Summer dilemma

School has finished for summer and the temperature is steadily climbing to unbearable.  The girls are playing in the sandpit and I am sitting nearby examining various canisters.  It is a hot sunny day and the bugs are out.  I have sunblock and bug spray before me.  Last year I was awash with guilt when my daughters’ scalps were reduced to a bloodied mess by some blood sucking vampire gnats.  I did have bug spray last year, but I kept forgetting to use it until it was too late – this year I am determined to be better.

I squint horribly, trying to read the black writing on the dark green background of the can of bug spray.  I briefly consider using a magnifying glass, but that is too close to admitting I need to wear the bifocals I was prescribed six months ago (and have never worn).  I give up trying to read what materials shouldn’t be sprayed and give the girls a good all over squirt.  I watch with interest to see if their clothes start to melt, but nothing happens.

I can read the sunblock directions easily, but I am uneasy about the mix of chemicals.  I wonder what sort of toxic mess I might unwittingly create if I spray them with sunblock too.  Will they grow extra limbs, or even worse, an extra mouth?  Perhaps they might melt into a pool of slime.  I abandon the sunblock.  Today they can burn, tomorrow they can be bitten.

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