Day 535: Shanked in the Neck
Well I didn't get the email fully written out and sent to my producer friend yesterday, but I did manage to make headway on it.
The day took a bit of an unexpected detour in the afternoon, as day's often do, when I decided to walk down to the water and work on the email down there. I think I mentioned that it was a veritable rain storm up here on the mountain yesterday but when I finished writing the blog the rain had stopped enough that if I put myself in my rain gear I'd be fine going for a bit of a hike down to the water, so that's what I did, despite the number of times Jeannette called me an idiot while I was getting ready.
When I got down there the tide was headed out and everything looked like it had taken a good, thorough pounding by what would have been some pretty significant swells. I went into my little cave and checked out my dinosaur backbone, that everyone else thinks is just a piece of bedrock (doubters!!) and no more work had been done on excavating it. The ocean is doing it's best of course, throwing massive rocks at the back wall of the cave every six hours or so when the tide comes in, filling up the cave with incoming water and projectiles, giving it a good thrashing multiple times a day.
I decided to go for a little walk down the beach to the next vault over, about a ten minute walk from where our stairs lead down to the beach. There's a picnic table there, and a fire pit, for any locals who want to head down to the beach and have a bit of a party, or barbecue or whatever else they want to do. The weather by this time was starting to clear up and I began getting pretty hot in all my rain gear. Still, watching the fog roll out over the ocean as the skies cleared up and the sun started beating down on everything was a good distraction. I even tried doing a little meditating and was ... moderately successful.
It's tough to meditate in rubber boots. There's a reason all the guru's only wear loin cloths I think.
After a while I heard a truck door slam behind me. I looked over and saw that an older couple and young boy had arrived. The woman and boy started going down on the beach looking at rocks while the man and I shouted pleasantries from a distance. Turns out they were going to take their grandson fishing on Aylesford lake but the weather kept them from getting out in the boat. They figured a drive was the next best option and ended up with me on the beach.
I saw a few seals out in the water and went down to try to get a picture. By this time the ocean was about 300 yards away from the shore so it was a bit of a hike. I had to cross a bit of a rapid, as ocean water thrown up on land was rushing back into the ocean, creating a temporary, fast flowing stream that wasn't very easy to cross at that point. I actually had to find a place where I could put a boot down without it getting filled with water, and could actually steady myself against the current. I managed to get across without much fuss, a crossing that turned out to be much easier than getting an actual picture of a seal.
Oh they'd pop their heads out and stare at me, from a distance of about fifty feet away, but every time I reached down to grab my phone they would disappear by the time I looked up again. It was like trying to get hands on a leprechaun. I had pretty much given up on getting a good shot of them when I suddenly felt someone stab an envelope opener into the back of my neck. I was assaulted by a brutal, stabbing pain in my neck.
I reached back and slapped at whatever had actually penetrated me, and felt something furry all off my neck into the rocks. The picture at the top is the culprit that stung me.
Now, I've been stung ( I think ) a couple of times in my life. Once golfing about five years ago, and the other possible time was a few weeks ago when a bee flew into the car and struck Jeannette in the head, and another one later pierced the tip of my finger when I reached up to take the steering wheel. Neither of those experiences were like this one. It literally felt like someone stabbed me with a shiv. Super painful! My neck started getting a bit stiff in the area and I immediately started monitoring myself for any other symptoms that might be cause for alarm. Ordinarily I wouldn't have been so concerned about it, but I was a good 20 minutes from home, over very rough terrain. Not the best spot to have any medical emergencies in.
Despite being pretty sure I wasn't allergic, I decided to hike back toward the older couple, instead of following the water's edge back home. I walked up to the older gentleman and informed him I'd just been stung. He looked at my neck and was surprised with how swollen it was. He said he could even see where the stinger went in. He was immediately very helpful and told me to hang back for a bit while they kept an eye on me. His wife, as it turns out, is also allergic and had an epi-pen in the truck.
I think I stood there talking to that guy for about an hour and a half. I was about an hour and twenty minutes from knowing I was fine, but what a great dude! His name was Gary and he lives down the hill from me with his wife Linda; his grandson Carl is down from Fall River near Halifax. He was a long haul truck driver and coached hockey for 14 years. He reminded me a lot of my dad actually, mostly how he talked about coaching and kids. He's also a big fisherman. After I told him my idea for the show I want to do, he said he'd take me fishing any time and teach me everything he knows.
Pretty much any subject we cruised over had us agreeing on pretty much every level which, as you can imagine, led to a pretty deep conversation. That's how I seem to roll these days, if given half a chance. I don't find much interest in the typical small talk people get on with, but when you just run into someone in a situation like that and allow yourself to open up and really get into it, it's amazing how quickly you can feel close to someone. By the time I left I felt like I could have known him my whole life.
His wife insisted that the next time I drive through Aylesford I stop in for a coffee. They live right next to the fire station; you've heard me talk of them I'm sure, given we had two chimney fires last year. I have no doubt I'll take them up on that, as I said, it's difficult to find people capable of good conversation these days. He and I had a good balance of similarities in thinking, and also enough differences to make it interesting. I'd love to pick his brain some more and will no doubt stop in at some point.
To give you an indication of what kind of a man he is, his grandson kept bringing rocks to him and then would listen as he interpreted what he saw. At one point he was asking his grandson to imagine where the rock might have come from, to ponder how smooth it was, and how old it might be. Hell, he had me quite interested in geology by the time I left and he wasn't even talking to me.
I should have told him about my dinosaur spine!! Balls!
Perhaps I didn't because subconsciously I know it's bedrock.
Anyway, by the time I got home, about 2.5 hours later I had missed lunch and Jeannette was getting ready to send Hubble and search party out to look for me. I understand her anxiousness of course, given I missed lunch and ordinarily don't go out for that long. Also, she's ready to pop and probably doesn't want to see the father of her children swept out to sea a few days before the second one pops out. I get it. But I was fine, and in my view, did the responsible thing by looking for help in case the creature that got me had ill intentions for my internal organs.
Later last night we were pretty sure Jeannette was going into labour.
Turns out she was just super whiney... she'll kill me for that... so we made her a bath and then sat with her waiting for the contractions to come. She was very uncomfortable last night and couldn't sleep. The bath helped for sure. At one point however, she was complaining that she had to pee -a difficult proposition given how long it took us to get her into a comfortable position in the tub. Her mom and I were both about half way through telling her to just go ahead and pee in the tub, that it didn't matter and who cares... but she cut us off as we were talking, "Yeah, yeah, I'm already going..." And she was.
Her mom had been dumping cups full of water onto her belly to keep her warm when she got into the tub. She did it again and accidentally poured it out from too high, causing it to splash off her belly and into her face... about ten seconds after she'd peed, effectively splashing her own pee into her face.
I thought we were both going to fall of the side of the tub laughing.
I was hoping the baby did come last night, just for that reason. Any kid who's birth story starts with his or her mom getting a cup full of their own urine splashed into their face HAS to grow up with a pretty decent sense of humour. But no. As it turns out, the baby didn't come; no doubt waiting for it's official, dad-given, time of September 5th.
Man I'm tired of being right.