Beware of Poison Ivy


I have a great garden this year. Digging in the dirt and watering plants and weeding brings me great peace. I’ve planted a peony bush that bore beautiful pink blossoms, scavenged wilted annuals from the discount cart at Lowes and coaxed them back to life. I’ve dug up free stepping stones from someone elses yard and brought them back to my own. I love being outside and creating something, obsessing over something and watching it grow.

A couple weeks ago, I got a vicious case of poison ivy, contracted while I was tearing out what seems like an endless crop of the stuff from my backyard. I was wearing gloves and jeans, but I wasn’t being very careful — since I had never gotten a rash from the stuff before, I assumed I wasn’t allergic to it. Dear reader, I am allergic to it. Very allergic to it. After a week of trying calamine lotion, Benadryl, Ivy-Dry spray, aloe vera, Solarcaine, baking soda, and cortisone cream, I finally went to the doctor. I left the office with three prescriptions, and two days later, I finally stopped itching uncontrollably.It’s been a rough year for my health so far. In February I had the flu, which took me out of commission for a week. In March, I cracked a rib when I tripped over a stone in my front yard, and it’s been a slow recovery. Now my arms and legs are full of scratches and blisters that just won’t go away. Let’s just say that 2014 hasn’t exactly been full of healthy.

I think that the accidents I’ve encountered have to do with an underlying distraction. Just like I kept telling myself I wasn’t allergic to poison ivy, I keep telling myself that it doesn’t bother me that I haven’t accomplished what I’d hoped this year. It was supposed to be such a productive eight months, now that the little one was in school all day! But that first draft of the memoir I had envisioned completing by now? Still stalled in its sixth chapter. The full-time, profitable freelance writing career? Still a distant possibility.

It’s not that I haven’t been busy: I walk my son to prekindergarten and pick him up every day, organize playdates, make sure that he practices the piano for 30 minutes on a daily basis, cook dinner every night, do the cleaning and grocery shopping, write articles and doing some freelance editing, bake cakes for birthday parties at the science museum, and cover the occasional shift at the school where I’ve been subbing. I keep telling myself that I’m not bothered by the fact I haven’t accomplished my goals, but like the poison ivy, it got me in the end.

So I’m admitting it. It bothers me tremendously that I’ve stopped blogging and have put writing on the back burner yet again, so I’m going to recommit myself to the work once again. And I’m allergic as hell to poison ivy, so  I’m going to pay much closer attention to it next time I’m in the yard.



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