Posts Tagged ‘accident prone’


Roy Sullivan was hit by lightning seven times between 1942 and 1977. The chances of this occurring are 4.15 in 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. I can relate. It seems like if something bizarre is going to happen, it’ll happen to me. I have no idea what it is about me that invites this.

Case in point. I flew down to Victoria to see my sister, brother-in-law and adorable nephew (I mean off the charts adorable) a couple weeks ago. My sister fed us wonderfully healthy and tasty food. (Some people were having trouble digesting all those beans. Ahem. But I won’t mention names.) And I initiated the Tube Olympics where we had to shimmy through my nephew’s play tunnel.

On my last evening there, my dad and brother left early and everyone else went to bed early. I was moping a bit about the fun being over. I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth, and I caught sight of the bathtub.

If you know me well, you know I don’t have running water which means that I have to heat water in pots on my wood stove and carry them to my little bath tub. It’s been about a year since I’ve had a bath with more than a few inches of water. And while it is a method of getting clean, shivering in a few gallons of  luke-warm water is far from enjoyable.

I tried to fight the temptation. “Rachel,” I told myself, “what kind of a guest would help themselves to a bath when everyone else is in bed?” But I was like a starving person rationalizing the theft of a hot-out-of-the-oven loaf of bread. “They know I don’t have running water. They’d want me to enjoy a piping hot bath with water all the way to my chin,” the other voice in my head said.

My willpower melted the longer I gazed at the tub. I locked the bathroom door, put the plug down, and turned the water on. I cringed at the noise of the thundering water. My sister had been up much of the previous night with her son, and my brother-in-law had a long day ahead. I hoped I wasn’t waking them up. “Worst guest ever,” I muttered while sinking down into the steaming water.

Bliss. For about one minute I was in heaven. This is so worth it. The water was as high as it would go, and I turned the taps to shut off the water. But nothing. The water still poured full force. I turned the taps the other way . . . and then one at a time. I had to start letting water out so it didn’t overflow.

This isn’t happening to me! Please, God, I pleaded. Please let the water turn off.

By that point I was out of the tub, dripping, and going back and forth between pressing my hands against my face in despair and trying with all my might to turn off the water. I watched all the hot water swirl down the drain. I paced back and forth between the toilet and the bathroom door. I got dressed and went to my sister’s bedroom door and tentatively knocked, but not hard enough to wake them. I pretty nearly just hung my head and cried while the water continued to pour into the bathtub.

Finally, I went down the stairs where my mom and step-dad were sleeping. “Mom, Scott. I tried to have a bath, but now the water won’t turn off and I don’t know what to do.”

So then the three of us were in the bathroom trying to turn off the water. “I just should have resisted the temptation,” I moaned with my head on my mom’s shoulder.

At that point, my sister and brother-in-law were wondering why the water had been running for half an hour and why the three of us were in the bathroom talking. Believe me, no one was sleeping and I was fervently wishing it was all just a bad dream.

By the end of it, even the landlord had to be woken up, and the water for the whole house needed to be shut off for the night. Turns out that the rubber ring inside the tap chose that moment to disintegrate.

Sigh. Groan. Sigh. When I shared my story with a close friend she just laughed, “It would happen to you, Rachel.”

I’m tempted to ask why. Why in all the time they’ve lived at this house—turning that tap on several times a day—did it decide to let go the one night I snuck an illicit bath?

But some people are just lucky like that. 😉

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Phot credit: Blue Sky

Photo credit: Blue Sky

I bet some of you are trying to figure out what type of freak accident would injure both my face and my tailbone. If you know me well, you won’t be surprised to learn it was actually two separate accidents. {sigh}

A couple weeks ago, I flew to Victoria to visit my sister and my adorable nephew. The night before my flight, I stayed with some friends. We played cards until midnight, and it was 1:00 before I fell asleep. I had to be up again soon after 4:00 to catch my flight.

I used the airport washroom before going through security. I think that sleep deprivation is partly to blame for me walking straight into the edge of the bathroom stall door. The blow was enough for me to stagger back.

I came out of the washroom laughing at my stupidity and clutching wet paper towel to my cheek. Miriam (also sleep deprived after I kept her up late and had her drive me to the airport at 4:30 in the morning) shook her head and sent me off after a good hug.

I mostly forgot my encounter with the washroom door, but two days later my sister got a puzzled expression while talking to me and leaned close. “You’ve got a black eye.”

