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"Over The Wall" - Another Misadventure


by Terry Sovil

We used to have jungle on two sides but now it's mostly jungle in the rear. I convinced myself that all this growth right up to and over the wall contributed to unwanted visitors such as scorpions, feral cats and raccoons. I worry about everything so it's pretty easy for me to indentify a problem.

Wasp StingUnfortunately, brought up in Northern Minnesota, I was never introduced to the concept of hiring someone. So I'm a DIY (Do It Yourself) type. In Minnesota if you get stuck in the snow and break an axle you simply get your chainsaw out of the trunk, cut down a tree, replace the axle and continue on. Sure we carried a chainsaw, a big shovel, kitty litter, candles, candy bars, jumper cables, a pan to melt snow for water, a tow chain and a pencil because the ink in a pen will freeze. You just keep going, you don't call anyone!

More than intimidated my courage faltered after finding two large snake skins in the yard. Maybe I could hire someone, you know, just to provide moral support? Ricardo manicures our palm trees and he wouldn't go back there. Instead he stood like a ninja atop the wall and with two machetes whirling while I went in on the ground.

Dressed in a t-shirt, long pants, black dot gloves and heavy boots I waded in, chainsaw screaming and trees and branches falling everywhere. A sharp pain. The attacker flew off. Wasp! Not just any wasp, one of those huge big grande reddish-black wasps called "drunken wasps". These man killers are easily 1.5-2 inches long. For metric people that's pretty close to 1 meter. If you are non-metric, but fish, that's close to two feet. It seems like it under attack. It stung me at the base of my right thumb.

Dizzy, the affect of a sting by a "drunken wasp", feeling intoxicated the pain passed. All was fine until the third day when my right hand looked like it was a boxing glove. The doctor gave me a prescription and advised it wouldn't have gone away on its own.

Over the WallSix months pass and my courage returns and so does the brush. Three parts fool and one part brave I had to go "over the wall" again! Alone this time. I sharpened the chain on the saw. I sharpened the machetes and cut my finger wide open on one of the blades. Blood is everywhere, but like Jesse "the Body" Ventura "I ain't got time to bleed". A sane person may have given up but armed with two machetes, heavy boots, t-shirt, heavy sweatshirt with zipper and hood with drawstrings, heavy boots, leather gloves tucked under the sleeves and a new weapon I went in.

Swinging to take down some old branches I suddenly noticed wasps everywhere. My heart was pounding. The hood wasn't completed closed. STING! The left cheek takes a hit. I grab my long distance wasp spray, take aim and push the button shooting a stream of spray 20 feet right into the nests. It's hard to handle with the leather gloves on. The wasps fall. I set the can down and start working again. More wasps! I see 15-20 of them coming in for a strafing run. I push the button and take them out in a clump. I shake the can and realize my ammo is almost gone. Then I spot two more nests! Carefully I circle and get into a good position. SPRAY! With the remaining contents of the can I take out the nests. STING! I'm hit in my right bicep through the heavy sweatshirt and my t-shirt. I don't give up. I trip with my foot caught in a stump and twist my leg almost falling chest first onto a thin, sharp tree trunk. Now my knee is out. A swing and a miss! Fortunately it's the flat part of the blade that hits my leg. I retreat a short distance to let them contemplate their fate.

Left over pills from my first encounter let me self-medicate my two stings. My knee hurts and I'm limping. But I still had time to get to the bank since my debit card stopped working. Somehow I entered the PIN wrong and now it's locked. Again.

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