Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fire Pit of Reasons....#1-4

...for my giraffe legs staying firmly on the ground. ☺ (I'd add pictures, but Blogger isn't cooperating at this time.)

Inspired by the Lovely JC of The Animated Woman (@LittleAnimation) & my comment on her Thrill Ride Adventures. :)

From a young age, VERY young age I learned that being off the ground can have some very dire consequences....Since then there have been many events that have only worked to help ingrain that into my brain, just as I think I'm starting to get brave enough to leave the comfy Earth.

Instead of ending this post with a disclaimer or other such 'you shouldn't pay attention to this tale' I'm going to start with a list of warnings & disclaimer:

* If you are severely scared of heights you probably shouldn't read any further.
* If you have children you may not wish to continue.
* If you have a tendency to take someone else's mishaps and apply them as possibilities in your own life and react accordingly you probably shouldn't proceed either.
* Please advance with caution if you have a heart condition, are pregnant, or other known or unknown health issues that may be direly afflicted by reading these highlights.

All stories you are about to read are the complete truth by my knowledge, my mother can back up at least 75% of these stories, medical records & child services reports can back up almost as many...and the rest, NEVER tell my mother about, she'd KILL me. ((Okay, so if you read my entry that was a Tribute to my Father you'd likely be close to right in your guess that by now my mom likely already knows all these stories, but lets not remind her of them, that would be best for my health.))

Now that that's out of the way I'm hoping you did take me seriously with my warnings...these tales of "Reasons Stephanie Does NOT do Heights" is not for the faint, weak stomached, or otherwise paranoid type persons.

Disclaimer: *I* have never broken a bone, NOR have I ever received a single stitch (outside of ones necessary to deliver my children via cesarean) siblings on the other hand, well....Lets just say I can learn from the mistakes of others.

Stick in the FirePit #1:
*Setting the stage* I am 2 1/2 years old. My brother, Daniel, is 15 months old. My mother is 8 1/2 months pregnant with my sister, Samantha. We are living in a trailer house, on a Navy base 1200+ miles from family, in South Carolina - family is in Arkansas. The year is 1984.

It's a bright, beautiful day in September and after a long day of doing some near last minute shopping, preparations for the new baby sister, and hours waiting on Daddy to get back to land (he's out on the submarine, had been gone for about 6 months and was supposed to be in that day, ended up being delayed by a few hours) Mom decides to take her two toddlers home for an afternoon nap and to take a nap herself.

She gets her two blonde haired blue eyed angles in their beds in the room they share, checks to ensure they have actually settled down for their afternoon nap, then retires to the couch in the living room. If her darling angels should happen to get up from their nap before Mom gets up from hers she'll be able to hear them and also be easily found in case they need her.

*cue Jaws theme music*

The darling, angel faced toddlers decide that they're too excited to fully take a nap, lay there for a few minutes or so, then decide they want to go outside to go play, naptime is over for them! They go out of the bedroom, down the hall, through the kitchen, but what do they find, but their mother snoring soundly on the couch! The door is locked and upon disturbing the slumbering mama find that she's resistant to the pleas to go play outside. So these darling children look for something to occupy themselves with...they enter the forbidden bedroom. The room is bare outside of a few pieces of furniture for the new baby - the perfect room to play in.

After a small fraction of time has passed by it is discovered that the window is open! ahhh! Fresh air! AND??? An escape route. See, the slumber mama is in the other room and has not yet caught onto the fact that her sweet angels are even in this room - now is the PERFECT time to go play outside.

Being the awesome big sister that she is the eldest of the two children is able to reach & see out the window - green grass & yard toys are just on the other side - she pushes the screen out of the window, easy peasy!

Now, everyone knows that if you go first the younger siblings are always bound to tattle tale, so being the concientious big sister that she is, she gave her little brother a boost so that he too could go outside, seeing as he's not able to reach the window by himself just yet and there's no handy climbing apparatuses available. She lifts him up, pushes him up by his feet, and out he goes - KERPLUNK! Head first into the...remember we're in a trailer house...hitch of the trailer. Now it's the elder sister's turn to go outside...except she realizes a few moments later that she may be tall enough to reach & see out the window she's completely unable to actually climb out the window itself.

The big sister does what any noble sibling does when faced with such a catastrophe - she runs and tells Mom: DANIEL IS OUTSIDE!!! I WANNNA GO OUTSIDE! IT'S NOT FAIR!

This rouses the slumbering mama - she's up!!! SUCCESS!!! Outside we go. And I think that's likely the first time I really remember getting in what could be considered a "shitton" of trouble for helping out one of my siblings. Daniel ended up needing 62 stitches to close the gash in his head - 27 years or so later he still lives...

