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TICKle Me Alex


“We live in the park!” is the brightly canned response I give my kids whenever they’re stuck staring at a mountain of gleaming green goose poo or shrieking about spiders daring to breathe in their direction (side note: do spiders practice aerobic respiration? I DO NOT KNOW).

I’m not exactly lying to them, unless you add in the two parking lots because I’m pretty sure parks don’t have parking lots, despite the interchangeable names; I’m just sort of… bending things. I mean, yes, the reason I flipped out during FLOODGATE 2013 was partially due to my proximity to the river (8-9 feet) and the proximity to the park behind The FBI Surveillance Van… *ahem* the FLOODED park mere feet from Your Aunt Becky’s front door.

*in high-pitched, I-just-got-kicked-in-the-balls-voice* But who’s counting? (answer: me)

While my idea of “roughing it” involves having to walk more than three feet to an ice machine and staying at a hotel that does NOT have twenty-four hour room service in which I can order my waffles and coffee brewed from beans the magical unicorns fart out (see also: hotel coffee = expensive), I don’t actually mind living in a park. Beats the SHIT out of saying, “I live in a van down by the river” along with something about “government cheese*” which would be a great name for a rock band, if’n you think about it.

Completely pointless sidebar: do you, o! wise Pranksters, think that any band starts out with the objective of being dumped into the “light rock” category to be played by orthodontists everywhere? THESE are the things that keep me up all night long *guitar solo*.

Alas, I digress.

While you won’t find me within ten miles of a campground for fear that a motley band of rogue campers will attack me and take me hostage AT aforementioned campground until I finally crack and tattoo I HEART CAMPING on my ass, I do enjoy nature. So long as it isn’t in my living room.

When I first moved into the FBI Surveillance Van, my upstairs neighbor warned me about the spiders that dare to weave webs SOMEHOW BREATHING in our vestibule and how he’d occasionally pull down the webs in such a tone that I knew the appropriate response was to shriek and possibly throw something out of panic. I didn’t. He was visibly disappointed.

What I didn’t bother explaining that, as a former waitress who once worked summers at an outdoor fancy gazebo, slinging Honey Brown and wearing dryer sheets to protect my allergic ass from bees, we were daily assigned tasks to complete before our shift. Several hours we spent at a whopping two bucks an hour getting our gazebo ready for business. One of these tasks was a duty we called “cobwebbing.”

The server stuck cobwebbing would bemoan her fate to the rest of us who were MORE than happy to be brewing iced tea and wiping down tables in preparation for the inevitable onslaught of people who wanted to get drunk and feed the carp bread for amusement.

Cobwebbing became a thing the night that my former friend Mikey decided to tell a woman who’d noted that there was an unsightly stain on her cheeseburger that it was “spider poo.” Whether or not spiders shit, I don’t know. The spiders could’ve been spitting on us, crying spider tears for their slain kin, or, as Mikey so tactfully pointed out, flinging poo on us. We can’t be sure.  All I know is that from then on, one of us had to grab an ancient broom with a handle so frayed it would leave us blistered and splintered, and begin to sweep the cobwebs from the top of the gazebo.

Not a terrible job.

That is, if you don’t know what happens when you remove a spider’s home.

(for the uninformed: they get pissed and fall all over you and crawl up your shit)

I quickly got over any fear of bugs after slinging beers and burgers for several summers there (mostly)(okay, earwigs are still fucking minions of Satan). This also would be why I didn’t give my cobwebbing neighbor a medal or something.

The only bug that has remained both mysterious and full of the awful was The Tick.

Not only is that motherfucker creepy looking, it also carries Lyme Disease which is one of those things you do NOT want to have. While the name is fairly innocuous – cute, even – the effects are not. I’ve known people who’ve died from Lyme Disease and that does NOT even include my fake dead cat Mr. Sprinkles. Earwigs, sure they’re creepy, and spider bites can get kinda gnarly, but The Fucking Tick of Doom? You do not want to piss off The Fucking Tick of Doom.

Early Sunday morning, my kids were climbing all over me, trying to get me to wrap them in bubble wrap and let them roll around in it, and because I am both lame and boring, I explained that we simply did not have ENOUGH bubble wrap to attempt such tomfoolery.

