. . . or not. My poor knees took a beating again on Saturday. You would think someone who started out this life with the surname of “Swan” would have at least a smidgen of grace, a scintilla of coordination.
My first recollection of being truly klutzy goes back to my freshman year in high school, when we lived on the island. I remember some of the sidewalks being wooden at Country Day School, and this particular day it was drizzling, so the wood was slick. Down I went, and when my knee made contact, I lost a good chunk of flesh. So much so that I have a scar there to this day. Of course, it didn’t help that I tripped and busted open the same knee in the same spot a few weeks later. No wonder there’s a scar.
I don’t remember any pratfalls after that one for a long time. That doesn’t mean there weren’t any. I just don’t remember them. I do remember, in vivid detail, the last four years’ “adventures in grace (or lack thereof),” though.
Christmas Eve 2011: For a short time, I cleaned house for a family who purchased a weekend place at Hideaway on the Gulf. I’d sold them window coverings for the house, and when they asked if I knew a trustworthy housekeeper to make the place ready whenever they headed this way, I volunteered for the job. It was hard work. The house was three stories and the owner was very particular about how it was cleaned, even though it appeared spotless before I picked up a dust cloth. When I finished cleaning this time, I looked out to the canal and thought, “I’d love a view like this. No one’s here. I think I’ll enjoy it for a few minutes.” I started to walk over to the boat slip, only to find the ground disappear from beneath my feet. There was a step down from where I’d been standing, and I hadn’t realized it. Faster than I could cry out, I landed hard on my hands and knees.
Of course, I did what anyone else in my situation would do: I looked around quickly to make sure none of the neighbors had been outside to see my embarrassing embrace with the earth. As soon as I verified there were no witnesses to my humiliation, I let out a yelp. It took me a few minutes to collect myself. Gingerly, I got up, hobbled over to my car and decided the view wasn’t nearly as lovely as I’d originally thought.
February 2012: Not even two months later — we had a grand plan to take our girl and several of her friends to see Riverdance at the Hobby Center in Houston. Because my sister was working that day, I drove over to Angleton to pick my niece up so she could come with us. It was a grey, drizzly day. I went into the office, signed her out, and we headed back to the car for an evening of Italian food at the Spaghetti Warehouse, followed by the amazing dancers from Ireland.
I don’t even know how it happened. One second we were walking away from the front doors of Angleton High School, and the next, my umbrella went flying and I lost a shoe. BAM! Both knees crashing to the pavement again, but this time I had a witness. Krista gasped, and immediately moved to help me up. I probably would have stayed there a few minutes except it was starting to rain harder, so I made myself get up and hobble to my car once again.
For a while, I thought I’d really messed my knees up. The right one would feel “sloppy” when I went up and down the steps between my kitchen and laundry room. I finally went to an orthopedic doctor, who did x-rays and determined they were just badly bruised, and it would take between six and eight months for them to fully recover. I committed myself to walk more carefully.
January 2015: Good things can’t last forever, can they? Sitting at the kitchen table late one night, I decided a cup of tea would be the ticket while I finished working on something. The problem? I forgot about a big plastic tub of Christmas decorations behind my chair. When I stood up and turned to go into the kitchen, I fell right across it! And this time I didn’t get my hands under me, so I fell flat on the floor from head to toe. Jami came stumbling into the kitchen — she’d been asleep, but apparently when a tree falls in the forest (or when Mom falls in the kitchen), it does make a sound. Since I was becoming accustomed to this, I waved her off. “I’m fine. Go back to bed. See you in the morning.”
And that brings us to this past Saturday, March 12, 2016:
My sister and I are in the process of deciding what to do with the house we inherited from our mother last year. We’ve been going over there as often as possible to clean it out and get things ready to list it on the market. The flooring needs to be replaced, so Saturday my sister and nephew pulled a lot of the old stuff up earlier in the day before I arrived. They left to run an errand and I thought, “I can get this piece in the dining area. I’ll pull up this area rug, and then I’ll get that tool and get the sheet vinyl up, easy peasy.”
The area rug came up easy enough on one side, but I figured I needed to go to the other side to finish rolling it up. My darling husband, who was dressed in nice clothes after attending a memorial service, had stopped by to see how we were doing. And of course, he got to witness yet another dazzling performance by my graceful self. As I stepped toward the other side of the rug, I do not have a clue how it happened, but I know that I fell on that concrete slab — knees and hands, just like the day at the house on the canal.
I did not even try to retain my dignity. I think I said a colorful word. And then I started crying. And once he checked to make sure I hadn’t broken anything, he did a very good job of holding back his laughter at the 52-year-old woman sitting in the middle of the floor crying like a big ol’ baby. Finally, he held out his hand and said, “Come on, get up, let’s call it a night.”
I had a pretty good run between 2012 and 2016 . . . hoping I can have another trip-free run for a few years. This is getting old, and so am I.