My Wife Likes it Hot
The sky was blue and the humidity was low. If there is such a thing as a good day to clean out your van, this probably fit the bill. And it's why we were outside doing several things that involved far more trash bags than cameras and 3D software. And it was the day I found out just how far my wife will go to keep things hot.
Don't worry, this is a kid-friendly story. My youngest can attest to this; he was as much a victim in this story as I was.
I was duteously finding old candy wrappers, receipts and stink bug carcasses from under the driver seat and door panel, standing just outside the vehicle to enjoy the perfect mixture of great weather and unsavoury chore. Hayden was doing his best to mock me with joyful glee, bouncing around inside the van, making all the cool sounds little boys make when projecting bad-ass adventure overlays over the background of the surrounding world we adults see. Secretly, I wanted to ask him if he had any openings on his raid, but every time I opened my mouth to ask, my eyes involuntarily jumped over to my wife to see if she was watching. Dammit, she wasn't watching but I could tell she had on the extra female sense that is overly sensitive to detecting any kind of male fun.
It was in one of those scouting moments where my mind was so focused on reading my wife's demeanour that I caught a glimpse of something out of the ordinary. I stepped back and looked up into the heavens. I'd like to think I was as cool about it as Will Smith was when he first saw the giant flying saucer over some California city in Independence Day. But I suspect that I simply furled an eyebrow as a single yellow jacket hovered up in a strange arc that I quickly calculated ended in my face. That wasp went all Kamikaze on my ass. Well, actually, on my head.
I love insects. But honestly, I was pretty pissed off at this thing. It dive bombed and stung me several times in procession on my head. I had recently had a week long double-sized foot from a honey bee sting, so a brief panic hit me as I considered the horror of being transformed into Sloth from the Goonies, but I remembered that bee and wasp stings are different. I didn't have long to think about this because Hayden started to dance with a grace and skill only possible with the proper dose of genes that trace back to western North Dakota. His yelling reminded me to yell, too.
Jenny (my wife if you didn't catch that) is the quintessential wife. Two minutes prior I could tell she could sense every possible micron of action her man and boy would make--even pre-sense our actions by reading our thoughts and intentions. But add one little wasp, and it was like she was in a tornado and blind-folded.
Actually, there were more wasps now. In a few moments, the sentries that attacked Hayden and me turned into a garrison of highly agitated, highly motivated, pissed off yellow jackets. By the time we were all in the house, the van reminded me more of an atomic nucleus perfectly capable of proving that electrons have a mind of their own than a machine I use and own. In fact, legal ownership of this van was meaningless right now.
The yellow jackets occasionally flew up to the sliding glass door and reminded us that the territory outside was taken. And then I realized just how bad-ass yellow jackets are. They are so confident in their toughness, they wear yellow just to taunt you. It's like football players wearing pink ribbons and sumo wrestlers wearing... well...
Eventually I had myself covered like a desert Bedouin with layers of flannel and armed with a scimitar of Raid. And like great warriors of old, I did all I could to protect my family (and show off to my wife) by slaying hundreds of monsters in a single day. I would have made Metallica proud as I bravely killed them all. I found the nest too.
So the nest. It's where the wasps live. And it's what they were swarming to protect. Unfortunately for them, I had a family to protect. And I killed them all too.
But that nest. It was under some landscaping. On the opposite side of the van from where I was cleaning. Where my wife was standing. Jenny had agitated the nest! This was perfect. Now her guilt was my fast-track to some sympathy for the burning sensation on my head.
After all the wasps were gasping in agony or dead (sorry PETA, I love animals, but I'm also not insane), I came into the house and gave a very manly sigh of accomplishment. It was the sound men have been making for thousands of years when they return from battle or bring home a tasty carcass. And there was a little extra glimmer of appreciation in Jenny's eyes. My jaw was a little more square in that moment.
But Hayden was whining and my head was throbbing. So I reminded Jenny that her two boys were wounded. She ran into the bathroom and returned with something to make it all better. She quickly slapped some ointment on my head.
There was that tickle down my head and spine that you always get when someone touches you medicinally. It reminded me of being a student getting checked for lice back when I had hair. That tickle.
Wait a minute, this doesn't feel right. The tickle was replaced with another sensation.
"Oh man," I said. "This really burns." I put my hand to my now-slimy skull and heat emanated painfully.
"Oh quit being a baby," said my wife.
"Man, this really does burn."
That look of appreciation had been lost to annoyance, and she slapped some ointment onto Hayden.
"Ouch, Mama, this burns."
Immediately, Jenny pulled the tube up to her face.
"Oops," is all she said and immediately started wiping Hayden's belly off with a rag and then my head.
Oops meant that what she had intended to be Benadryl was actually Icy Hot.
Generally speaking I like it when my wife keeps things hot. This just wasn't one of those times.