The dog has been avoiding me today.
Last night he was extra cuddly. He army crawled up the bed, then rolled on his side with his back to me. I threw an arm over him for a while, obliging the request for snuggles. That's probably how it happened.
I woke up this morning thirty minutes before my weekday alarm would go off needing to pee. While I was sitting on the toilet, I scratched an itch on my arm and felt a tick.
I saw a dot on it.
"LONE STAR TICK. LONE STAR TICK ON MY ARM," I yelled from the toilet.
Stephen got up quickly, grabbed the good tweezers I always complain about him moving, and pulled it. He is like that. When we were removing all the concrete in our backyard, back in September 2017, all the vibration from our consumer-grade jackhammer apparently caused a snake to hide out in our house. I still can't figure out how it got in. Dad found it on a trip inside to use the weird bathroom. Instead of saying, THERE'S A SNAKE IN YOUR HOUSE, he asked where we kept the grabber/reacher tool he'd seen in the den. Stephen went to find it and Dad then explained why.
Stephen grabbed the snake with the tool. Then he flung it.
I will remember as long as I have my mind that moment, standing there under that shitty carport, locking eyes with my dad while that snake sailed through the air. I think I experienced the closest thing to telepathy there is in this world. Because I was thinking, and I knew my dad was thinking the same thing: Stephen just threw the snake into the rock pile we have to put in the dumpster.
It ended up being fine.
Anyway, since I was on the toilet Stephen flushed the tick down the sink drain, and that was also fine because Lone Star ticks don't need to be saved for testing because they don't carry Lyme. They can just make you allergic to all mammal products for the rest of your life.
The internet claims this is rare but two spouses of coworkers at my last job developed an alpha gal allergy, so it's not rare enough for my liking.
I had intended to go back to bed. I pointed at the dog, who was smiling nervously, and said, "Stop bringing friends inside." But then I just sat there, uneasy. So we got up. Indy's kept a respectful distance for the rest of the day.
Can we talk about the enshittification of the internet? I spent the thirty minutes to an hour before the kid woke up attempting to see Dr Google, trying to use my usual workaround of the degraded quality of search (that is, appending " reddit" when I want anecdata), but I kept running into subreddits taken private out of protest of Reddit policies. I complained about this in a Slack and someone reported having an experience with a Lone Star tick and nothing happening afterward.
So maybe it'll be fine. If it's not, my cholesterol numbers should be amazing. In the meantime, next month I may start avoiding red meat and dairy after lunchtime to avoid having an overnight reaction — as apparently an alpha gal allergy takes weeks to show up and a reaction is on a three-to-six-hour delay.
We filled the rest of the morning with watercolor painting at the kitchen table and watching a storm out the big window in our living room.
Earlier this week, while looking up what Betsy had written about "frith," I saw her recommending Creating Country Music: Fabricating Authenticity. Just the day before, Leah Reich wrote about it, so I took that as a sign and reserved it from the library. This afternoon we spent what felt like more than an hour but was probably thirty minutes at most at the downtown library, my child running around, interrupting other kids' quiet activities, and imploring us to "take your seats" while she peered out from the Kidman/Urban Puppet Stage.
We then went out to the southern suburbs so I could look at waterproof flooring and still have no idea what I want for the impending den remodel. Our child insisted on being carried by Stephen so she could nap. The store was next to a Barnes and Noble — in fact, the exact bookstore of my childhood - so once she was awake we walked around for a while.
Speaking of enshittification: instead of rows of books, they now have "book rooms" for genres, and what that really does is disguise how few books they are selling. (Except for religious books. They are selling many more of those than I remember.) More floor space was allocated for manga, children's toys, and a wide assortment of planners than actual books. I walked through the magazine section — it used to be my favorite part — and felt hollow. How will we discover things as bookstores thin out and social networks implode and recommendation engines suggest the same few things? I managed to walk out empty handed, although I am still thinking about getting an analog book journal, because Goodreads sucks and I still haven't had time to home-roll an Eleventy-compatible book logging system.