The Way Things Are






Tiny little baby scorpion.
2006-07-06, 6:14 p.m.

Sunday afternoon, DW and I undertook a task in our backyard that I’ve been thinking about for at least 9 or 10 months, but haven’t actually gotten up off my ass to start. And that is, to start moving rocks.

Rocks? Yup. You dig down about two inches into our so-called soil, and you hit rock and/or rocks. Sometimes it is individual rocks - big rocks, little rocks, all kinds of rocks – and sometimes you suspect that it’s just one enormous rock.

Building the house, we had to dig quite a few trenches, running electrical and water from the well to the house, running gas and electrical from the house to the party pavilion, and then running another water line to the house once I decided that yes, definitely, I wanted a water softener system. The previous owners had (1) run the electrical by stringing wires through the trees and (2) run the water through some kind of black rubber tubing on ground level. Not acceptable, but that’s an insight into the quality of construction we encountered as we tore their shitty house down to make room to build a new one.

ANYWAY. Trenches dug with a bobcat. Rocks. Lots of rocks. Mounds of rocks and rubble, all piled up in very unattractive clumps in what is supposed to be our yard. I had always thought to myself “Laura, when the weather is JUST RIGHT, you are going to get out there, and start moving those rocks. You’re going to toss them along the perimeter of what is supposed to be your yard, and make them look like an ancient falling-down rock fence so common in these parts.”

That’s what I said to myself, but lo, the weather is never ever JUST RIGHT. Sometimes it takes a different kind of motivation to get a job done. That motivation came in the form of guilt; DW was out there piling up rocks along our perimeter, and I was sitting at the dining room table reading the paper.

When I realized what he was doing, I suited up (jeans, gloves, Bean Boots) and went out to help. Basically, this involved picking up rocks and either carrying them, rolling them, or tossing them to their new homes.

After about 20 minutes, I saw a tiny little baby scorpion. So cute. NOT. We kept working, and DW kept casually crushing scorpions – big scorpions, little scorpions, all kinds of scorpions – with whatever rock he had in his hands, and I became very suspicious.

“Babe, I thought scorpions lived under abandoned lumber, but these here rocks seem like they house an awful lot of scorpions,” I said, swatting at gnats frantically as I imagined scorpions crawling up my arms.

“Well,” he replied, “scorpions like to live UNDER things, and I think they really like living under rocks like this.”

“So,” I countered, “had you seen any scorpions out here before I came out to help?”

“Yes,” he answered, “but I figured if I didn’t tell you about them, you might not freak out right away, and I might get 20 or 30 minutes of work out of you.”

I’m proud to say I lasted a full hour before I suddenly remembered that I had potatoes to peel and laundry to fold. Here’s something to remember: do all your rock pile moving in the dead of winter when things like scorpions (and snakes) are either dead or very, very sluggish.

We called our project urban renewal for scorpions. We were demolishing their old home, and moving them into a higher-density high rise in a different neighborhood. We are basically ringing the perimeter of our yard with a thriving scorpion habitat. What the hell. All of South Texas is a thriving scorpion habitat, and now I know that scorpions like to just live UNDER shit: rocks, lumber…it’s all good.


Over the last few days, I’ve had some sore muscles from the rock moving. I tried to write “muskles” but my autocorrect faeries keep changing it to “muscles”. But I thwarted them right there – did you see it? All that thwarting? MUSKLES!

Oh, yeah, the sore muscles. My back, my ribcage, my right shoulder and arm…and my neck. My neck? Hmm, how did I do that? Must have been caused by all that scorpion-induced shuddering.

However, the little twinge in my neck kept getting a bit more bothersome rather than a little less bothersome over the course of several days, and this morning, I literally put my finger on it: my fucking thyroid HURTS. Now it hurts like it did the day of the biopsy. I can feel it just sitting here, it hurts to move my head around, it hurts to roll my eyes and look at the ceiling as I am wont to do. It hurts to talk and cough and sneeze.

And the more I think about it, the more I can feel it. I am hyper aware of my thyroid. Are you? Should you be? I can’t answer that. I called my doctor’s office, and they suggested warm compresses and Aleve. Yeah, whatever, I’ll just stroll down to the first aid kit in the kitchen and get me a warm compress…what? We don’t HAVE warm compresses? What is this, a place of biddens? I WANT COMPRESSION AND I WANT IT WARM NOW!

Actually, being told to warmly compress and Aleve my thyroid makes me feel better. If some kind of vengeful cancer, seeking to avenge the draining of the node-goo, had popped up, I don’t think the treatment would be warm compressing and Aleve-ing.

The whole thing just pisses me off. If my lymphs hadn’t got all swole up and hurty, and if I hadn’t gone to the doctor to have my neck and throat molested, my node and I could have just co-existed in blissful unaware peace. IF IF IF IF IF

I leave you with a question: have you ever just been sitting around and thought to yourself, “My thyroid kinda hurts.”?

Have ya? Huh?

(rolling eyes and looking at the ceiling in frustrated disgust) (if we had a corporate website with my picture on it, that’s the picture I’d put on there)

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