Here I sit, eating my open-faced cheese and tomato sandwich on the slightly sour, dense Polish bread. I piled the tomatoes on thick, and even spread the bread with butter first because I was in need of some serious comfort food. I was hoping that eating these sandwiches would help stop me from being so shaky and subdue the butterflies in my stomach.
It's not what it may sound like. There were housebreakers just now. Three of them, in fact, sneaking in through the balcony door. But I didn't call the police on them. After all, they were just me, myself and I. I believe it was all legal.
Aaron went down for his nap and I decided to do some cleaning (which of course, means first mess around on the computer and then force myself to clean when I realize that it might not be too long before the boy wakes up at which point there will be far too much yanking on of pants and "Ah, Dah?"s for me to do any more real cleaning). I swept the stairs and brought the vacuum cleaner downstairs. Then I went outside to shake the kitchen rug.
If I'd had my brain turned on full power I would have remembered how annoying it had been sweeping the stairs with a breeze blowing sporadically through, trying to scatter all the dust from my dustpan (not that there was very much dust, of course, since (cough) I always sweep the stairs (cough) every other day, exactly like I planned when we first moved in here (cough, cough, coughing fit. Must be that dust that escaped in the wind)...). I also would have noticed the breeze that blew from behind me when I opened the front door.
I stepped onto the porch, started shaking the rug, and, with a sense of alarm, heard, almost in slow motion, the door slamming shut. I've mentioned before that our door locks automatically (although I believe it was in the comments).This is the first time since that post that I have been locked out. Since then, I almost always keep my house keys in my pocket, just in case. This was one of those other days. I knew that Greg would be bringing the kids home within an hour. I also knew that I am no longer equipped with the mental necessaries to keep myself entertained for one hour, nor did I have a book (maybe I should just start keeping a book in my pocket. Or some magazines on the porch or something). It was imperative that I find a way in!
I climbed (in my open toed slippers) through the weeds and piles of sand on the unused lot next door (there's no passage from front to back on our property), to the back and climbed over the spiky topped fence that separates our property from the wasteland. I knew that the balcony door from the living room was open-which had been letting in all the air and therefore had been the biggest source of all my frustrations up to this point, and could even hear the cartoons playing (TV should have been turned off long before this! Sorry, Greg). Now, however, that open door would prove to be my saving grace.
The balcony is up high enough for me to walk under it without ducking (even though it's on the "ground" floor). There was a chair under it that had been used in some recent painting project. I moved it directly under the edge of the balcony and stood on it. It was pretty clear right away that I was still far too short. Then I saw a wheelbarrow, full of dry grass. I moved the chair, wheeled the barrow in it's place and was overjoyed to find that the chair fit inside perfectly and the whole thing was really stable.
I climbed up thinking this was it! From here I could perfectly follow the plot of the cartoon, watching it's reflection in the glass of the open door. Yay! I was home!! Well, first I had to get up and over, I suppose, but practically home. I spent 3 minutes gathering up the courage, and finally jumped and grabbed two of the flat, twisted, vertical rails as high up as I could and banged my elbow. I soon realized that I was just hanging by these rails with my arms bent and flexed, holding up all my weight, hoping that my stomach muscles would help me to lift my right leg up high enough to get it onto the overhanging balcony floor. Um, no.
I lowered myself back onto the chair, thinking, "I'm SURE I can do this." While I was gathering up courage again I started thinking about it not working out and the chair tumbling from under me and me falling and breaking a bone for the first time in my life. I worried that I am maybe at or past the age at which your body never fully recovers from a broken bone. Who CARES!?! I tried again. Same thing as before, only this time my upper arms had a nice little rest on the sharp corner of the edge of the balcony. Failure. And Bruises.
I got all the way down, moved the wheelbarrow and chair back under the balcony, climbed back over the spiky fence, waded through the dirty sandy weedy lot and came out on the sidewalk. I decided to go to the neighbors and borrow their phone to call Greg. He was unreachable. I came back home resigned to trying to entertain myself somehow on the front step for an hour.
Then I noticed the tiny plastic chair whose legs almost bend when our kids sit in them these days. HERE was my solution! Back around the sandy lot, over the spiky fence (this time only almost ripping my pants and leaving a slipper on the other side, sliding it up with the plastic chair to retrieve it at the top of the fence), Putting the wheelbarrow in place, putting the big chair in it, climbing on it, taking off my slippers and placing them on the balcony, putting that little plastic chair on top of the other chair, standing on it while trying to hold up most of my weight on the balcony rails, and a quick pull up. . . and OVER!! Over the rails, and the adventure? Over as well.
Home, Sweet Home. Arms, Shaky Arms. Stomach, Fluttery Stomach. How excited do you think I was to vacuum the house after that little adventure? The most effort I'm going to make with these still shaking arms today will be to carry the vacuum back upstairs and put it away. There will be other days for vacuuming.
*I'm aware that this is the longest post ever. I'm also aware that if I removed all the parenthetical content I could make this post half as long. Unfortunately I can't do that. I'm incapable of paraphrasing. If you've read all the way through this, just know that I consider you a real friend.