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Wednesday, 17 March 2010

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i actually did this once. ok - not exactly, but with eerily similar overtones. and of course, i'm not a cat (i really shouldn't have to be drawing attention to this sort of detail).

the "well crap" moment i am referring to took place many years ago in my parents' house in vancouver. i still lived there so i must have been around 15. the house had an entrance on the ground floor, but the living area was on the first floor - reached by a rather steep staircase with one 90 degree turn about one-third up. there was a ceiling light above the bend, which had burned out.

my family is not the sort of family that have ladders. we don't really do diy, or gardening per se. i do, now sometimes, but growing up - these things were things that "dads in garages" did. we didn't have a garage, and if we did, my dad would have used it as ancillary book storage.

so the ceiling light had burned out, and it stayed burned out for lack of said ladder. one day, i decided that i could fix this without a ladder. i was home alone (a simple fact that would later have frightening and humiliating consequences) and bored. this was a fairly constant state of mind for me as a teenager which, looking back, would have been completely alleviated by the internet - but alas, it was 1989.

the reasoning behind my confidence lay in a thin dado rail that ran around the stairwell walls at the level of the top stair landing. i found that, in sock feet, i could balance one foot on each side of the dado railing and edge out over the stairs towards the light, crab-style. i held the replacement light bulb - gently - between my teeth, and edged out over the stairwell towards the light fitting, until i could grab it for balance. I unscrewed the defunct bulb and screwed in the new one.

"i must switch it on" i thought, and then realised to my horror that effecting the same maneuverer backwards was going to be rather more difficult - nay, impossible. i couldn't turn around on the narrow rail, and without something to grab for balance, i couldn't move without risking falling fifteen feet onto the steep staircase.

my parents, as i remember, were not as surprised as one might expect to return to their home and find their daughter balanced precariously 15 feet above the stairwell, spread-eagled, clutching the light-fitting and, it must be admitted, pretty pleased to see them. i don't remember them laughing at the time but i may have been too busy trying to get the circulation back into my numb feet.

i would love to say that's the only time i completely mis-judged spatial ratios but unfortunately that was only the beginning...

1 comments:

Geosomin said...

I'm trying to imagine you up there over your stairwell...that was a long way up. You are braver than I.

How many hours were you up there ? :)