You’re in for a world of trouble in Houston if you let the sun rise and simmer before heading out for a run. I’ve known this for years, having run and trained in the sweltering months leading up to early fall marathons. Yes, FOUR solid months of near-death, oven-baking heat slathered with a coating of humidity. You’d think that I would have learned this by now. Nope.
These days, I refuse to wake before the sun peeks out, when the blanket of night has folded and tucked itself away, making way for the rising sun. A small price to pay for my required eight hours of sleep for my mind to be at it’s peak.
I get home after a sloppy three miles with clothes soaked, the threat of sunblock-infused sweat rolling precariously close to my eyes and my swollen feet screaming to be released.
My body wants to implode.
Sometimes we just never learn.
So I proceed to toss my kicks inside, peel off my socks and don my favorite flip flops, the ones marred with teeth marks, survivors from a last minute rescue in the jaws of my lovable pup.
Not MY flip flops, but I need some to serve as a reminder….
Already in a sweaty state, I decide to weed the flower beds. Not worried about the dirt dusted soon-to-be-mud strewn in between my toes after an hour of weeding. The shower will fix all that.
Apparently, I’ve already forgotten the previous heat running lesson, and being the glutton for punishment that I am, I tramp into the weed infested bed.
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT pull weeds in an overgrown flower bed in flip flops.
What is it with me? Why do I insist on doing it this way? Am I unconsciously challenging “them”? “Them” being the army brigade of fire ants that have been patiently waiting, strategically planning their semi-annual ambush of my toes. Basically ‘given’ to them this time, all their’s for the taking. Was I really thinking the outcome would be any different? What did I think I was going to accomplish? Pull the weeds and exit unnoticed and unscathed?
This battle ended a little differently than the defeat I endured a few months ago at the hands of the angry troops and their endless barrage of fierce biting. A few things are always the same: I always react as if I’m totally taken by surprise and…it does burn like hell and I never see them coming. Same way, every time. Yelling expletives and running like hell, well, more like, hopping, dancing wildly, slapping my heels in all directions.
But what was different this time was that both of my flip flops went airborne, being kicked off during my ‘fire-bastard-ant dance’, with the end result being that one of them landed over the fence, in the neighbor’s yard…
After I doctored my toes and the burning subsided, I pondered whether or not the retrieval of the flip flop was really worth it.
I wasn’t going to give the ants the satisfaction of a complete annihilation and victory so I quickly nix the idea. Plus, I feared the neighbors would know it was mine anyway…So, I decided to make the recovery mission.
I head next door. I knock, knowing they’re home. I tell them my fire ant saga, already knowing they have heard the few choice words that poured from my mouth, I sense their pity and they accompany me to fetch my flip flop…and as I walk away, I vow: no more, no more…but do I go out to Home Depot in search of the ultimate weapon of mass destruction?
No…maybe another day. The battle may have been won, but this war isn’t over yet.