Don’t pick up the cactus

Yesterday I sat down, gave myself a little pep talk, and did a Really Hard And Scary Thing. Upon completion of The Thing I had butterflies in my stomach and spent 30 minutes rage-cleaning* my house to try and burn off some of that frenetic energy. It’s a waiting game now and I hate waiting, hence the rage-cleaning. (*Rage-cleaning is a manic maid state I get in most often when I’m pissed, but, apparently, also when I’m anxious and also when waiting for results after completing a Really Hard And Scary Thing.)

After the cleaning session I took myself on a little walk, the night was cold and the stars were clear and I was feeling pretty darn proud of myself. Very adult-like. Responsible. Have my shit together. Etc.

And then I picked up a cactus.

Prickly Pear_feistyharriet_Jan 2017

Ok, that’s not exactly true (it is totally and 100% true), I mean, I was walking along and I saw this really beautiful dried paddle of a prickly pear, you know, those tear-shaped “leaves” with cute little white polka dots on them? Well, this one had fallen off it’s momma plant and was all yellowy-cream and dried, the ridges looking a lot like the back of an octogenarian’s hand. The polka dots were a soft dark brown and the whole thing was arrestingly beautiful in gorgeous sepia tones with an almost quilted-looking pattern. I had to have it.

So I picked it up.

…Ya’ll, I must be some kind of serious Arizona rookie, because I PICKED UP A CACTUS WITH MY BARE HAND!

Those soft dark brown spots were, shockingly, not soft at all. They were actually strategically placed little defensive forests of bristley brown spikes that quickly transferred themselves from the prickly pear paddle to the fingers of my left hand. I yelped. I maybe cursed a bit. And, momentarily losing my sanity and thinking a game of Hot Potato was in order, I tossed the spike-infested prickly pear paddle to my other hand.

I’mma stop right there and slow it down:

I picked up a spiky cactus because it was so so pretty. And when I was legitimately surprised at the immediately pain of said spiky cactus, I THREW THE THING STRAIGHT INTO MY OTHER PALM!

Yep. That happened.

Almost 10:00 pm and I’m swearing up a storm on the sidewalk, clutching a (gorgeous!) cactus in one hand and shaking my other hand furiously, somehow thinking that cactus spike pain was like being burned, you just blow on it and it will stop hurting. Ha. Hahahahahaa. Nope. Not the case.

Mr. Blue Eyes and I spent 45 minutes tweezing cactus spikes out of BOTH of my hands. Any sense of greatness I felt for accomplishing that Really Hard And Scary Thing? Yeeeeah, totally gone. I’m sure there is a really poignant metaphor in this story somewhere (“Pride goeth before the fall”, anyone?), but to be completely frank, typing is giving me the distinct impression that I’ve missed a few cactus spikes in the pads of my fingers that will need some additional tweezing, stat. That’s also probably a metaphor.

harriet-sig

15 thoughts on “Don’t pick up the cactus

  1. Lacey Bean

    Ok first of all I love you because this is something I would have done. Pick up cactus. HOLY SHIT ITS SHARP. Throw it into other hand.

    I’m proud of you for doing the big, scary thing, even though I don’t know what it is but all that matters is YOU DID IT and YAY ADULTING! Also YAY rage cleaning – I love that shit.

    <3 <3 <3

    Reply
    1. Feisty Harriet Post author

      It’s cool, I’m a natural blonde. Sometimes we do things like play hot potato with cactus thingies. Ahem.

      xox

      Reply
  2. AmySo

    The one time I was in Tuscon (for a gymnastics meet when I was…14 or 15) we went on a hike and before we started, our coach was like “Stay on the trail, the cacti are sharp” and me, being the dreamy, wandery, I-love-nature kind of girl I am wandered right off the trail and yes, into a cactus. Took it in the calf. Luckily my coach just laughed at me instead of yelling while he plucked out the spikes. 🙂

    Good job on the Big Scary Thing. I need to do TWO of those and I am ignoring them pretty well. Gotta find my Big Girl pants…

    Reply
    1. Feisty Harriet Post author

      Oh, yeah, ouch. I went for a nature “walk” in some undeveloped land near us and ended up with cactus spikes all in my shoes. The desert, man, it will kill you.

      xox

      Reply
    1. Feisty Harriet Post author

      Looking back, I can’t imagine WHY I did that, but also can’t truly see myself having done anything else (like, I don’t know, DROP the cactus!).

      xox

      Reply
  3. Sherry

    Last spring break my second kid (then three) fell into some cacti while playing hide and go seek at night in Goblin Valley. So it was dark. We hear screaming. We think, “Ugh, he’s kind of melodramatic when he’s tired.” Then we realized the screaming was more than just, “My big brother is being mean,” and Eric went to fetch him. He brought Felix to me, and I thought, “Well, okay, we’ll just take his pants off and the spikes will just come out.” No. Well, some did, but not many. Thankfully we had tweezers among our supplies in the first aid kit. I spent a good 35 minutes plucking cacti spikes out of my kid’s bum. The big ones were barbed, so they were hard to get out gently, but the worst ones were the little tiny ones that all clustered together. It looked so painful.

    The time he went camping after that he walked into a hot Dutch oven and got a sizeable burn on his shin. So the fact that we’ve successfully camped a few times since these incidents without major injury to this kid, I think, is pretty miraculous.

    And also, I’m sorry about your hands. I hope the big scary thing works out well!

    Reply
  4. Britt

    Holy crap! The cactus!!!

    And this rage cleaning thing is so foreign to me. I don’t think cleaning is my emotional response to ANYTHING. What could possibly make me clean? I need to figure this out before I die.

    Reply
    1. Feisty Harriet Post author

      Meh, if it’s not a natural part of your life there is zero point in trying to make it happen for you. Some people rage-eat, others rage-rage, some even rage-run…I rage-clean. Shrug.

      xox

      Reply
  5. Kelsie O

    Ouch!! Has enough time passed (and, has your hand healed) enough for me to admit that I laughed when you said you tossed it into your other hand? I’m so sorry!

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Adjusting my “winter” expectations and activities: an Arizona primer – Feisty Harriet

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