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On the Other Hand — The plagues of Michigan PDF Print
Sunday, September 08, 2013 12:00 AM

I know you guys are going to think I’m a big whiner. The last two times I have gone to Michigan, bugs were involved.

We spent Labor Day weekend by the lake and no, it wasn’t fishflies — it was sand fleas.

I know, I know; I shouldn’t be such a baby but I was the only one they bit. I’m serious. I had like a hundred (perhaps a light exaggeration) bites from my knees down and no one else had a single nibble.

I even doused myself with insect repellent and they were still biting me. I put socks on. The little buggers just chewed a ring around my ankles above the socks.

The bites just look like little red dots until you get the skin’s reaction to the sand flea slobber. Yes, I said slobber.

Sunday morning the itching started. I’m not sure how many of you have had poison ivy but the sensation is similar. No matter how much you scratch, you still itch. Itch — scratch. Itch — scratch. It becomes maddening ­— all-consuming.

I can remember a summer from long ago when Kristen Macwhinney Ulm and I were at our cottage with our parents. We took the John boat to the beach a lake over and sunned ourselves and swam and had a wonderful afternoon.

We made our way back to the cottage and had supper and when we were settling in for bed, the itching started. You know, the slobber thing.

Kristen, who is a bit taller than I, had, and this is no exaggeration, more than 100 bites on her legs; we counted them and gave up at more than 100. (We had lain in the sand for hours that afternoon and the sand fleas had a feast!)

I had quite a few, too, but she got it much worse.

Guess where this said cottage was. Give up? Michigan!

This past weekend I put up with the itch and went about celebrating.

On Monday, I was pretty much over the whole thing and ready to set my legs on fire. I showed them to Jill and she pretended to be concerned but I saw the humor in her eyes.

She quickly set about leafing through a file she keeps with helpful hints such as what to put on insect bites. She found one that recommended Crest tooth paste. It didn’t just say tooth paste, it was very specific.

Jill dug around and came up with several travel tubes of the stuff and I quickly slathered up. In no time, the itch was gone. It was replaced with a pleasant tingling and minty freshness. Why had I not said something Sunday?

When we got home Monday I quickly went to the drug store and bought some cortisone cream. Ice packs worked nicely, as well. Monday night after work, I iced the tops of my feet and they haven’t itched since. The rest took a little longer.

I guess the moral of the story is: Michigan bugs have it out for me.

Last Updated on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 2:12 PM
 

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