I always look forward to visiting my parents on the Central Coast. For one thing, it is a beautiful part of the world. For another, it is wonderfully liberating to hand over my three kids to their Nana and Papa. I am able to kick back, relax, and pretend that I am, once again, a childless young woman (albeit a childless young woman who lives with her parents and their three young children).
Sadly, this particular trip did not start off auspiciously. Oh, it wasn't as bad as a recent trip to the Central Coast, in which I packed up the car and the kids, put (the wrong) petrol in the fuel tank, and had to abort the whole expedition when my engine nearly blew up.
Still, it wasn't great.
I spent the morning packing, which is not easy with two kids determined to make mess, and a third determined not to let go of my leg. I then packed up the car, packed up the kids, and drove to the petrol station, where I spent an anxious ten minutes checking obsessively that I was putting the right fuel in the tank.
After another brief stop to buy essential supplies for the journey (including chips, Coke Zero, and a four-pronged Push Pop), we embarked on the long, treacherous drive to the Coast (long because it's 90 minutes, and treacherous because... well... I was at the wheel). By the time we pulled up in my parents' driveway I was exhausted and starving, and very much looking forward to a tuna sandwich and a nice lie down.
The kids ran ahead to the front door, but I stayed behind to lug the bags inside. This is because a) I am responsible and considerate, and b) my father hadn't come out to help me, despite c) me calling me plaintively.
So I climbed out of the car, grabbed a bag, and stepped onto a nest of Fire Ants.
The pain was excruciating. I ran into the house screaming, much to the befuddlement of my parents, who are used to me being very calm and composed*. I rocked on the couch in agony, my toe blazing with (ant) fire, bullets of pain shooting up my foot. And there I remained, pitifully, for the first two hours of my stay in heaven, an ice cube clutched to my toe, and several dozen painkillers sloshing around my belly.
Happily, the rest of the day was quite uneventful. But it's only been 24 hours and in this family, really, anything can happen....
*that may be a lie