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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
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Monday
Oct072013

Wherein Serge Gets To Slap Me

We like to take what we call a "nature walk" on the weekends. It makes us feel like good parents and it gives the kids and dogs a chance to run around and get tired so they stop talking to us for three seconds so we can just watch one more episode of Breaking Bad on DVD.

Henry: Can we talk about animals again?
Serge: That should be the title of your autobiography, kid."


These "nature walks" consist of loading everyone in the SUV and heading to a hiking trail in a nearby canyon. We go to the same trail every time. It's a storybook forest with a small creek meandering nearby for the dogs to splash in and gulp from when they get hot and thirsty. We walk up the trail until the ratio of minutes spent listening to kids complain surpass the minutes spent enjoying nature and then we turn around and go home.

Yesterday, like always, we loaded up and drove to our trail. This time a strange woman was sitting in her car parked at the base of the trail. Usually we're alone but it's not uncommon to find someone engaged in their own bit of nature lovin'. One time we came upon a couple enjoying nature together while bent over the hood of their car. Much to my disappointment, they immediately got in their car and drove away when we pulled up.

Serge and I weren't surprised by them wanting to enjoy nature together in such a manner so much as by what she was holding while enjoying nature. We spent the entire hike discussing the fact that she was gripping one of those big 'Double Gulp' fountain drinks while they were 'enjoying nature' together. I thought it was a fantastic idea because couldn't we all use a sip of Diet Coke every now and again while 'enjoying nature?' In fact, I might demand a Double Gulp next time Serge wants to 'enjoy nature' but Serge feels like a barrel of soda would detract from his nature enjoyment.

We let the dogs out of the car, unbuckle the kids and begin to head up the trail, Serge in the lead with the dogs, Henry, Violet and I trailing behind him. Not ten steps up the trail Serge yells.

"Ouch!"

I'm about ten feet behind Serge, calling to the kids who are climbing the rocks that mark the entrance to the trail. I look toward him and he's doing an odd sort of arm-waving, head bobbing jig. I roll my eyes, figuring this another of Serge's "hilarious" jokes.

"I just got stung by a bee! There's another one! Shit!"

At first I think he's kidding but now, as I watch him drop the dog leashes, begin frantically batting the air around him with his arms, and then jig toward me while flailing around, I realize there are a cloud of bees swarming his body. "Another one! I just got stung again!"

At about the same time it dawns on me that this is no joke I realize bees are coming at me. They land on my head, my arms, my chest. The buzzing is so close to my ears it sounds like an airplane roaring overhead. I start swatting around and then one is walking on my eyebrow. I try to swat it away with my hand but it's stuck there, buzzing angrily.

I turn to see Serge slapping around at his own body and I'm screaming at him "Help me! Help me! They're all over me! It's on my eye!"

I remember him kind of flapping at my face and then grabbing my head and wildly shaking it and I'm thinking, How is this going to help? and, of course, it doesn't. The bee is still crawling on my eye and Serge is getting frantic so he hauls off and slaps it a good one, which entails slapping me a good one, and I don't even feel it because I'm so terrified. The bee falls off and he grabs my arm and we're running to the kids and slapping and flailing and I feel two more bees sting me. I lift up my shirt and bees fly out and Serge is fumbling with the keys while I'm swatting bees away from the kids and he opens the doors and I'm throwing kids in the car but bees are flying into the car.

"Out! Out! Everybody out of the car!"

I'm chucking kids back out of the car and trying to swoop all the bees out of the car but there are more bees outside than inside and I just want to drive away but I don't want my kids in the car with bees but Oh My God they are everywhere outside so I toss them back into the car and we're each attempting to buckle them in their seats while swatting at bees and Serge gets stung again in the process, then he and I are jumping in the front seat but there are at least five bees swarming around the windshield so we jump back out and flap around trying to get the bees out of the car and off of us and I get stung again and the kids are laughing because we look like some kind of Abbott & Costello vaudeville routine, flapping and dancing and screaming and the woman in the other car is staring at us from her car as if we're insane WHICH WE ARE.

Finally, we're in the car and driving away and another goddamned bee is swarming around the backseat and lands on Violet's window so I flop between the seats and roll down the window and the bee flies out and Serge is still driving and I notice a bunch more bees buzzing around in the cargo area above the dogs.

"Pull over! Pull over! There are more in the car!"

Serge pulls over and rolls down all the windows so I can flap around pushing bees out until I can't see or hear any more in the car. My eye is pulsing, my boob is throbbing - a bee stung my boob - and Serge has at least three welts that I can see but not a single bee stung my kids.

