Thursday 29 Sep 2016

Losing My Poise
Jennifer Flaten

As I lie sprawled, flat on my back on the pavement, with several contractors staring down at me, I wondered how exactly I get myself into these circumstances.

This particular day started out normal, well as normal as you get in my family. We had a water main break over the weekend. The contractor said he'd arrive at seven am sharp. I had no worries that I would be up in time, the kids normally wake me up well before seven. I wanted to make sure I was ready, if the workers needed anything. I felt it would be unseemly to greet them in my pjs.

Once the construction equipment began to arrive on our street, the kids sprang into action as the official play-by-play commentators. They position themselves in front of the plate glass window. Fearing the workers would begin to think we were abnormal, I encouraged the kids to get away from the window. They, of course, demanded to know why I had to explain that some people don't like other people watching their every move.

The utility marking company arrived. Their spray marking equipment fascinated the kids. There was much giggling and jostling by the window as the utility markers came close to the house. This fascinated the kids; they began peppering me with questions like: how do they find the spots, why doesn't the paint run in the snow and so on.

My head was beginning to ache. Then the dog got in on the action, the workers need to come inside, now was the dogs time to shine! He began barking and doing his guard dog routine. I managed to shove him out of the way and speak to the contractors. They just needed to get into the basement. After closing the door on them, the questions began again "why did they need to get in the basement?" "What were they looking for?" I checked my watch, wasn't it time for school yet?

Mercifully, the kid's favourite morning program came on. Should they watch that or the excitement unfolding outside? The glowing box won, they arranged themselves comfortably in front of the television. Suddenly, it was quiet. I missed the blow-by-blow of the contractor action. Finally, I looked out the window myself. They contractors were doing what contractors do best: stand around, waiting.

At last, some action, a flat bed carrying the digger arrived. This caused a stir with the kids. They dragged themselves away from the TV to watch the workers break into the ground.

We got into a brief heated discussion about whether the concrete breaker would be loud or not. I just casually mentioned that I thought it would be loud. The kids, being kids, and prone to disagree with anything an adult says, insisted it wouldn't be.

Finally, the moment we had all been waiting for, the digger began scooping large clumps of dirt out of the hole. The kids had now resumed play by play. I now was privy to every scoop and swing the digger made.

I checked my watch only a few more minutes until we left for school. Thank goodness, maybe then I could have peace and quiet. At this point, the water was off and there was nothing I could do domestically it was like a mini-vacation!

Just as I was considering sitting down for a moment, there was a soft knock at the door. The lead plumber, having survived one dog attack was not about to risk another. He quietly asked if I would mind moving my car. Something chewed at me. Might the dirt under removal slowly slide, off the pile, to engulf my car? He offered to move it for me. Some people are helpful. Since he was the overpaid plumber, I figured, best let him spend his time plumbing. I grabbed my keys and headed outside to move the car.

After finding the only available spot, about a block away, I parked the car. I began my trek back to the house. Since, our front door had frozen shut recently; I had no choice but to go in through the garage, even though this meant maneuvering around all the heavy equipment.

Approaching the dig site, I waved to the digger operator. He stopped the digger and motioned that I should pass. Great, I just need to hurry to get by I didn't want to hold them up any longer than necessary. With that thought in mind, I took a large quickstep; next, I knew, I was flat on my back on the ground. Seriously, I never even felt myself slip I didn't even have a chance to regain my footing. One minute I was upright the next sprawled on the ground.

All the workers hurried. "Was I all right," they asked. I was physically fine. The bruising was to my ego. I scrambled upright, smiled and managed to walk into the house without further incident.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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