Thursday, September 13, 2012

I Am Intrepid, Invincible, and Kind of Stupid...

No personal photo in this post, and here's why:

I've always considered myself to be intrepid, invincible, brave and daring. But if I were to add another "i" in there, it would have to be for Idiot, because I'm also obviously not IMMUNE to poison ivy.

Last Monday, in preparation for Dancing Rabbit's Annual Open House we had our all-play Land Clean. Everyone in the community comes out and works to create a more beautiful place for our guests to explore and appreciate.

The Clean generally runs from 8-noon, and in the afternoon everyone goes home and works on his/her own warren. Kurt and I tackled a bunch of barrels that needed to be moved. Since they were sitting in a bed of poison ivy, which had wrapped itself around a fairly big wild grape vine that I'd like to encourage, I began work on it. I was absolutely convinced that I would not get a rash - I've been hiking through poison oak in California my entire life and have never had even a little spot of irritation. I had absolutely no idea just how insidious (so many good "i" words!) the oils in poison ivy are...

It all felt like a lark. Kurt kept warning me about the danger of poison ivy, I kept insisting that I was immune. Wearing a tank top, capris and leather gloves, with Felco pruners in hand, I chopped and pulled and stuffed three large black trash bags full before Kurt said "you are making me really nervous - please go take a shower!" So I did. Peeled off all of my clothes, jumped into the shower and began soaping myself up with hot water and lots of soap. Kurt ran to the house to do some quick internet research. A few minutes later the shower door flew open and Kurt yelled "STOP! DON'T USE SOAP!". Whoops. Too late. It seems that hot water and soap combine with the ushiol oil, making a solution that is easily spread everywhere. The hot water opens one's pores, and bingo presto you're covered with a rash that makes leprosy look Cinderella's .

But back to my drama. After scrubbing the oils deeply into my skin with hot soapy water and a washcloth, Kurt said what we needed  was rubbing alcohol, but he couldn't find any. Soaking wet and dripping in the shower, I gave him a couple of places to look but still he found nothing. Finally he gave up on the rubbing alcohol and came back with a bottle of gin. I couldn't help laughing out loud as I slathered myself with Gordon's Gin, imagining the distress the sight of all that gin running down the drain would cause drinkers everywhere...

Unfortunately, it didn't work very well. My arms, body, and ankles are covered with an ugly, bubbly, incredibly itchy rash. I take 20 minute showers in scalding hot water, which gives me relief for a couple of hours.There's Benedryl, and Tecnu, and, of course, whining. I'm also working on making the rash disappear with the power of thought. So far, well, there isn't much progress on that front. But I'll keep working on it.