BUT I learned a VALUABLE lesson that day - Windows are not good substitutes for doors, especially if they're up off the ground.

((You REALLY don't wanna know how over the next few weeks his eyes also ended up in bandages because that same older sister thought she'd be helpful & give him a bath - with liquid laundry detergent while also helping Mom & Dad bring in the groceries...or how a few days after that, while not only was his head still bandaged, his eyes bandaged, and his hands basically taped & bandaged so he didn't tear off the other bandages, his sister helped him out the front door, resulting in him falling down the concrete steps, thus busting his nose & knee....HEY, we were in a hurry that day - Mom was in labor & Dad was finally home!!))

See, all that was PROOF that from an early age I was a VERY helpful big sister and despite all my great intentions I got into a LOT of trouble all because of my younger siblings.

Stick in the Fire Pit #2:
*Scene Set* A few years have gone by, Dad is no longer in the Navy, we're in the middle of building our first house. There are three children now, a fourth is on his way. Children are ages 5, 3, 2, & 6 months gestation. We're living at Grandma's house, just up the hill from where our house is being built by my Dad, my Godfather & some high school buddies of Dad's. Mom is working 40 hours a week at a night shift job, so we're left in the care of Grandma, her husband, and our Schizophrenic Bi-polar Aunt (before medications worked to actually HELP someone with schizophrenia/bi-polar live a normal life). Daniel & I were both in Head Start just down the road, by the airport.

It was a BEAUTIFUL spring day - my 5th birthday in fact. My last year at the Head Start, I was moving up to Kindergarten in the Fall! It was an EXCITING day - FINALLY 5! Like every 5 year old who is told she can do/have anything she wanted I completely believed all these adults, I trusted that when they said that they meant it. So of course, during recess reading hour, with the huge monkey bar thing that 20 some off kids could climb all on at the same time even, I knew that day was going to be the day I could climb up to the very top & sit in the lovely pockets created by the tarp that had been draped over it to discourage climbing & create shade underneath. I enlisted the company of some of my classmates, because really, who wants to hang out alone at the top of such an awesome device! We head up there.

First to the top wins! We (my two buddies & I) were almost halfway up, just to the edge of the tarp when the teachers caught sight of us and instructed us to get down RIGHT NOW! I obliged, I wasn't one for breaking rules, even if it was my birthday. I climbed down & slipped myself back into the group that was sitting, quietly, under the tarp, on the grass. Friend K & A continued the quest, because you know, first to the top wins! A few rungs later & another warning scold from the teacher Friend A comes back down, tearing a small rip in the tarp as she does so. Friend K continues...she's one to do this every day, she's not going to let a little bit of trouble stand in her way of winning this race to the top.

She makes it. Chooses the square she wishes to recline in, nothing the teachers can do about it until she's ready to come back down, they have 40 some off other preschoolers to keep in line and there's only 5 or 6 of them, total, and sits there in the hammock of the tarp.

If I were to guess I'd say these squares ((err, rectangles)) are roughly 2 foot by 18 inches. That day we got to tour a fire truck in the playground. See, the tarp finished ripping as she was laying in the square hammock...the top of this jungle gym/monkey bar thing was roughly 10 feet in the air...and there hung Friend one knee and holding on by one hand. Forget any desire I EVER had of EVER even THINKING about attempting to beat anyone up that thing! The panic & screams & utter chaos just did me in. I learned something very valuable that day as well - I don't care for the limelight all that much and thankfully I had the good sense to listen to the teacher & get down from there or it could have been me...and I was a toothpick kid back then I don't think I would have been so lucky.

((My dad, since he was one of the main parent volunteers, took down the upper portion of that thing over the weekend. My punishment for being one of the ones who'd attempted that climb, besides being the daughter of the guy who tore down the most awesome playground toy ever, was I had to pick up all the nails I could find out of the yard around the house that the guys were done putting the shingles on.))

Stick in the Fire Pit #3 & #4:

*Stage set* We're a bit older now, Mom is no longer pregnant, I'm about 8 years old, Daniel is about 7, Samantha 6, Duke is 3. My mom has a younger half-brother who is only about 6 years older than me, so he was in that weird early teenager phase of life. He was into skate boards, had an awesome bike, the works! He even had a water bed! WAAAAAAYY COOOL! ((Have I ever mentioned that I was a COMPLETE tomboy when I was a kid? No? Ok, well, I'll mention that now, I was QUITE the tomboy growing up.)) Other useful tidbit for this story:
My parents were absolutely into skating, we were at the roller rink at least once a week - they met at the skating rink, they were AWESOME skaters, but by this time (mid-80s) roller skating was something old people did - you know, folks my parents' age (25 & 27 at the time) and I ABSOLUTELY SUCKED at roller skating. My toothpick, giraffe like, one day I'm going to be a basketball star, everyone knew it, legs just REFUSED to coordinate well enough to be able to operate rollerskates, so I spent most of my time on my butt and being ran over (stick #3).

