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Safety first

by Susan Barnett
August 25, 2011 11:20 AM | 0 0 comments | 690 690 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There have been some unusual goings on around our house.

It’s not surprising after a move: no matter how sedentary you may be, the appearance of two tons of boxes containing items you were convinced you couldn’t live without will get you up and out of your chair. Particularly if you packed them, too. But I wonder whether moving might actually be hazardous to your health.

Two weeks prior to the move, a peek in a window would have revealed two (and sometimes three when my visiting son was pitching in) perpetual-motion machines. Lift, wrap, pack. Repeat. It started early and it continued until midnight or later. The threat of moving vans and disapproving movers who will not wait for another day will keep you moving. I lost weight. It was kind of great.

Moving day (and several days thereafter) continued the same drill in reverse. Lift, unwrap, position. Repeat. I have never slept so well.

But then things begin to get dangerous.

“That wire fence around the back is nasty. Let’s pull it out.”

I tried to avoid my son’s accusing glare as he slathered ointment on a truly impressive case of poison ivy the next day.

“The trees around the yard are out of control! We have to trim them back.”

I’m not stupid. I know I have no business touching a chain saw. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for me to get hurt. I am gifted with a certain arrogance. I think I don’t want to admit there are things I can’t (or shouldn’t) do. I headed for the big branches hanging over the roof. I had already warned them they were toast after their leaves slapped my face one night in a rainstorm.

“Are you sure that’s not going to hit the house?”

“Absolutely,” I said with confidence. “It’s not going to be anywhere near it.”

Confident words spoken before the branch crashed down and rested gently against a front window that, blessedly, held.

Did you know it’s possible for a branch to actually ricochet into the air and come down right where you’ve been standing? Trust me. These things happen.

There’s also the possibility of a less violent injury — the kind of back pain which results from three hours of sawing away at a branch (okay, I admit it — a tree trunk) that has no intention of giving up its life for the sake of your need for sunshine. This is when it’s important to know when it’s time to give up. We have come to like the strange, lopsided wooden bear face which has resulted from my fruitless attempts to eliminate a moderately large extra trunk on a flowering tree.

Then there’s the interior work. We’re not particularly handy, but a studio must be created. Luckily, we have a friend who knows what he’s doing. But those warnings on the wood-stain cans about working with sufficient ventilation? They’re there for a reason.

I came home on several nights to discover the love of my life surrounded by a cloud of stain fumes propelled by an air conditioner and a couple of fans.

He looked at me blearily and wondered why I was clutching a cloth to my face and dragging him outside.

“I’m okay,” he protested. “It’s not a big deal.”

Then he stood for awhile and tried to remember who I was.

I decided to help out and put in a little insulation.

“Where are your gloves? Where’s your mask?” he asked.

“It’s fine. If it bothers me I’ll stop.”

Ten minutes later I was standing by the sink, hoping that enough water would wash away the shards in my throat.

We’ve been sliced, bitten, poked and smooshed. Fingers and toes have taken a particular beating.

We’ve narrowly avoided serious injury when murderous windows slammed down of their own volition. A massive treetop came down during a storm and just missed the roof. I mean just missed it.

Is it possible the house is fighting back? I hope not. If we survive, it’s really going to be a nice place.++

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