Saturday, May 25, 2013


Having physically plumbed more stories than all the fire poles in three counties, I fear I have lost my amateur standing as a stair tumbler.  While I don't hire myself out for pay, perhaps I should at least consider that option.

I began these feats when my parents moved into our first two-storied house.  Mother believed in shiny floors.  Once a month, the whole house smelled of Bowling Alley floor wax, a thick translucent paste of amber hue and strong odor, best described as a marriage of petroleum base with a whiff of equine liniment.  It lubricated the old wood and when dry, buffed to a handsome shine.  Along with the shine came the slip-and-slide feature, which was deadly to those in sock or stocking feet.  Since I was young, agile, and wearing socks, my virgin tumble was just bruises and learning experience.  It only happened once, because after that I clung to the banister like a cat on a tree limb.

Years later we moved again; this time to an apartment with treacherous steep steps.  Going to work early one morning, my high heel betrayed me on the top of the landing and I wound up going to work in hose with runs spreading over goose eggs on my shins.

Fast forward to 2001.  Husband and I move into his parents three-story farmhouse.  Opportunity to try all three plunges!  And I do!

The first occasion was the cellar stairs, which was constructed with the original house circa 1910.  Obviously built for a family of midgets, the stairs required the average person to bend forward preventing head bumping while stepping down an incline of short steps ending about 3 feet from a concrete wall.  One could hear sirens just contemplating the scene.

When the cellar light burned out, I grabbed a new bulb in one hand and held a lit candle in the other.  Then I set out to put in the bulb, thereby preventing anyone from falling down the darkened stair, lying helpless, bleeding, and undiscovered for hours after being thrown against the concrete dead end by the force of gravity plus added momentum.  Since the light was well into the center of the cellar, the candle was my only light.  There's something awkward about having both hands occupied, your feet exploring unfamiliar landscape, and your head bent forward against your chest.  Suddenly it becomes evident that someone neglected to give me the tightrope-walking training required and crash went the bulb, out went the candle, and down went the bulb changer ending up nose to the concrete wall.  Get up, go upstairs on hands and knees, and repeat process.  Finally I got it done and there were no bad injuries and even better:  NO WITNESSES!

I try to do too much at once and crash land in the cellar.

The third story contains a huge walk-in attic with a full stair; again, as in the cellar there are no handrails, so feet have to get it right.  Carrying items for storage up and bringing them down involves many steps.  The tricky part is the last few steps going down.  If you forget a couple, as I did, you take an inadvertent giant step propelling you and whatever you're toting at a 45 degree angle into a wall.  If you manage to stay standing, you're good.  I didn't.  No broken bones or lacerations, just bruising and cussing and possible whiplash.

Retrieving items from the attic comes with a price!

The main stair has a handrail, which is no help when you're going for a light switch in the middle of the night and lose your way at the top.  That one hurt.  The list included:  one concussion, two fractured fingers, several fractured bones in the foot, jaw trauma (preventing opening the mouth), temple trauma, and bruising all over.  I stood up and walked next door to CBW's and we went to the nearest hospital, where Husband was sleeping like a baby as a patient.  There is no happy coincidence implied here.  After rigorous examination, I was sent home to visit a specialist the next day for apparatus to wear for three months to help heal fractures.

This boot can impede anything you want to do.
When they asked me what hurt the most, my fingers won.

Once home, Husband marveled at the list of physical damages.  He said his favorite one was the frozen jaw. As if he ever listened to a word I say!


  1. That just makes me smile. And giggle a bit. You are a magnificent story-teller!

  2. Oh ouch! I guess you're on the mend by now.. or you type very well while excluding broken fingers. You tell a fine story indeed. Heal well and stay away from the stairs!

  3. CBMama;
    When did this last tumble occur ?
    Looking at the illustrations of the big goose egg and throbbing fingers---OUCH!Feel better if this mishap is recent.
    Amazing that your husband could not sleep when he was in hospital, and yet did not wake up when you fell...
    May I be your literary agent ? I have no experience, but you need to publish a book, young lady !

    XO, LLC

  4. The fractures and concussion were a few years ago, so I'm sound now. Husband was IN the hospital for an intestinal blockage and sleeping like a baby. I never saw him since I was in the ER.

    I'll never live to write a book, that's why I'm doing this as a record of what I can remember. I love doing it too. So appreciate the comments!

  5. I remembered your hilarious account of the efforts you and the nurses made trying to get your husband to rest during his last hospital stay, including your drawing of him sitting up in the bed...I did not realize your ER visit for a fall had occurred when he was being treated for a blockage...isn't being over 50 a grand adventure? ? So far my sixties have been delightful...Blogs turn into books all the time; the most demanding part might be having to go on a book promotion tour....

  6. OUCH!!!! Luckily I don't fall down stairs, but I do have a tendancy of running into things, like utility poles, or parking meters. I remember my Mother telling the story of me at the ripe age of 4 walking through a plate glass window of a department store. I guess we just don't watch where we are going.

    Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

  7. to say i feel your pain is not an exaggeration or a platitude ... i too excel at falling down ... sigh .... my best fall was the time my shoe stopped walking and i continued .. went heels over head onto the sidewalk on third avenue and 44th street spilling the soup container i was carrying back to my office .. some kindly strangers helped me up, i kept trying to reassure them i was fine and that i was more embarrassed than hurt.

  8. I hope you ask the graceful CBW to fetch things up and down those stairs now. xoxo