The Dark Underbelly Of Sweetness

I have always thought I was a pretty unobjectionable person. I mean, I may not be anything special but I also don’t really piss anyone off, either. In all humility, I don’t think there is anything too much to actually dislike about me. I’m kind of like vanilla ice cream. Some people really like vanilla ice cream. In general, though, people don’t travel from miles around to buy vanilla ice cream. However, if it is the only flavor in the freezer, people will eat it. I am not exotic or interesting or glamorous. I am just simple, familiar, and comforting to have around in case you get the munchies after the fancy gelato shop is closed.

Something else that vanilla ice cream and I have in common is sweetness. I think most people (except for those who have encountered me when I am in desperate need of a snack) would describe me as sweet. I don’t mind being called sweet. I think I would prefer kind, just because it might sound a little less feeble than sweet. That, however, is sort of splitting sprinkles on the ice cream. Years ago, someone asked me how I would like to be remembered after I died. I replied that I’d like people to say that I was a kind, Christian woman of great integrity. That is the stretch goal. I’m actually quite happy with sweet.

Or I was happy with sweet until a few weeks ago. I think I’ve now discovered the unsavory side of being sweet. I attended a church service on Thursday evening and stopped to chat with some folks when the service ended. I wasn’t really out in the garden that long. I would say that I lingered amongst the azaleas, in all my vanilla sweetness, for half an hour at most. By the next day, my legs were a swollen, itchy, furious, uncomfortable mess. Apparently, mosquitos are pretty fond of vanilla ice cream. Or, at least, fond of me. I paid the consequences of tasting as sweet as vanilla ice cream for more than a week. I slathered myself with the anti-itch cream I had left over from Rudolph the Rash. I sprayed calamine lotion all over my lower extremities. I iced my legs down every evening. I took ibuprofen to decrease the swelling. All of this helped, but I find it amazing that I was still itching two weeks later. After three or four days, the swelling decreased enough so that I could start identifying the individual bites. I counted no less than 52 separate welts on my legs and feet. It is like someone posted a sign around my neck- “Mosquito Café- All You Can Buffet.”

It is ironic because I was talking to someone from California a few days before and he asked how I was handling the bugs in Florida. I told him, truthfully, that we really didn’t have much of an issue with bugs. Insects were one of those things that we thought we’d have to face when moving to Florida, but we haven’t noticed a problem after three-and-a-half years of living here. We attributed our good fortune to the fact that we avoid getting too close to standing water. Since there was no standing water in the church garden, that theory is now sort of shot to heaven.

Upon reflection, I think the reason we have not noticed mosquitos much is less about water and more about daylight. Max and I are rarely outside after dark. Still, no one else chatting in the garden had mosquitos pursuing every square inch of uncovered flesh. I chalk it up to the sweetness. You know how they say you can attract more flies with honey? Apparently, you can attract more mosquitos with vanilla ice cream. So, lesson learned. Now I know better than to go out bare-legged after sunset. The mosquitos just can’t resist something sweet during happy hour!

Okay, I’ve racked my brain to come up with a provocative question for this blog post, but I’ve come up empty!  So how about this?  What question would YOU ask to stimulate conversation about this post?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com. 

Have a sweet day… without the itching!

Terri/Dorry 🙂

REMEMBER:  You can order your copy of Changing My Mind: Reinventing Myself In Retirement by visiting: https://secure.mybookorders.com/orderpage/2076

4 thoughts on “The Dark Underbelly Of Sweetness”

  1. I feel for you, Terri. 52 individual bites?! Have you considered an oral antihistamine? I’ve noticed the size of the mosquitoes here in NE Alberta this spring/summer. Even in the day time, they’ll swarm up out of the grass in spots. They’ll bite through close fitting shirts and leggings. I don’t know what’s worse – mosquito bites or the bug repellant. Apparently we’re in the 9th yr of a 7 yr caterpillar cycle. As harmless as the caterpillars are, I would take a mosquito to a caterpillar.

    1. Thanks, Mona. Yes, I did start on a liquid oral antihistamine at night so I could sleep instead of scratching and that helped. I’m just about back to normal now, except for a few battle scars! 🦗

  2. Interesting since I thought of Florida as being quite the place to find mosquitoes and other biting insects. Maybe it is if a person put cream or other sweet things on the legs that make more of an area to bite a person. Interesting….Glad you got over that itching time!

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