A Toad in the Woods

Yellow Jackets and Public Nudity- Dumb Things That Men Do, Explained in 519 Words or Less

My Mom and her hubby had bought a mountainside villa near Bryce Resort as a retirement home. I was doing nothing important at the time, as is usual, so I offered to live-in and fix-up the home before their scheduled move-in date later in the year.

Theirs was a three-bedroom, two full-bath, single-level home nestled in the woods at the top of the mountain.  Single-level on the front half.  The back half was supported by ‘stilts’, two stories above the sloping mountain floor.

There was but one neighbor anywhere nearby, a snobby old couple who never ever waved as they sped off to their corner of the woods.

So, living there alone was like living in a treehouse alone.  The views out of the back bedroom windows were the tops of trees.

After brewing the morning’s first cup of coffee and heading out onto the wrap-around deck’s ‘private’ side, you could have face-to-face conversations with squirrels, just ten feet away in neighboring trees.  And they always expressed the same emotion with their startled faces and voices.

“Hey, what are you doing up here in my world?!”

Looking down from the deck during the very early morning hours, deer would slowly appear like ghosts from the thick of the woods.  Woodpeckers would peck, insects appeared, and Nature woke-up all around you.

Ah Robin, what a relaxing picture you’ve painted.

I’ve never been much of a Fashion Icon, so it only seemed Tarzan-esk to wear shorts and/or underwear, or nothing at all while having coffee up in the quiet canopy of trees.

The most annoying amongst the insects (while wearing no pants or insect repellant) were a good number of pesky yellow jackets.  Some yellow jackets make nest underground, which I learned from talking with an old man from intown.  After stomping around the lightly wooded area out in front of the house, I found the obvious nest, with a steady flow of yellow jackets flying to and fro the buried nest.  (I’ve never typed ‘to and fro’ before:)

After a serious night of game-planning at the local pub and a stop by the community’s only store for chemicals, I fell asleep on the sofa, and dreamt of the morning’s attack.

At the crack of woodpeckers, I sprung/steadied myself into action.  Me, a hangover, my favorite pair of loose-fitting sleeping shorts (now accented by a pair of old flip-flops), and a can of hornet spray, all headed off into the woods to conquer the enemy.

After an obnoxiously long spray from the can into the hole in the ground, the reaction was immediate.  A frantic stream of yellow jackets attempted an escape into the air.

A frantic stream it was, of which three of the pissed-off yellow jackets made their escape up the left side of my shorts, me without my yellow-jacket-resistant underwear.

The sport hasn’t been certified yet by the Olympic Committee, but I will forever hold the record for the 20-meter dash, jump, and hurdle as you pull off your pants on the front deck while opening a sliding glass door.

And not a single sting.  I was kind of offended.

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