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Monday, July 13, 2015

#Microblog Mondays: Handling Fear With(out) Freaking Out


Once you have children, or are frequently around children, you kind of lose your ability to be freak-out scared, outwardly at least...you have to show them what it looks like to be brave. My mom was terrified of spiders (still is), but she had to be the brave, nonchalant Spider Remover/Killer with me and my sisters (although if it dropped unexpectedly, we still got the screechy Spider Dance out of her). It's just what you're supposed to do to keep everyone from panicking; you have to show them that [insert phobia here] is no big deal.  And as an ALMOST waiting parent (the book is with the social worker for preprint review... getting closer...), the time to be brave and handle fear with grace is coming soon for me. This weekend at a family event in Ohio, I got to test this out, twice.

Yesterday morning, before we left the hotel, Bryce and I went for a post-breakfast hike on the grounds of the lakeside resort  where we were staying. We found a mowed grass trail in a meadow that had these funny white posts every so often, and decided to off-road it since it looked maintained, although it wasn't marked. About a half mile in, we noticed a black dog, maybe a large-breed puppy, bounding up the hill ahead of us and away from us. Then I thought it was a cat, or maybe even a chubby lamb. It turned around toward us, all playful-like, and resembled a baby llama. Then it bounded away and we figured we'd run into its owner later on the trail. A couple miles later, no dog/cat/lamb/llama, no owner, and we came to the realization that we were on an old abandoned golf course, where there were occasionally asphalt walkways for the carts and those white posts were the tee-off spots. I cautioned Bryce not to step in the dog poop that was on that weed-reclaimed asphalt. And he said... "Um, that's bear scat."

Both all of a sudden and in a moment that seemed to last ages, we both put two and two together.

Instead of reacting sanely, I started hysterically yelling "SAY IT'S DOG POOP! IT'S DOG POOP! SAY IT'S DOG POOP!!!" while whacking Bryce in the arm with open palms. Not my most graceful moment.

Because, what we'd seen was a bear cub. And where adorable bear cubs bound away all fuzzy and cuddly looking, fierce mama bears can be nearby thinking that the dumbass abandoned golf course hikers miles from any other humans are threatening her baby, and she could decide to, you know, EAT US.

We managed to get back to the trailhead without seeing the cub or his mama (or dad, gulp), but we did notice rather large amounts of bear scat. I can laugh about it now, because we DID NOT GET EATEN, but at the time my reaction was PANIC PANIC PANIC, which probably wouldn't have gone well with small children in tow. Although I think in that instance Bryce may have signaled me to the danger and  then told our child that it WAS dog poop, a courtesy I kind of wish I'd had.

I fared better in the car on the way home. Meadows have bears, but they also have ticks, and one had been crawling up Bryce's leg when we were only a couple miles on our way back home to New York. We pulled over, he threw it out the window, and we did a quick tick-check (wood ticks, not deer ticks... so ugly little buggers but not Lyme-carrying).

Later, on the NYS thruway near Buffalo, I noticed a tick on my visor above the passenger seat (which is also OVER MY HEAD). I didn't smack Bryce in a panic, and I didn't scream or freak out... I watched it, and then Bryce suggested I get it in a water bottle and close it up because there was nowhere to stop and ticks are kind of indestructible. And I did, I very methodically placed the mouth of the bottle under the disgusting parasite and when it dropped in with an audible CLICK noise, I screwed that cap on incredibly tightly and felt kind of squeegy, but not panicky.

There's hope for me yet... although a tick wouldn't have eaten my face off.

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!

17 comments:

  1. OMG. I'm so freaking out reading about the ticks. Getting eaten by a bear apparently doesn't bother me (you tell a good story about it!) but the though of indestructible ectoparasites eating my face off skeeve me.

    Congrats on growing up :-)

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    1. Hilarious that ticks are worse than bears... Although I didn't think about the possibility of the TICK eating my face off! Ew...

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  2. Yikes!! Dh & I had a close encounter in a rural cemetery a few years ago with a couple of dogs who, in hindsight, may or may not have been wolves/coyotes. :p Glad you escaped without incident!

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    1. Isn't it funny how wild nature sneaks in and we're so domesticated we're like, "oh, a cute little puppy?" Wolves/coyotes! Yikes! Glad you're here to tell your tale, too. And I love rural cemeteries!

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  3. Oh, wow! My heart was racing as you told those stories. My fiance and I had a moment in the woods in California that made us a bit nervous. The next day or so we were on a boat and thought we saw a log, but it was a bear swimming across the lake! Glad you are both safe after your hike!!

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    1. Those bears...they're everywhere! They're probably out there laughing, "Got a good scare out of that human today! Har, har, har!" California bears can be grizzlies, right? That's scary for sure. I'm glad you survived your encounter as well!

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  4. Eeeeeek! That sounds terrifying! Glad that you were able to get back without any further bear encounters.

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    1. Thank you! It was super scary until we were far enough away that I didn't suspect a mauling was possible anymore. Although as we were closer to the end of the trail, almost to the road, Bryce saw some brambleberries and was like, "Now here is where we are in the MOST danger, right near their food source." GAH, BRYCE! :)

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  5. When I was hiking/camping through Alaska and the Canadian Rockies, our guide sat us down and had a very serious talk about bears. It completely freaked me out and all I wanted to do was NOT see a bear the entire month (we ended up not seeing one). Now having lived and traveled in more places, I recognize that seeing a bear is cool- but definitely from say a car or a house. Glad you didn't run into one on the trail!

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    1. Yup, that's definitely grizzly territory! I would be freaked out, too. I also feel like it was super cool to have seen a baby bear, even if we had no clue that's what it was when we saw it and I was desperately afraid of getting between it and Mama the whole rest of the hike once we did figure it out. :) Seeing one from the car or a house would be fantastic, then I could relax and enjoy it. I'm glad you didn't run into any ginormous carnivores on your trip through Alaska and the Canadian Rockies (wow, that sounds amazing).

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  6. So much for a walk in nature being good for you, eh? Speaking as someone who lives where cougars and bears appear regularly in neighbourhoods. Couple years ago in fact, my friend and I watched a young bear stroll by our hotel in Whistler. I'm more freaked out about ticks!

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    1. Right? I'm used to seeing deer, and maybe a fox or two, some bunnies, and hearing screech owls. Bryce saw a coyote once when jogging in our neighborhood. But COUGARS? Yikes!
      I would have been scared more of the tick if it was a deer tick, but we did feel like they were crawling all over us for quite some time. Blech.

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  7. You are very brave: bugs in cars and Melissa do not mix. I tend to freak out.

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    1. I think I wasn't so much brave as desensitized by the bear... :)

      Now if it was a SPIDER, I would have probably caused a major car accident. Or a wasp. I do NOT handle those critters in a car well at all.

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  8. That's so scary! Bear cubs are no joke. And ticks are so creepy. I still squeal when I see cockroaches (unavoidable in the south) and we did have a poisonous snake in our yard earlier this year which I ran away from and made my husband deal with. Not a good example for the children; I wonder if I'd be able to keep my cool in front of them.

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  9. yikes! I think I would be more freaked out by the tick than the bear, if only because I've had a few bear encounters and most bears are not interested in attacking/eating humans. But ticks exist to drink your blood. Ew! glad you at least learned a bit about yourself from the experience. And these do make good campfire stories.

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  10. I would have freaked out about the bear encounter too!

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