Thursday, July 31, 2008

Geocaching in Niceville

I was supposed to take the Island King's truck and do some geocaching up on Eglin Reservation this morning before my meeting at the Island Girl's school but the Island King got all possessive on me and wouldn't trade cars for the day. I back in to 3 or 4 trees and he acts like I'm a danger to his truck. The Oldest Island Boy telling him that I like to blaze new trails with the truck didn't help my case either. And so I was left with the mini van instead. Sigh. Island Girl was happy, thinking I would look for city caches and not show up at her meeting looking like woods woman.
I tried.
I really did.
Last night I found a few caches in town on the geoacaching website and decided I could grab them instead of bushwacking so this morning I put on "normal" shorts and a tank top and I even brought along a pair of sandals so I could change out of my hiking shoes before the meeting. Once I actually started finding the caches I realized that I had inadvertently picked a bunch that were in really wooded areas. I plowed on anyway and ended up wishing that I had at least brought my hat. I found 5 pretty good caches but I had a big fight with a really nasty, thorn bush. The bush won the battle but I still found the cache! After my battle with the thorns I headed off to the next cache on my list. The log says "A short walk down a paved path"

This is at the entrance to the path. Hmm.
Lots of people have found this cache lately and Kiva's post yesterday put me in the mindset of damn the torpedos - full speed ahead, so off I go down this path. I get to about where I think the cache should be and I'm looking around the woods on each side of the path when I hear this noise. I wondered what it was but kept on searching. A couple of seconds later I realize the noise is getting louder and I think "that sounds really familiar" and then I realize "that's rain coming at me!" so I bolted for the car but I didn't make it before the bottom fell out. By the time I got to the car I was completely soaked. Dripping wet, soaked to the skin kind of soaked. I got a towel and tried to dry off a little but it didn't help. I have to be at this meeting in 20 minutes and I'll never make it home to change in time so I'm going to have to go to this meeting soaking wet. Well that's just great. Island Girl will be so pleased. I don't look like woods woman but I do look like a drowned rat. As I'm driving on towards the meeting I drive out of the rain and realize that I still have time to grab one more cache right near the school. The sun was shining and I managed to walk around a little and at least stop dripping, which was good. The cache was hidden in a fir bush and as I was squating in the dirt, under the bush, trying to reach the cache, I felt something stinging my leg. I looked down and there must have been 50 big fire ants all over my leg and they were all starting to bite. I jumped up but forgot I was under the bush and hit my head on the lower branches, which knocked me over into the dirt. I crawled out from under the tree, did the ants in my pants dance for a minute, and managed to get the fire ants off of me. But. When you fall into dirt wearing really wet clothes the dirt becomes mud and I was now covered in it. Things are just getting better by the minute. I tried to get as much dirt off of me as I could but there was a big mud stain across the front of my shirt, one hip and most of my butt. It's now 5 minutes until the meeting starts and I have no choice but to go on to the school. As I pulled into the parking lot it started to rain again and lucky for me a lot of other people got pretty wet running into the building. Thank goodness! I might have mud smeared all over me but at least I'm not the only one who's wet. I make it to my seat and am glad that now that I'm sitting no one can really see the mud all over my butt. I'm here, I'm not the only one who's wet and the mud is hidden - all is well. And then I felt a tap on my shoulder. It's the woman behind me and she says "Um mam, you have, um, well, a bug in your ponytail" and she reaches over and pulls a 2 inch long, fuzzy green caterpillar out of my hair. Where is a big hole to swallow you up when you need one? She's holding the caterpillar and looking at me and I'm looking at her and I swear, for the life of me, I couldn't think of a thing to say. Not one word. There was a man sitting next to her and he said "I'll take this outside - unless you want to keep it?" I found my tongue and told him that taking it outside would be fine. And because she just pulled a caterpillar out of my hair I pulled my ponytail down. And leaves, stems, and twigs fell out of my hair like rain. I mean really, the amount of debris in my hair was astonishing. I now have the full attention of most of the people around me and the shock on their faces sent me into almost hysterical laughter. And the harder I laughed the more shocked they looked - which made it damn near impossible to stop laughing. I could practically hear them thinking "My God! Did you see what came out of that woman's hair? How long do you think that caterpillar lived in there? Is it too late for us to change seats?"
All attempts to appear "normal" for the Island Girl's sake are now ruined. I'm pretty sure that the site of the caterpillar crawling around in my ponytail and the debris falling from my hair can never be erased. I gave it my best shot but it just wasn't meant to be.
Luckily, the meeting was starting and it wasn't until a few minutes later that Island Girl came in. She sat down and whispered "What happened to your clothes?" I was able to shush her and was really glad she'd missed the whole hair debacle.
In the car on the way home from the meeting I told her the whole story and my child said "I was sitting right next to you, I put my head on your shoulder! Now everyone knows I belong to you" Her friend S was with us and this girl was laughing so hard I thought she was going to wet her pants. Island Girl rolled her eyes and said "You are a freak Mom but I love you anyway"

I learned a few things today.
1. Never do ANY caching without a hat
2. If someone pulls a caterpillar out of your hair - do NOT remove your ponytail holder until you are a safe distance away from all spectators.

All in all I'd say it was a pretty good day. I found a few caches and I've given quite a few people something to talk about at dinner tonight.
Mission accomplished.
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