The idiot on the fence

I’m the idiot on the fence. Not ideologically speaking, literally speaking. I mean seriously, I don’t think anyone is on the fence these days if my news feeds are any indication.

This has absolutely nothing to do with politics, fence sitters or world burners alike. This is a little story, a true story, of a girl (that’s me) and an idea (a bad one) and a fence.

I had surgery on my left shoulder less than a month ago. This is no secret. I have in fact detailed my journey for the sake of being a cautionary if humorous and foolish tale. Learn from me or take comfort in my company of bad decisions. The choice is yours.

When my body holds me hostage I try to both care for and challenge it a little each day. I don’t like sitting still and sitting still is something I have to do a lot. At the first signs of healing or strength returning I start pushing myself and napping in turns like those workouts that cycle through various things with increased reps as you build. The challenges are my reps, the naps are my rest periods. Sounds smart and sensible, doesn’t it? What could possibly go wrong?

So many things go wrong. If I am involved, so very MANY things can go wrong. I am impetuous. I am impulsive. I mix recipes before checking to see if I even have all of the ingredients. I start hammering things together without having a blueprint to work from or a list of needed items. In other words, I jump into pools without bothering to check for water.

As soon as I started feeling a little decent that first post surgery week I began talking walks, moving my arm carefully using the printed out therapy exercises the nurse stuffed into my bag when they discharged me in a boozy drugged state packed in ice.

So here we are, almost a month later, Christmas in the air, and lots of unsupervised time on my hands. A dangerous combination if ever there was one.

Hubby and the kids were all out for the afternoon and evening at various meetings and activities. I had distracted myself as much as possible without doing a single dumb thing all day. It was a good stretch. A personal best.

And then I found the Christmas lights. What follows is not for the feint of heart. If you have a low to zero tolerance for jackassery, turn away. Or at least down a shot or two before reading on.

It was 7pm. I like to line the four foot space picket fence that runs around our yard with white lights each year. It’s cheery and welcoming on cold, dark nights. There is a gate that hangs between two tall ten foot high posts with a broad, flat board across both posts, a sign welcoming friends .

When I reached the gate with the string of lights I knew I needed a ladder to go up and across the welcome sign before I could continue along the fence. Who has time for that when a perfectly good peach tree is so close to the fence and your shoes are narrow enough to slide a foot between pickets?

“Not me!” said the fool.

And so I, feeling proud for using only my good arm, swung a leg up into the tree and wedged myself between the two pickets closest to the gate and the first tall post. I was allll up in that peach tree like a one armed village idiot trying to get a better look at the circus. So far, so good. I looped the lights (balled up like a monkey fist for distance throwing) over post number one.

The opening of the gate was too wide to reach the balled lights now dangling from the middle of the sign so naturally I wedged a second sneaker between pickets, moved my good hand to brace myself holding on to the top of the sign, and started to transfer my feet so that one was balanced on top of the gate.

And that’s where everything started to go wrong. FAST.

The gate swung open and away taking my weight bearing foot along with it, and leaving an empty sneaker still stuck between pickets on the fence while I sailed forward with the gate hanging from my one good arm (or rather hand) for a solid six seconds (because I have very little upper body strength and quite a bit of “body”…) before falling to the pavement on my back.

Not my finest hour. I did manage to keep my head from hitting the ground but the rest of my body aches like, well like it fell to the pavement from four feet off the ground. Because, oh yeah, it DID. My husband and children are less than thrilled with me and have placed me on “restriction”, assigning friends to check in to make sure I’m staying grounded or run the risk of being bubble wrapped to the bed. That’s a direct quote from hubby.

My parents are frustrated with me too, but I am my mother’s daughter. She has impetuously climbed wet bulkheads, trees with grandchildren, house painting fences to “touch up the trim”, and all while my long suffering father has begged and implored her to use common sense. What can I say except I learned from the best. She, however maintains she did each of these things in daylight and mostly with a spotter (my long suffering, imploring father) on the ground to catch her.

For the record, you can’t actually see anything at 7pm in New England in November except the error of your ways.

Still, the lights do look awfully pretty….

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Blogger, life enthusiast, queen of chaos. Author and star of #closertocrazy, and Hairbeast Productions. I live in north central Massachusetts on a tiny misshapen, entirely accidental farm. Life is always an adventure! Available for freelance writing and social media Brand Building consultation Contact me at to discuss projects and fees

2 thoughts on “The idiot on the fence”

  1. I agree with @draw7even – also we don’t seem to remember your mother “impetuously” climbing on a wet bulkhead, stepping up onto a bulkhead just inches off the ground somehow does not jibe with “climbing” and sitting in the very climbable Cedar tree many years ago with her grandchildren, while her feet were resting on the bottom limb was quite a secure and fun experience, and painting the house because of a certain person’s fear of heights was only being helpful, and VERY careful, as there was always someone holding that ladder! Otherwise, a most “interesting” story. Climbers be wary! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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