“Mooooom,” Alex said, exasperated by my acute onset boriningness, “Can’t you go to the store and pick some up?” While this was a good idea and a sure-fire way to have some fun, it was a quarter past Let Mommy Sleep Until The Sun Rises and I was in no mood to track down an industrial amount of bubble wrap.

“I need my coffee, Al.”

Mimi poked her head up and calmly informed me, “I drank all your coffee, Mama.”

I groaned. “Was it good, at least?” She nodded her head vehemently reminding me, once again, that one cannot drink coffee through osmosis.

I turned to Alex, sitting to my right attempting to hack my i(can’t)Phone when I saw it.

No, not the ear boogers I’m normally on the hunt to remove.

It was a fucking tick.

In my kid’s ear.

There was a fucking tick in my kid’s ear.

The one child who will kick the ass of anyone who dares speak ill of his Mama is terrified of bugs. And no, it can’t be some weird childhood fear: we’re talking Phobia Country.

I used my superior memory of completely pointless acronyms to access the one that serves me best: IPDE (Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute)(TEN AND TWO, GODDAMMIT, REBECCA! AND WHERE ARE YOUR FUCKING PANTS?) and not the one that has never served me well, ever: Turn Around, Don’t Drown.

I had to get the fucker out of his ear before he saw what, in fact, had been crawling around his poor ear canal and before the fucker decided to make Tick Babies in his ear or some shit. I did the only thing I COULD do in such a situation: I pinned him down, teased him about an ear boogie and pulled the still-squirming The Fucking Tick out of his ear canal while I dry-heaved into his hair. I levitated to the bathroom to kill The Fucking Tick of Doom, trying to recall what one must use to kill The Fucking Tick of Doom without alerting children that there was an actual problem.

Bleach! I can use BLEACH! That shit is AWESOME! I patted myself on the back for thinking so quickly on such little coffee. But try as I might, no amount of bleach killed The Fucking Tick of Doom and I didn’t want The Fucking Tick of Doom to make Fucking Tick of Doom Babies in my drain, so I dusted off the neurons that held the information I so needed.


I can use oil to kill The Fucking Tick of Doom.

I scampered into the kitchen, pleased to note that my children had not, in fact, noticed anything awry and were intently working on hacking into my electronics, and grabbed a Ziplock baggie. Back to the bathroom I dashed, bag in hand, ready to execute The Tick of Doom for DARING to crawl NEAR my child.

I picked up the still-squirming Tick of Fucking Doom, holding back the urge to heave, and dumped his bleach-covered ass into that baggie. Then, I grabbed some of that oil you’re supposed to put in your hair to make it shiny but usually makes it end up looking like you shellacked your head and squired that fucker down. Then, I closed the baggie, making sure The Fucking Tick of Doom was submerged in the oil.

It worked.

I had successfully slayed my first Fucking Tick of Doom.

*Not entirely sure if this is actual cheese or a pasteurized processed food-like product or something that Dick Cheney invented when he was hungry one day.

17 Comments to

“TICKle Me Alex”

  1. On May 20th, 2013 at 8:14 pm Aunt Becky (@mommywantsvodka) Says:

    @minntrav DONE!

  2. On May 20th, 2013 at 8:25 pm Grace Says:

    I literally got the chills reading that! I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate ticks!!! And in Alex’s EAR??? I may have to go throw up.

  3. On May 20th, 2013 at 9:13 pm Lisa Says:

    We were infested last year, ticks suck (pun intended). I have to say that the worst moment ever was when I was at the SuperCuts with my 8 y.o and the “stylist” calls me over and points out a tick……sucking my son’s blood out of his neck. “um, excuse me ma’am, what is this?

    I picked it off, threw it in the trash, and acted all nonchalant. She kept asking me, “what was it? what was it?” And I’m like, dude, it’s just a tick; he got it from our dogs. No big deal.

    Obviously, I never went back to that SuperCuts again.

