A lawyer, a homeless girl, a termite, and your mom walk into a bar…

I realized this weekend that I am quickly getting obsessed with planning my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Everything that happens reminds me of something trail related that I’d like to research. It’s like six degrees of the AT up in my brain.

My husband’s law school graduation was on Saturday. Magna. Cum. Laude. My boy’s wicked smart! What does that have to do with me hiking the AT, you ask? His mad lawyering skills will be funding this wacky expedition of mine. He is what will allow me to spend more than I should on gear I’ll probably just end up shipping back home after my “shakedown” at Mountain Crossings. He is what will allow me to take 6 months off work and still have a home to come home to. I cannot express how proud I am of him. It’s not just the money, either. This man of mine is willing to essentially become a single father for six months. No questions asked. He is the most supportive person I know and I will never be able to repay him for everything he does for me.

Speaking of things he does for me, he made me an awesome breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day. My son made me a card and dinner for everyone. I didn’t lift a finger. I spent all day snuggling with cats and eating cherry sours while browsing the internet. It was perfect. It also made me think of what my 2015 Mother’s Day will be like. No snuggling cats. No doting family. No cats, foods, or computers delivered directly to my lap! Then I had to remind myself that I cannot miss things and people that are right in front of me. If I keep thinking this way, I’ll never make it. I will talk myself into quitting something I haven’t even begun. Future me needs to calm down.

Another thing that got me questioning my mental preparedness for a long distance hike this weekend happened while I was in the middle of making a second version of an alcohol stove. I made one the other night that didn’t do so well. The second one seemed to do just fine, though. I will post pictures of them tomorrow. I already have options for camp stoves. I’ve got a Jetboil Flash and an MSR Pocket Rocket. I haven’t decided what I want to use for the AT, though. Honestly, making an alcohol stove just looked like a lot of fun even if I don’t end up using it. Alcohol stoves make me think that maybe I wouldn’t die if I was homeless.

Anyway, when I turned on the light in the study, I noticed several bugs crawling on the wall. I knew what they were right away.

Jerk.

Jerk.

We had the same thing happen in this apartment last year around this same time. Guess they didn’t take care of the problem the first time. Thankfully, they aren’t the ones with wings but they are still awful. Imagine this little guy here … with 100 of his buddies … slowly crawling up from the space between the wall and the carpet … for hours. Now, I’m no girly girl when it comes to creepy crawlies. I have five brothers. On the other hand, I have an extreme soft spot for every kind of animal I can think of. I have just enough fingers to count the amount of times I’ve eaten meat in the last five years. I once collected a histology stock jar full of crawfish out of a body bag so I could release them back into the wild. I love animals … BUT … termites … termites give me the freakin’ heebie jeebies.

They just don’t stop coming. Seriously.

I developed a philosophy, if you can call it that, somewhere in my childhood years; If it’s outside, I’m in its house and I have no rights. I leave things be whenever I can. However, if it’s in my house, it gets caught and put back outside with the exception of the occasional act of self defense and momma bear knee jerk reactions. Spiders think my son is delicious. We spent a large amount of time squishing and I spent a large amount of time later not sleeping.

Even the cats helped. Although, they did demand a one hour break every fifteen minutes.

I eased my husbands fears of “crushing a thousand tiny souls” by spouting some information I read off the internet about the swarm dying off in an hour if they can’t find soil. I don’t know if it’s true, but it seemed to make him feel better to know that they were going to die anyway. We joked about me calling him from the trail because there was a bug in my tent and having him rappel from a helicopter, kill the bug, and go back home. All joking aside, I know this is something that I will have to get used to.

I’ve already started my bug freak out resistance training. I had my first experience with a tick a couple months ago.

Yeah, that's my leg. I'll wait while you're vomiting...

Yeah, that’s my leg. I’ll wait while you’re vomiting…

We had just come back from a day hike in the Big Thicket and I took my pants off to take a shower. I can’t see without my glasses and I saw the tick on my leg and tried to brush it off thinking that it was just some dirt or a leaf or anything other than a tick. When it didn’t come off I knew something was wrong. Thanks to my good friend, the internet, my husband pulled it out with some tweezers and I’m Lyme disease free. Smothering, asphyxiating, burning, etc can cause them to empty their stomach contents into you. Other than sounding absolutely disgusting, this means their diseases get a one way vomit ticket into your yummy flesh. No, thanks. You know what the worst part really was? Knowing that it was on me the entire hour drive home. Blehasdlfkasjd fasdlfkj!!!!!

I have no doubt that I will be okay with insects. My question is will I be okay with insects for 6 months without being driven insane? Will my tent become my new home and will my childhood bug philosophy transform? Will parts of the trail be too cold for bugs? What are some ways I can mentally prepare myself to not let this get to me?

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