Nice Fall, Have a Good Trip

It was a strange day, in that I did home maintenance work, but didn’t get hurt.

Not exactly.

I closed all the storm windows, and replaced some screens. I still have creases in some of my finger bones from doing that in previous autumns.

I started up the furnace without so much as a single explosion. Our furnace uses hot water heat: Nice, even heating, without the pain and dust of blowers and ducts. However, it was constructed during the Nixon administration. Turning it off in the spring is kind of like a cliffhanger at the end of a TV season, when you’re not sure if the show’s going to be canceled.

I climbed on the roof to clean out a gutter, which drains water from the second floor, and eventually, onto my head. This requires me to stand on a rubber-coated flat portion of my roof. The last time I tried that when the roof was wet, I did an uncanny imitation of Charlie Brown trying to kick Lucy’s football, complete with “Aaaarrrrgggghhhhh!”

All went boringly well, which I found very exciting.

To clean the other gutters I had to climb a ladder. As a firefighter of over three decades I have a great deal of experience climbing ladders. I’ve climbed ladders with fifty feet of fire hose draped over one shoulder, while carrying an ax in my other hand, with a forty pound air bank on my back, in zero visibility and zero degrees temperature. At no time on a fire scene have I ever had a mishap on a ladder. At home, while cleaning the gutters, I once had a twenty foot extension ladder fall on my ear.

The gutters are now clean. No life-threatening incidents ensued.

Honestly, I was beginning to despair of having anything to write about as I finished my fall prep work and went inside. There my wife asked me to get some frozen meat out of the garage freezer.

So I guess it’s her fault.

My garage is presently junk central. I know what you’re thinking, and no, yours isn’t as bad as mine. It presently has in it three lawn mowers, due to past misadventures. There are also four giant cardboard boxes, the kind you put major kitchen appliances in, which we’d procured to build a fort for the grand-twins. There are several lawn-sized trash bags full of aluminum cans–we save them until we get over a hundred pounds, which gets us a better price at the recycling place. Out of room, I’d balanced one of them on my wheelbarrow. There are more tools than at Doc’s Hardware, of the variety you’d usually find in a medieval torture chamber, and half of them are on the floor. There is 250 feet worth of extension cord and 50 feet of garden hose. For all that, I have never, ever fallen in my garage.

Until I had in my hand four packages of frozen meat, weighing perhaps fifteen pounds in all. For the record that included hamburger, sausage, chops, and steak.

I closed the freezer door, turned, and fell over.

It was pretty much as simple as that. Something got behind my feet, and that was that. On the way down my upper thighs hit a lawn mower, which made the rest of me go down that much harder. My head caved in a large wire animal cage which, I’m happy to point out, was unoccupied.

The good news is that the concrete floor broke the rest of my fall.

Then the huge cardboard box slowly tipped over directly toward me. It was full of bags of aluminum. Well, it was.

The whole thing was right out of a Home Alone movie.

So I lay there, taking inventory. Something (the mower’s gas cap, I think) was jammed into my upper thigh. The bags had not broken open, so I hadn’t suffocated in an avalanche of pop cans, and the bags were easily thrown aside. I was still holding three of the four frozen packages. The other problem was that, with my legs flung over the mower and my head jammed against the cage, I wasn’t at all sure I would be able to get up.

I quickly formulated a plan. I would text to my wife: “Watson, come here; I want to see you”. This was the first thing said by Bell on the first telephone call, and I figured she’d appreciate the humor. Too bad I’d left my phone inside.

So it took a little while to get off the floor, but eventually I did, and the rest is anticlimactic. Ibuprofen, muscle salve, literally rolling out of bed the next morning. If I had a buck for every time my back hurt, I’d buy a chiropracter. I still can’t sit properly, as the gas cap seems to have actually bounced off my left upper femur.


The irony there is that I was assaulted by the same mower I wrote about a few months ago, the one I had so many problems with. Revenge?

Or just one final indignity?

That one.


This home “improvement” sent me into physical therapy.
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2 thoughts on “Nice Fall, Have a Good Trip”

    1. As far as DIY work, I’d rather not. Yet I get started on it anyway (as opposed to finishing), leaving my wife to say that rather than be devoted, I should be committed.

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