Yeah. Let that sink in a moment. It was about nine months ago, so the trauma has died down a bit and I can recall it with a benign sense of well being. Sort of. And most of my hair has grown back.
I've always been very militant about the belief that nature is best viewed through a pane of glass, but I shoved those feelings way, way, WAY down deep inside and joined some friends for a weekend spent in the woods. It really was a beautiful spot, trees, cool mountain air, and our friends did all the work; they cooked us wonderful meals, and planned the whole thing. And there was wine. So when I tell you about this, keep in mind that I love my friends, and I'm grateful to them for taking care of us.
My friend Elizabeth even brought a tablecloth to ease me not dining outdoors.
You'd think nothing bad could happen here, right?
BUT. (And like mine, this is a rather large butt.)
What it didn't say in the brochure is that the first horrifying thing you have to do involves using the facilities in the out of doors. I mean, there was a camping site, and a building, but that there was nothing in the literature about trekking down the woodland lined path with a flashlight to a even darker concrete bunker, frantically shining your light around to make sure there are no toilet snakes, or gigantic spiders or cranky llamas, to say nothing of your ridiculous husband that hid on the path on the way down there to scare you so that a little bit of what you were going down there to do in the first place leaked out. Thanks, Nolan.
So there's that.
Then there was the water rafting trip, on which I thought I did an admirable job, it being me and all. Our river guide was not originally from the South, but lived in Austin. When we asked him how he got to Texas, he told us a rather involved story about a man that hired him to retrieve his nephew from Austin to bring him back to wherever it was he lived (mob style), and when they got to the Hill Country, were invited to a party on Lake Travis, complete with alcohol, great music, and a bonfire. The best part, the guide told us, was the gaggle of topless girls dancing around the fire, bohemian style, so the guy stayed in Austin. He never went back home. Though he told us, with the saddest face ever, that he never had been to a party like that, since. Poor guy.
After the river rafting, the photographic evidence of which is lost, sadly, we made the kids wait in the parking lot and went in to a vineyard and drank some wine and ate snacks that were leftover from a large party. I didn't even feel bad about either.
Sleeping in a tent was... well, exactly how one might imagine. Uncomfortable. Cold. Being awakened by a woodpecker that decided it was his sole job to chop down the tree right beside our tent.
We got to talking about my general disdain for the outdoors, and I told them about the fact that at our first house, squirrels threw pecans at my head every time I went outside to work in the flower beds. It was like I whispered it out into the outdoor ethos, because the very next morning, there was this butthead mountain squirrel.
Know that I have a thing about woodland creatures. That somehow, I'm a target for their wrath. But what I didn't know is that evidently there's some kind of chat room, because these guys MUST talk.
I had taken over grilling sausage for breakfast one morning. It was a pretty morning; beautiful view, cool, crisp air, a fire in the pit, lovely smells from the cooking... all the things that I would have loved had I been inside, when I felt something hit my head from above.
A pine cone.
"Huh," I thought. "Nature really doesn't like me." And then turned back to the grill. And then it happened again. And again. And then I realized that it wasn't nature, it was a seriously pissed off mountain squirrel, who had been raining down pine cones at my head. And it wasn't just pine cones. It was pine cones COVERED IN SAP. So when he kicked them down on us, they got stuck in my HAIR.
IN MY HAIR, Y'ALL.
It wasn't like I had access to conditioner, or peanut butter, or my beloved hairdresser, Arviel, so I had to pull the pinecones, like six billion of them, out of my hair. Thank GOD I was wearing a hat. It took a good portion of the back of my hair, some of my scalp, and not a little bit of my dignity, all as I swear I could hear that little stinkpot up there LAUGHING at me. I walked around with a bald spot for the better part of a few months. Thankfully, I have a LOT of hair, so to the untrained eye, you really couldn't see it, but I knew it was there.
This may or may not be the culprit. It's hard to tell. Not to be racist, but they all look alike.
So, I now have PTSD (Post Traumatic Squirrel Disorder). Thanks, Woodland Creatures.
Luckily I could still smile for a departure picture. But trust me, I was screaming on the inside. The best news? They've planned another trip for September, I think. I'll be packing the Xanax, Dramamine, and praying that the squirrels don't get the message that I'll be coming back. I really don't want to give them time to prepare.