Since I last posted, I’ve been a part of family bliss. I flew from Grand Targhee to Norfolk, VA and rode to Duck, NC where I hung with my parents, sister, bro-in-law, nieces, wife and kids at the same house we stayed at almost the same week last year. All was mellow until I got tagged by a stingray. Can you believe that shit? I love the ocean. I’ve always swum vigorously in the waves, diving fearlessly into the surf with reckless abandon. My daughter and I get into jumping over waves with her on my shoulder. We have fun basking in the surf. At different family beach excursions, it’s become tradition for the men to disappear for a round of golf.

This year the tradition began where the women would go off on a day spa adventure of relaxation and pampering, as they should. No big deal, we are at the beach. We will just go to the beach. And we did. My son is 2 and off the wall, go bonkers crazy. Running around making the beach lifeguard nervous. I was on it. Being the defensive goalie. Always staying between the surf and his wholy craziness. He wore out and was ready to chill in the shade with my dad and niece. Now it was time to throw the girl on my shoulders and jump some waves. We jumped one.  Weee.  Hahahaha. We jumped another.  Woooo. I’m up to my waste in sweet Atlantic goodness. And then. BIP!  Puncture wound to side of the foot. I figured it was a pissed off crab that new we were getting a giant bushel of his brothers and sisters to rip apart and eat on the porch with beers while we paid the nieces to mind the youngins. Which we did. I limp to the shore with the girl on my shoulders. I get my bro-in-law to watch after the daughter and limp up to the umbrella where my dad is hanging with crazy boy. Wincing in pain while blood is spewing through a sand-covered puncture wound, I tell dad to stay with junior while I tend my wound. This thing fucking hurts. Bad. I go up to the lady who, for 2 years in row, rode my ass about not having the proper wristband to get on this secluded section off the beach and guilt her into dressing my wound with the first aid kit while I hyperventilate in pain. Time passes but the pain just gets worse. I’m on duty with the youngins so I just cuss under my breath while I monitor the water activities. Luckily the daughter gets cold and we journey the less than a quarter mile walk back to house where I swap out wet bathing suits for a warm and dry diaper(for the boy) and fix sandwiches where I of course have to bargain bites for in exchange for potato chips and the eternal promise of cookies if the sandwich is consumed. All while the poisonous venom is coursing through my veins and my left foot swelling up larger than my right. My father returns from the beach and I can adjourn to the basement where I can freely cuss and wince from this neverending pain that is clearly not going away. By now I’ve figured out that this is not a crab pinch but some sort of poisonous something or other. I obviously have to go to the hospital. But I don’t want to go in and say “I cut my foot and it hurts”. I want to know what is crushing my soul with pain. So I think “what would Emily do”. She would research on line. I Google “mysterious puncture wound from the ocean”.  Stingray stuff pops up and I scroll down and see a picture of the same wound I have on my foot. Ahhhhh I’m getting somewhere. “For immediate relief, soak the wound in water as hot as you can stand without scolding”. It’s been at least 2 hours since the barbing so with haste I sprint to the tub and soak my foot in some hot ass water. Immediately, the pain subsides. RELIEF. It says to soak for 90 minutes. After 10, I feel great and am ready to go get an x-ray to make sure no part of the barb remains in my foot. But all of a sudden, the pain rushes back and I hop back to the tub for the remaining and recommended soak time. It said 90 minutes and it fucking meant it. Something about the hot water battles the venom. Thank 8lb 7 oz. baby Jesus (I like my Jesus as a little baby). Any way… by this time the ladies have returned and Emily takes me on over to urgent care where they find a small piece of sting ray barb lodged in my foot which is sliced open and removed. The pain is gone and not to return as we sit and feast on delicious crab and talk of the craziness of the day. From there I ventured on to a whole other adventure with twists and turns and another epic tale of star studded hangouts and sit ins. So… stay tuned for that.