I thought my Uncle S was the COOLEST person EVER. He had all these awesome things and he lived in town, which meant the road was paved & basically flat, as opposed to the dirt road hill we lived halfway down. He had a skateboard, which was the coolest of the coolest things EVER. It was a skateBOARD - absolutely totally different than individual rollerskates, where my feet would go three different directions, on a skateboard though, my feet would be together, on the same flat surface, with one occasionally even touching the ground, not under the power of the wheels. Despite MANY pairs of ripped jeans, knees, elbows, and the occasional face plant I was determined to conquer this cool thing. ((What the hell are these helmets, knee pans, & elbow pads that you're thinking of?!))

Ok, horrible thoughts about my parents not caring enough about our safety to ensure that their children, who owned neither bikes nor skateboards, and this was like 1990, parents, at least mine, hadn't started the whole hovering movement yet, and onto the reason why this warrants mention in my 'fire pit of reasons'....

It has already been established that I have giraffe legs. At this point in time I've not yet hit puberty, so they're still toothpick giraffe legs. I was 8 and stood 5'2" tall and weighed maybe a whole 60 pounds. By this time it is well documented & known that I have the grace of a newborn giraffe, on the side of a mountain, even if the surface is flat. I think it has also been established that I have an uncanny desire to help other folks and I rarely do anything all by myself. What you don't know yet is that directly across the street from my grandfather's house there is some construction going on. This construction is work to put in a rain runoff ditch for that part of town - basically a manmade concrete & railroad tie creek, roughly 5 feet deep.

Remember too that I am only about 8 years uncle was 'keeping an eye on us' playing in the street, folks & grandparents are inside doing whatever adults do when they're only having to really entertain a 3 year old and the other 4 kids (ages 14, 8, 7, & 6) are outside, playing in the street, that is under construction, with no construction workers out there, because it's the weekend and we have a skateboard and a 10 speed bike.

Now, this is before 'extreme sports' was televised or even popular...more one of those things 'punk inner city kids' who were into things like drugs and causing trouble were into, not your typical suburban or country farm kids. So there's no reason to assume that because there are ramps, etc laying around from the construction going on that these kids would ever dream of even attempting such stunts. This is my testament that kids really don't have to be influenced by the television to think of things....

We constructed our own ramps & created dares to go with our obstacle courses. The bike is really too big for anyone to operate even remotely correctly except for the 14 year old uncle and he determines that it would be best that we (the younger kids) should use the skateboard. Since he lives right here he's practiced these jumps and such. I still haven't managed to figure out how to keep my butt or knees off the ground, but I'm POSITIVE I can stand on the board while going down a ramp into a 5 foot deep hole in the ground, it's really not that far.

I get the momentum up...things are going great. I hit the ramp. No, seriously, I hit the edge of the ramp, the board stops. I do not. Stupid inertia & gravity combination! But because I have such WONDERFUL control over what my feet & legs do I see the imminent fall & possible injuries coming towards me, so I pull a stunning move to get off the board in the same moment that it crashed. Then, in super slow motion, it might have taken me AT LEAST 15 minutes to make that fall, my foot gets tangled in one of the cinder blocks laying there that we had moved to help build our ramp. I am dangling there, foot in the block above, my head roughly a foot above the concrete floor of this new drainage ditch. After a bit of 'creative ingenuity' my uncle & siblings are able to get me back up to the street level. Nothing broken!

Lesson I learned that day: I can't do anything that entails wheels under my feet. My reasoning is that my legs are just too long, lanky, & just are unable to coordinate cooperation with the rest of my body to keep me upright. Even into my adult years now I am retaught this lesson, except I've not bothered with roller skates, blades, or skateboards...I can face plant to the ground by just walking across flat, clean surfaces while barefoot & sober.

So, this is installment number one in my series of fire-pitted reasons my giraffe legs & I just don't shouldn't leave the safety of the Earth. You can also read here about how even my bouncing blue eyed 3 year old has even jumped on the bandwagon of reconfirmation of my stand to stay, well, standing, on the ground.

I'm only up to age 8 in this installment. Age 10 & 11 are real winners, but I won't put them in this post. I'm sure your health & sanity thank me.

1 comment:

  1. Ha! I love how your "uncanny desire to help other folks" gets you AND them in to trouble.

    Looking forward to the next instalment!!