Sunday, April 19, 2009

The one where Mike takes a tumble

The one alarming home owner expense I just hadn't anticipated was for a ladder. How six feet of aluminum could cost $75 totally blew my mind (sadly, I'm over such sticker shock now). And so it was I was grateful when my parents offered me one when they visited ... the weekend after we moved.

Rule N0. 187: Don't accept hand-me-down ladders.

I decided to get domestic Friday and clean the windows. A few required the ladder. Toward the end of the day -- and I believe it was getting windy -- I carefully placed the ladder in a barren flower bed atop some soft mulch. It was the fourth time I'd done it that afternoon so, no, it's not like I didn't know what I was doing.

The ladder was set up so it was parallel with the house. As I climbed it, the house was to my right. I reached across the ladder and to my right to reach a corner and noticed the weak side you're not supposed to climb was basically dying. The left leg was digging into the mulch. The right side was slipping. The ladder was falling away from the house. As the ladder tipped, I quite clearly understood I was in trouble.

I was six feet in the air and our house is on a small hillside. I decided to leap and flap my arms and run in place. The last thing I really remember is my cell phone chiming to tell me I had a new text message. Then I was on the ground.

A few things to note here. The ladder is destroyed. The bracket you see is bent at a bad angle. The bracket you can't see is broken. The thin left leg is mangled. Second, that ladder is pretty damn far from the side of the house and the flower bed I was planted in, so I'm not exaggerating the tumble/leap here. Lastly, my wife actually photographed this.

What's missing from that photo is the scattering of my cell phone, sunglasses and the bottle of Windex, all of which were about 10 feet away in different directions. It was like when Brendan Gleeson jumps from the tower in "In Bruges."

Also gone? About 45 seconds from my memory. I was dazed. My sunglasses were knocked off my face and I obviously bumped my head somewhere along the way. When I snapped out of it, I remembered having heard my ankle pop when I landed. Then I realized my ankle was really, really hurting. Then I remembered the only other time I heard something pop was when I tore meniscus and broke my fibula two years ago. Scared, I expected to see my ankle in some weird contortion. Yet there was no bone poking through my sock and no holy-crap-look-at-that break. I was actually able to move it, though not without pain. I got myself inside and feebly called for help. We then laughed.

I'm happy to report I'm only limping. Friends of mine in medicine figure I probably just strained some tendons and ligaments. Nothing serious. Just a minor ache and some lumps, swelling and ugly scrapes on my knees. I figure I'll be fine when softball starts next Monday. Either that or this episode will be my excuse when I pop weakly to left field.

You shoulda seen the other guy!


  1. so wait i didn't read this whole thing so forgive me if this was mentioned, you call it Rule No. 187 b/c basically it was like committing murder by climbing onto this ladder? you know, 187, murder was the case that they gave me? snoop and dre?

  2. Don't accept hand me down ladders? How about Don't use ladder on a slope or injury due to operator error?

  3. An "In Bruges" reference? Fantastic!