As tick-borne diseases are back in the news these days I’m reminded of a Schotzie story. Afflicted with youth and vitality my long-suffering bride Aimee and I bought an 1890 farmhouse Victorian house in Thomasville, Ga, a town Harper’s Magazine once called “the best winter resort on three continents,” which is funny since Thomasville is located only in North America. The house had been gutted and Aimee and I set out completely rebuilding the thing, a four-month project that felt like 8 years mostly because it took 8 years.
The work was exhausting but apparently not too much because a few months into the project Aimee wound up pregnant. What would be our master bedroom was full of power tools and materials so we were sleeping in our son’s future room, the walls still covered in dust from refinishing the floor. We had moved in in a hurry. I was sitting on a carpet outside the bedroom petting Schotzie’s belly so she wouldn’t destroy something and Aimee was ready for bed. Then I noticed the tick.
“Sam, what are you doing?” Aimee called from the bedroom, already lying down.
“Beau Shitley has a chigger on her belly,” I called back.
“It’s probably a tick, not a chigger.”
“Okay, I think she has a tick on her belly.”
“Well get it off and come to bed,” Aimee commanded.
I couldn’t remember if I was supposed to turn the tick clockwise or counterclockwise so I squeezed, picked one direction, and hoped for the best. The tick remained rigidly in place so I turned the other way to no avail. I went to the bathroom and fetched a pair of tweezers, returned and tried the same process again.
“What are you doing?” my bride bellowed from the bedroom. I could tell she was already getting irritated, suffering from the affects of hormones and her personality.
“I told you,” I replied, “I’m getting the chigger off.”
“It’s a tick!”
I worked another minute or two when she yelled again. “Just come to bed!”
“You told me to get the tick off.”
“No I didn’t!” she insisted.
“Yeah you did. I said it was a chigger and you said it was a tick and I said okay and you said to get the tick off.”
“Just come on!”
“I have to get this off or she’ll get a disease or something.” The tweezer wasn’t getting it done and Schotzie was starting to squirm, the skin around the arachnid rapidly reddening. I got up and went to the master bedroom, dug through piles of tools and came back with the Robo-grips, a sort of spring-loaded pliers that I use when I need a bit more torque. I knelt back down on the carpet and situated the grips on the beast. The tick, not the dog.
“Goddamn it!” my bride beseeched from our love chamber. I dislike getting a tick off my own person as much as the next guy, or dog, and I could understand why Schotzie was so agitated. I was proud of her for hanging tough and being so still while I worked. I heard Aimee’s feet hit the floor. The door flew open. “Come on!” she yelled at me over her round belly.
“I have to get the tick off of my dog. Instead of yelling, why don’t you help me?” I begged.
“Fine. Let me see.”
I pulled the Robo-grips off and pointed to the black dot encircled by red. “Sam!” she screamed. “That’s her nipple!”
A short silence. “Really?” I asked.
“It doesn’t look…” I started to protest.
“She’s never had puppies! She’s fixed!” My wife turned and walked back into the darkened space of our son’s room but continued her diatribe. “I can’t believe I’m having your child,” was the last part I heard.
That child says “Really?” a lot too. I wonder where he gets it.
If you enjoyed this essay please forward it to a friend and share on Facebook. If you want to keep reading please try my novels: