I’m Still Not Regretting This Move

August 25, 2010

Bart and I talked a lot over the last year about where we might want to end up permanently.

Many cities, of course, came up for discussion, particularly those where our family members lived, but we kept returning to Austin. I’ve gone on at length about all the reasons I adore Texas, so I won’t bore you with them again, but you can imagine much of what we talked about as we hashed through every city on the map.

Every time we contemplated Texas, however, Bart would voice his major hesitation: the fire ants.

If you have not had the pleasure of acquainting yourself with a fire ant, you are missing little. They are small, but evil ants that live in the grass, bite you when you least expect it, and then the resulting bite itches like crazy for days (like. . .seven or eight days) before it finally goes away.

Each time, I’d brush off Bart’s concerns, telling him it wasn’t that big of a deal, certainly nothing to keep us from moving somewhere that was, in nearly every other way, an ideal location. Just keep your shoes on when you’re on the grass, etc.

Of course, after all my downplaying of the horrors of red ants over the last many months, it is poetic justice that, within a week of returning to Texas, I was bit by a mysterious red ant (I have no idea where or when this occurred).

And this ant bit me not once, but four times.

On my hand (and arm).

A place that is incredibly hard not to scratch accidentally because YOU ARE USING YOUR HAND ALL THE TIME what with the holding of books, the burping of babies, the cooking of food, and the using of computer mice.

Did I mention this is my right hand? And that I am right handed?

Oh the eating of humble pie, it chokes me.

(Also, it’s really difficult to take a non-blurry picture of your dominant hand when 1) your camera is too heavy for your weak little left arm to stabilize very well and 2) you can’t get your hand far enough away from the lens to get it to focus).

P.S. I know this picture is so horrific that some of you might suggest I might want to get a medical professional to look at it and make sure it’s not infected or that I won’t wake up some morning with my hand on the opposite side of the room from the rest of my body, but let me assure you that one of my friends from church is a nurse and I had her look at it on Sunday. She confirmed that I am not in danger of losing my hand (unless I chop it off to STOP THE ITCHING!).

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  • Reply Jess August 25, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Ouch! Those things sound CRUEL. And LOOK cruel. BAD ANTS.

  • Reply Melanie August 25, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Oh my gosh, those are some nasty bites!

  • Reply Bethany August 25, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Fire ants! I hate them! I once got bit by one on the lower lid of my eye. My whole eye swelled and itched for days.

  • Reply Mary August 25, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Yikes, those are some serious bites! Glad I never ran across fire ants when we lived in Austin. You could try some lavender oil or melaluca oil on them. The lavender will soothe the bites and stop the itching and the melaluca will help them heal. You can find them at health food stores, whole foods, etc.

  • Reply Hull.Margaret August 25, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Unfortunately Fire Ants do not just inhabit Texas…we have some of our own here in Fl.

  • Reply Kimberly F. August 25, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Oh man, I feel your pain. I had ONE fire ant bite me FOUR TIMES on my underarm when I last visited the pool. There are a whole host of complications in that particular area as opposed to just your leg or arm.

  • Reply Miri August 25, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    My poor husband, whom I dragged here from Utah where he grew up, is a fire ant magnet. I never get bitten by them, but he can barely walk outside without receiving four or five new bites–regardless of what shoes he's wearing. Fire ants are the devil, and I think it's wise to have them on the "con" list!

  • Reply Jeanelle August 25, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    I hate bugs that go places they shouldn't (like inside our homes and cars.) I got a horrible spider bite one year when I was in MO at a class and it happened while I slept. SICK!!! And by the way, your baby is beautiful.

  • Reply Kristi August 25, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Yes! I don't miss those : ) And be careful when Enna gets bigger…kids will just be innocently playing at the park and then screaming and by the time you get to them there are 15 or more bites all over their legs, sad indeed (though incidentally when they are really little they get bites all the time and never seem to notice, but once they see you scream from bites a time or two it will become very traumatic!). Thanks for writing a post that doesn't leave me weeping in jealousy ; )

  • Reply Hawke August 25, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    I hate itchy bites. I hope they get better soon. Mosquitos love to bite me in the most annoying places, so I can sympathise. Enna is a doll baby by the way. I love to see pictures of my little neice.

  • Reply Brianna Soloski August 25, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    I stepped in a pile (colony?) of fire ants in North Carolina. My foot was on fire for a few days after and I had bite marks for over a month.

  • Reply emandtrev August 25, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Austin is a great place, no doubt about it. I hate fire ants, though. I agree with you on both counts.

    Have I ever asked you if you like to eat at Hula Hut? I was actually craving that place not too long ago–too bad it's not so close to me anymore. 🙁

  • Reply Carrie August 26, 2010 at 2:22 am

    Argh, the dreaded fire ants. I've had my own brushes with those little beasties. Hang in there…..well, hang in there one-handed.

  • Reply The Liddells August 26, 2010 at 2:26 am

    Wow! Glad I haven't been attacked by any red ants while living here in Austin…yet. Now that I said that, though, it will probably happen tomorrow.

  • Reply Life of a Doctor's Wife August 26, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Oh no! What a horrible welcome to Texas!

    Hope they feel better soon!

  • Reply Liz August 26, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Not to give you nightmares or anything, but be sure that your baby's room is always free of anything smelling like food. I recommend that you spray for ants around your house. Ants sometimes crawl in the room and into the crib, and it's…not pretty.

  • Reply emmaco August 26, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    These horrible ants were accidentally introduced into my home state of Queensland, Australia, a few years back. But fingers crossed it looks as though they've got the infestations under control.

    I hope your hand heals soon! And now the universe has made it's point I'm sure you won't be bitten again.

    PS: I feel I should say hello – I have enjoying your blog for a while, though I can't remember how I found it. Thanks for all the excellent book reviews, and glimpses of life in the US!

  • Reply Hillary August 27, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Oh goodness I feel for you. We have them in Florida, too, and they are evil.

  • Reply Sarah August 30, 2010 at 4:03 am

    yes, hate them too and do not miss them a bit! So sorry you had to become reacquainted with them so soon!

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