  4. On May 20th, 2013 at 10:38 pm KaraB Says:

    My brother got Lyme Disease from a tick at Boy Scout camp. He’s 33 right now and has all kinds of joint problems. Ticks ain’t nothin to F with

  5. On May 21st, 2013 at 1:45 am Alexis Anne Says:

    if anyone has time or cares, prayers or positive thoughts for my aunt, who has cystic firbrosis and has developed pseudomonas aeruginosa pneumonia, would be appreciated.

  6. On May 21st, 2013 at 5:53 am Jolie Says:

    Rubbing Alcohol. Kills ’em fast. And thank you for confirming that yes, these things are NOT to be messed with and to remove IMMEDIATELY. Way to go Mom! love ya girl

  7. On May 21st, 2013 at 7:23 am Erin Margolin (@ErinMargolin) Says:

    TICKle Me Alex: “We live in the park!” is the brightly canned response I give my kids whe… via @MommyWantsVodka

  8. On May 21st, 2013 at 8:58 am Pete In Az Says:

    You were in the bathroom. Why not just wash it down the drain?

    Saves on baggies, bleach and oil.

  9. On May 21st, 2013 at 9:53 am chrisinphx Says:

    You can’t flush that monster until it’s totally dead or else it will come back up while your sitting on the toilet and get into your naughty bits.

  10. On May 21st, 2013 at 8:07 pm Marta Says:

    1. I hate earwigs.
    2. I hate ticks. And my best tick story was when I was home alone on maternity leave with my first born few weeks old baby and noticed that I had a tick ON MY ASS. I frantically called my husband crying/screaming but he refused to come home from work this “emergency.” I didn’t know anyone who lived close enough to me or whom I wanted to come in the middle of the work day and remove a tick from my ass so I did the only sensible thing.I took a shot of tequila and grabbed some tweezers and pulled him out.
    3. Then I flushed him. Am I not supposed to have flushed him?!

  11. On May 22nd, 2013 at 9:07 am Pete In Az Says:

    Did it end up back on your ass?

    If not, I think you are ok.

    That is…. unless you live in Phoenix. Apparently, the ones down there know how to scuba dive AND spelunk.

  12. On May 23rd, 2013 at 5:43 am Nicole Says:

    I used to go camping all the time as a kid, and my parents used to kill them by lighting them on fire. (Those things are fun to watch burn.)

  13. On May 30th, 2013 at 12:49 am Patty Says:

    I think I woke up my neighbors laughing at this post. Too bad for them! Keep up the great work!

  14. On June 4th, 2013 at 11:17 am marie Says:

    Can’t you just squish it?

  15. On June 7th, 2013 at 11:57 am Sarah Koszyk Says:

    Ticks are my worst fear! I had one stuck in my head in high school & the school nurse put a glob of vaseline in my hair, then tried to pull it out. She proceeded to pull out half of it! So I had to walk around school for the rest of the day with grease-globbed hair & go to the doctor after school to have her pull the rest out with a scalpel. Very traumatic. No ticks since, though!

  16. On June 8th, 2013 at 3:31 pm blu_canary Says:

    We have a camper set up in the dense woods of northern Michigan. Michigan has ticks. Other than that, I love Michigan. But last time we were there, after a day of romping with the dog in the woods, I somehow missed a tick during “Tick Check” before bed time. Woke to a screaming 8 year-old hysterical because there was a “spider grabbing onto [her] ear and he wouldn’t let go!” For the record, I find putting them in a baggy and whacking them repeatedly with a meat mallet is not only effective, but highly satisfying. Ticks, that is. Not 8 year-olds.

  17. On June 13th, 2013 at 12:54 pm Marian Allen Says:

    One of our kids used to hobnob under the porch with the dogs, and she was constantly emerging with her ears full of ticks. I hate ticks, but I love my kid, so that was an interesting approach/avoidance experiment.

    Back when I was a wee MomGoth, people used to light matches and stick the hot match heads on ticks WHILE THE TICKS WERE ATTACHED TO A PERSON’S BODY in the belief that the heat would a) kill the tick and b) cause the zombie corpse to release its grip. They always had to use tweezers to remove them (the ticks, not the kids) anyway, so I’m thinking that, no, it didn’t work.

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