We drive home in post-adrenaline exhaustion, constantly feeling phantom bees crawling in our hair and under our clothes. We both begin to laugh at the comedy routine we must've made for the woman parked near us, watching as Serge grabs my head in both hands and gives it a good shake before slapping the bee off my eye. He got the little bastard off but not before it stung me something good. My boob is probably swollen too but I can't tell because it's already the size of Kanye's ego.



We are giggling in amazement that neither our kids or dogs got stung when a bee rises up from the dashboard area. Without hesitating I smash the motherfucker into the windshield with my shoe, turn to Serge and say, "Admit it. You kind of enjoyed the opportunity to slap me a good one, didn't you?"

Reader Comments (21)

Amazing storytelling/writing. You and Serge are my favorites — what a power team.

October 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle Horton

Wow, I'm glad you were able to avoid any kids getting stung. I can imagine the pandemonium! When I was little my four brothers had the [not so] clever idea of setting off a timer beside a be hive. What resulted was about 6 kids, they had friends over, running madly into the house and everywhere trying to outrun the bees. Outrunning bees really doesn't work! It's quite a crazy cartoon-like memory. I hope you and Serge aren't feeling too much pain now!

October 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate

This is the best thing I've read in a long time. Sorry about your eye, but thanks.

October 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmelia

Oh my god thank you for that laugh. I'm sorry you had to deal with that, but your storytelling was spot on.

October 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharon @ Discovering Blog

OH MY GOD YOUR EYE! I was cracking up at this story but in a jesus, that's flippin' terrifying kind of a way.

October 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Well this in itself is a BIG gulp story... and I am GLAD you can laugh about it now because I am absolutely shaken at the thought of anyone in your family being swarmed and stung by angry bees. OMG. Out in the wilderness no less. Stung multiple times. You people sure are troopers. AND It's a Miracle that your children were spared. AND the dogs. And YOU with your eye condition and all. Oh man oh manochevitz! This one is scarier than the time you went running from the snake root with Violet in your arms and wound up on the table. From now on I suggest maybe you guys get some of that bee netting. Not my favorite Bielanko family! I used to hike alone up in the mountains of Washington State until one day I felt the ground pounding under my feet like someone really heavy running and I turned around and RAN all the way back to my car....

October 7, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergina

Please call your doctor and e-mail him/her a picture of your eye. You may be able to take something to ease the swelling.

October 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarole

I am terrified of bees and this is probably one of my worst nightmares!

October 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDanni

Please listen to Carole,

October 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSue

The swelling is almost gone, you guys! No worries!

October 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who...

Wait, so the swelling was from being stung, not from the eye swap/slap right? Either way, it is impressive.....!

I stepped in a bee hive once in eighth grade and it was terrible--got stung like 50+ times. For a few years after I would have the phantom bee feeling when I would run for sports practice. Completely traumatizing!

October 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMeghan

Ouch! Hope you aren't allergic! I found out the hard way after hanging laundry directly over a yellow jacket nest. Sigh.

October 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Domestic Goddess

@The Domestic Goddess - I don't think I'm allergic. I've been stung a couple times this year before this and I always swell up for a day and then it goes away.

October 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who...

I was legit laughing out loud and then I got to the picture of your eye....ahhhh!!
still hilarious. but also, shit, ow.

October 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermr

HOLY CRAP, YOUR EYE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

October 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndee

I anticipate another future great story as a result of this picture. Either Violet or Henry or future bay x finding this picture and showing it to a teacher/show and tell as the time my dad slapped my mom a good one!! ;)

October 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Dude!!! Your eye!!!! Are you doing OK?

October 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Oh know but how hilarious at the same time.

October 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterErika

OMG, this story is TERRIFYING. I might be seriously afraid of things that fly and can bite and sting. ugh.

October 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjill

Now that the swelling has gone down, I can tell you that if I had been stung and had a swollen eye like that, I know for sure that my son or one of my brothers would have said that the bee laid eggs and I could expect that babies would be bursting forth anytime.

I know this because I've been bitten by spiders before and been told that the swollen spots contained eggs.... Even though I knew the spots were swollen from bites, it was hard to sleep imagining spider babies bursting out of my ankle and hand. An eye is much more gruesome!

You're welcome, lunchtime readers.

October 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStarsky

OMG, Monica, I have tears running down my face. Helluva story!

November 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlice

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