It started as such a happy day.
After a busy first week of school, Saturday dawned with the chance to collectively exhale and clean the house without the tyranny of an agenda ruling our time. The kids began by cleaning their closets. This seems like a simple chore, but realize that with the older house that we have, the kids’ closets are roomier than some NYC studio apartments.
Feeling inspired by the kids’ cleaning and tidying, Carla and I started trolling our own cupboards and purging our excesses. Carla unveiled her stores of jewelry and began doling it out to the kids, well, the girls anyway. One of the girls took her new silver earrings and ran to our bathroom sink to use the silver cleaner and rejuvenate the jewelry. Apparently the euphoria of receiving Mom’s jewelry prohibited certain neurons from firing properly and the jewelry-cleaning frenzy was not preceded by a plugging of the drain.
A frantic call to Dad ensued . . .
Now let me pause right here and acknowledge a couple of truths. First, home repair or improvement projects cause a rash to break out over exactly 4/7 of my body. Second, on the Pritchard Scale of Handiness, I’ve routinely scored a negative 81 or below. Third, if I was Catholic, handyman-type projects would need to be followed in quick succession by two trips to confession, one for the projection of weighty invective emanating from my lips, the second for the full quiver of thoughts about how I’d like to strangle Bob Vila. Fourth, my children know all of this about me. Most home repair projects begin with Carla loading up the kids and taking them to a bunker somewhere to avoid the nuclear fall-out. In fact, last summer when Carla was working and I was home with the children, I attempted to hang some mini-blinds in our son’s bedroom. Seeing as how Carla was working and our eldest is not yet at a legal driving age, no safe de-militarized zone existed for the kids for this project. Thus, they just strapped on the flak jackets and huddled in the basement, far from the line of fire.
The project actually went pretty well. I used an electric drill to “pre-drill” (a handyman term I’ve become acquainted with) some holes. With relative ease I hung the blinds in a quasi-level manner. I pulled the string and the blinds retracted in unison, falling into their pre-determined places like a synchronized chorus line. Everything went swimmingly well . . . until . . . dizzy with giddiness, I stepped off the ladder . . . and into the path of . . . the ceiling fan spinning around at full speed.
The blade caught me square on the side of the head, right on the temple, knocking me to the ground and causing me to bellow a cry of anguish that surely put the kids in a quandary. Should they come and see what happened or stay out of sight and hope for a medic helicopter to miraculously appear? Perhaps out of morbid curiosity or simple love for their forebear, they came running and discovered me on the ground, clutching my head and trying to stop the blood from escaping too rapidly from my open wound.
To be honest, I’m not sure whether the episode scarred them or me worse. Thus, when my daughter sounded the jewelry alarm, I hauled quite a bit of emotional and Black and Decker-themed baggage into the bathroom with me.
The happy day turned into a long day . . .