Thursday, October 9, 2014 which dirt is dirty and I overreacted like a punk.

If you're a gardening person you know that it's Fall planting time as indicated by the glorious weather and that special need that comes from deep in your loins to birth green shit.  That is a terrible mental image...  

But because I, and most of my friends, are cheap bastards - we prefer the more respectful term "frugal fuckers" - we began a Plant Swap.  Bring me your old, your tired, overgrown shrubs yearning to breathe free...

So in preparation for the big day I began digging up years worth of irises to divide, wildflowers of unknown origin and whatever else I could rip from the ground.  It may have been glorious weather but I was sweating so hard I actually thought it was raining.  

So sexy.

After a few hours of work I squeegeed my face and took my gloves off and noticed a tiny splinter on the back of my hand.  This probably explained the pain I felt the last hour but had decided to ignore because I'm a gardening beast [mule].  When I removed the splinter I surprisingly gushed [trickled] blood for a few minutes as the splinter was apparently the cork in my knuckle artery.  These frugal fuckers better appreciate the brutal carnage I endured to get these irises.

The next day I woke up and my tiny wound was sore and inflamed.  Meh.  Maybe Charlemagne licked it during the night or I slept on it funny, I'll just let my superhuman immune system take care of it.

But it didn't take care of it - it got worse and worse.  

As I whined to my work colleagues throughout the day, someone mentioned it sounded a bit like a spider bite.  Since I can't remember how the injury happened it seemed like a possibility.  What I had assumed was a splinter was now most likely a giant fang from an EBOLA SPIDER.  Completely rational.

Naturally I went to the internetz which is the source of all things good and fair to guide me in my troubling time.

Is the area red and swollen?  Most definitely.

Is it hot to the touch?  Positively feverish.

Does it hurt?  I can't grasp a pen.

Are you easily swayed by hyperbole from the internet?  I'm here, aren't I?

Are there two puncture wounds near each other?  Um... yes.  Are spiders actually tiny vampires??

Are you experiencing elevated blood pressure, dizziness and stomach cramping?  WELL I AM NOW, GAWDDAMMIT.

It didn't help that when my boss pulled up a picture of a black widow spider bite she gasped because it looked exactly like my finger.  Even though I KNEW (in my head, not my heart) I wasn't going to have my hand rot off I still left work a few minutes early to go to the doc in a box to at least deal with the obvious infection in my hand.  

The nurse came in to do my history and I could feel her rolling her eyes.  My whole hand was throbbing and I was sure my muscles were disintegrating into black soup on the inside but it didn't actually look that bad so she was totally justified.

Fortunately, it was NOT a deadly bite from an Ebola Black Widow Spider From Hell but was in fact a bacterial skin infection called cellulitis.  Even though I've never heard of it it's pretty common.  The doctor told me if my swelling went beyond these lines, though, I would probably lose my hand.

Just kidding, he said take some antibiotics.  I mostly trusted him but since I heard him telling some other patients in the next room over about the Ebol-ai virus and compared it to HIV I was a little suspect.

Fortunately, the swelling went down considerably overnight and even though it still hurts to grasp anything at least my hand muscles aren't rotten meat soup so I'm fine.  

The worst part of the whole "ordeal" (mild inconvenience?) was that I updated my tetanus shot and had a pretty severe reaction to it.  Thanks, medicine!  In addition to the normal tetanus muscle pain and inability to lift my arm to take my clothes off or wash my hair, I also developed flu-like symptoms the rest of the weekend!  Yay!  

Luckily, before my joints started to ache and the chills set in the plant swap happened and it was glorious.

Not all mine. 
Never been so excited about a bunch of dirt and weeds in plastic grocery bags before.  I think everyone left with lots of new goodies and none of their own so Plant Swap is now a "thing."  A regular event.  I'll probably send out invites in foil-lined envelopes in the Spring so start digging!

We always follow the Plant Swap with the driveway sale at Green Thumbs Galore which is a magic fairlyland of earthy goodness.  They almost exclusively do online sales so everyone can shop.

My goal is to take a few pics for you soon of my new plants - I always want to wait until they "look better" but that's just low landscaping self esteem thanks to Pinterest.  I'm still planting and mulching (hard to dig holes when you can't grip a shovel with your right hand or move your left arm) but I'll show everything to you soon - good or bad.  Hold me accountable.  For the sake of plants everywhere.

But glorious foliage will have to wait because I'm going on vacation next week!  I planned that well - plant a bunch of things and then leave for a week.  No wonder I kill so many things.

But while I'm gone please make sure to visit this garden tour at The Design Files which I'm loving.  You can also entertain yourself at the Fly Art tumblr which is filled with gems like this:

I would like a giant - shall I say... anaconda-sized? - poster of this on my wall please.

Also, someone please go water my plants while I'm gone.  I still have tons of irises that would love to go home with you too.

Just make sure to double glove.

And do NOT google images of cellulitis.


  1. My spare bedroom is about to become void of all its furniture....which means MAKEOVER. The anaconda poster just became my inspiration.

    Also, if you need someone to water the irises and such, let me know.

    1. Just a pile of sheets and pillows on the floor and that poster is all your guests need!

      Thanks - I may call you depending on how much rain is in the forecast... ; )

  2. where i live, in hot, dry southern california, we have a ridiculous overabundance of black widows. here it would not be weird to freak out about the possibility of a black widow bite (except, honestly, i *think* those two spots were a smidgen too far apart to have been from the mouth of a spider in a single bite). i know there *are* black widows where you are, but they're not EVERYWHERE like they are here. but what surprises me didn't freak you out, is the type of spider you're unlucky enough to have but we don't have out here, that is WAY worse than a black widow. at the very least, worse in terms of how terrifying the photos that you can find on the internet of people's bites are: i mean the brown recluse. we're talking massive necrosis of the flesh. seriously, look it up, you will be horrified and fascinated!

    1. Oh yeah the spots were too far apart but you're thinking like a rational person here. And we have all types of spiders here including the brown recluse! Blerg. I've never actually seen one but I have seen a few black widows in my yard so it wasn't out of the realm of (totally unlikely) possibility. Believe me, when you google 'spider bite' all that brown recluse shit pops up too. *shudder* Since I made it more than 12 hours I figured I was safe... but I'm too scared to check now!

      Also, really disappointed about SoCal having so many black widows! I thought it was my paradise!! I need a new fantasy now...

  3. I have no plans to look any further into your hand disease, as your pic is enough to scare me into submission. However, I DO want that hair on your anaconda self-portrait there.

  4. So obviously, I immediately googled the exact thing you said not to, because that is the person I am. I didn't die, but I also didn't go past the thumbnails. When you think about it, it's pretty good that this thing gives you pain because otherwise who is going to go to the doctor for what they think is a splinter? Good work adulting, IMO.

    Here at my homestead, we are dedicating a Sunday morning block to outdoorsy stuff, which currently consists of my husband clearing out past piles of sticks and stuff we have been lazy about and me trying to get things ready for winter. I cut back a full pound of sage this weekend because my sage plant apparently went WILD in its semi neglected corner of the yard.

    Next week, the raking begins.

  5. I googled it AS A JOKE and immediately saw a woman undergoing surgery with half of her face skin peeled back. My mouth screamed and my mind said, "THAT'S WHAT YOU GET!"

    Which is pretty shitty considering this is all my mind's fault.

    Anyway, off to pretend that never happened and transplant a teeny tomato plant I should have moved two months ago.