I threw my head back and laughed. Of course I had a black eye. I’d seen it on movies, women with a black eye from abuse claiming they’d walked into a door. It was ridiculous. How can you get a black eye from walking into a door? Couldn’t they come up with a better excuse? And now I was going home to tell my husband I’d gotten a black eye from walking into a door. Oh, the irony.

Kevin was as shocked as I thought he’d be. “I walked into the washroom door at the airport,” I explained. His eyebrows shot up in disbelief. “Miriam was there.” But he still seemed skeptical. I flopped onto the couch laughing. “Do you really think I’m making it up?”

Kevin suppressed a smile. “No, I think you really could walk into a door and get a black eye.”

Hmmm. I guess that’s only fair. My whole life has been fraught with stupid accidents from breaking both arms as a child to falling down the stairs twice in the first months we moved into our house.

I thought I’d gotten more sensible since then. I stopped breaking all the dishes in the house and worked on focusing on the task at hand instead of constantly daydreaming.

But another accident less than a week after getting my black eye showed me that that whole focusing thing needs more work.

I was headed to the outhouse after dinner (just take a moment here to be grateful for your indoor plumbing), and I was probably daydreaming about some book I want to write someday. I slipped off the porch, went soaring over the three steps, and landed with a thud on my backside.

Maybe I’m exaggerating about the whole broken tailbone thing. I don’t know. But that was Sunday night, and I haven’t sat down since then without pain. It’s actually less funny than the black eye, because it hurts a lot more.

I’m sure I’ll be sitting without a grimace in a couple weeks, but I don’t want to just forget about my carelessness. I’m hoping that at 35 I’m capable of learning from my mistakes and using a little more caution—and not just when it comes to dark porches and airport washrooms. 😉

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Drawing credit: Cieleke

Do you break dishes weekly? Burn yourself every time you use the oven? Find large bruises and not know where they come from? I feel your pain, friend. I’ve been there.

I remember one year that was especially full of injuries. I was six or seven at the time. It started with jumping on my parent’s bed with my little brother. I always get carried away. I tripped over Dan and smacked my forehead on the headboard.

I reached up and touched the sticky wound. It didn’t hurt until I crawled up onto the bathroom counter and saw the blood all over my face. I was screaming so loud when we got to the hospital, that the doctor decided to apply a butterfly bandage instead of stitches. Yes, that is the scar that you see in the middle of my forehead.

My folly is that I don’t learn from pain. It’s so quickly forgotten.

We went to the circus a couple of months later, and I was entranced by the woman on the trapeze. Effortlessly she swung from a bar high above the sandy floor. I held my breath when she gracefully hung by one hand, her legs splayed, toes pointed out. She tipped her head back and held on by her teeth as she gently twirled.

I never was one to play princess. I would be a circus girl. I would soar on a trapeze.

I shimmied up the rope that held our tire swing, grabbed a hold of the other end of the rope with my teeth and hung there spinning. I imagined I was soaring through the air on a swing high above a crowd. I fell.

That was my first broken arm of the summer. You’d think that one would be enough.

There are rumours that I broke my other arm when I jumped out of the fort with an umbrella. I don’t deny the Mary Poppins impersonation—but that’s not when I broke my arm. I was just climbing the ladder when I was distracted by a squirrel. I missed the rung and ended up making another run to the hospital with my harried parents.

Apparently three trips to emergency in half a year warranted my parents being sent out of the room while I was questioned about abuse. I don’t remember the conversation, but I must have passed the interrogation.


Fast forward two decades, and I was still injuring myself daily. I would burn myself while cooking or jump down onto ice and fall and hit my head. I have a cracked tooth where I smacked my cup against it every single day.

My husband had enough when we moved into our new house and I fell down the stairs three times. I had bruises from my ribs almost down to my knees. “You start paying attention and stop hurting yourself!” Kevin’s voice was tight with worry.

My twins were 25 pounds each at the time. I packed those babies up and down the stairs several times a day—and I never once fell when I was carrying them. I realized that I was careful with my babies, but not careful when it was just me.

I decided to try caution—more to put Kevin at ease than anything, but it worked. I’d tell myself, “Pay attention. Don’t fall,” while I walked down the stairs. I learned to move my cup slowly towards my mouth instead of whamming it into my teeth.

I know this sounds ridiculous to most of you, but some of us are born with our heads in the clouds, and it takes conscious effort to learn a little caution and care.

I’m proud to say that I can’t remember when I last broke a dish, and when I have a bruise—I usually know where it came from. Small successes, but successes none the less. If I can do it, so can you.

Have a fantastic—and safe—weekend!

❤ Rachel

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