "Most Difficult" one. That'll be more fun! As if upon cue, it started to rain on us.
We looked up at the brush where the boys had just been, and couldn't see them. We yelled as loud as possibly that we would be ditching them at that point, and would meet them at the car.
By the time we got home, my feet were sore, my body was tired, and after seeing the ticks on the dog, I had the creepy crawly feeling that they were hiding on all of us too, just waiting to latch on with their foul, disease filled mouths. I was also pretty sure that the geocaching members of the party had managed to get in the poison oak, despite my warnings, and would unthinkingly rub it all over my entire house. I made everyone throw their clothes directly in the washing machine, and head right to the showers, while the dogs were banished to the porch.
Adventures in nature will always have their naturally unpleasant aspects, but I still think they are worth it. And adventures with my husband, well, rather than think he just finds adding grief to my life amusing, I am trying to go with the thought that he does mean well, and just doesn't take notice of the difficult details. (Even if they are clearly printed on a sign.)