This is the storage shed/fort that graces my backyard. It came with the house and was a major selling point for some members of our family. :) Since the last time we (and by we, I mean Joal and some of his buddies) painted it, Uncle Daniel built and installed the new (dependable) ladder. As you might imagine, going up the ladder and hanging out in the fort, is not something I do very often, or ever. This is truly boy-land. Moma does not go there.
Both boys spend considerable amounts of time up there. Things fly off the deck of the fort with some regularity...as homeschoolers, we refer to that as "studying the effects of gravity". :) In the summer, people have been known to hang a water hose from the deck of the fort and call it an outdoor shower. The fort is a very popular attraction. My boys get along pretty good as far as brothers go, but there's never any more peace to be had than when they are swinging side-by-side on the fort's swings--one tall, one short, of course.
Lest you think I'm raising angels (snort), there have been a few altercations that were fort-related and a few crimes committed in the fort, for which a hefty dose of mom-law was promptly administered. We will not speak of the child who thought it would be funny to um, perform a certain bodily function off the deck of the fort, sprinkling the earth below, while exposing himself to our unsuspecting and supremely tolerant neighbor...we will not speak of the child who hid in the fort and did not respond when called, for the most frightening 20 minutes of my life...no, we will let those things remain quiet.
The fort...it's the stuff boy adventures are made of.
So, a few weeks ago, Joal was in the Carolinas on the third week of a five-week travel cycle. I was appropriately spent, as I often am when he's on the road, especially near the end of the week. It was a glorious day, weather-wise, so I sent to guys outside for a few minutes of peace inside, before it was time to start the homework/bath/dinner transitions.
All was good for 15 or 20 minutes. Just as I sat down at the computer, I heard the call.
I know that tone. It's laced with "I'm sacrificing my man-pride to yell out to you that I need your help and try as I might to get out of this situation without admitting that I need your help, I need your help. Now!!" or more appropriately, as I soon discovered, "I'm stuck."
See that picture at the top of this story? Well, those 2x4 posts across the front of the fort, that make up the railing, can, apparently, accommodate a 14-year-old's head in between them. The problem is not getting the head in between the posts...the problem, as said boy quickly found out, was that his ears made getting his head back out of the railing...wait for it...im-poss-i-ble.
So, what else could he do but use the tone and call out for me?
I head out the door with a certain fear and healthy dread for whatever I'm about to encounter. That tone and call has summoned me many times, and usually brings me to the scene of someone with a bleeding gash or a smashed up body part. There are usually plenty of band-aids to be administered. I pray quickly that no one will require professional medical help or the use of emergency responders. I start to wonder if I ever replaced the old, worn out bag of peas in the freezer after the last event--all in the space of the few seconds it takes me to get from the library to the back door of our house.
"What's up?" I ask, noticing that he's in a mighty awkward position. "My head is stuck." he says. I can, from the ground, see that his head does indeed look stuck between the posts of the railing.
And then it occurs to me that if I have to help him get his head unstuck, I'm going to have to climb the ladder. Oh crap.
So, as any mother would do, up I go. Gracefully or not, one step at the time. Have I mentioned how much I hate ladders? Heights don't bother me. Ladders...I don't do.
Unless my baby's head is stuck in between the posts of a rail and his ears are seemingly at stake. :)
So, we try a few maneuvers, moving the ears flat, sucking in the cheeks, twisting, turning...to no immediate avail. Oh dear. Did I mention that Joal is in the Carolinas...for another day?
So I send Grey for the hammer. He returns quickly and scampers up the ladder to bring it to me. I bang away at the top of the post for about 30 swings before I concede that this idea really isn't working. And I'm out of breath.
At this point, Julian's getting a little distraught. His face is turning red. He's worried. Oh ye of little faith in your mother.
It occurs to me that, somehow, I'm going to have to cut the post away. I'm the daughter of a serious furniture maker--I can use a saw--a point that I have taken great pride in at certain points in the past. But do we even have a saw that is appropriate for this task? Do we have a saw that can be located quickly?
Down the ladder, I go, into the house to retrieve the key to the shed. Into the shed to (hopefully) find the saw. A handsaw that looks like it may have cut some iron pipe a few years back and then been stored in the dirt for a week or two hangs on the wall. To call it a saw was being generous...a plastic butter knife may have given me more hope.
But, it's what I had, and Julian's voice was getting shaky. He was starting to grasp the seriousness of having his head stuck between the posts of a rail, 14
million feet in the air.
Back up the ladder, saw in hand, I prepared him for the rain of sawdust that is about to start tickling the back of his neck. "Don't cut my head off." he said and I promised not to. It's kinda funny now but at the time, I was getting a little worried about him. Serious physical stress can and has brought on seizure activity...
So I went to work cutting. And I cut. And cut. And cut. It took about 6 minutes to cut through the 2x4 with the
butter knife saw. When he was finally free, his eyes were wet but I didn't see fit in mentioning it. The man-pride of the fourteen year old was already being challenged by having to be rescued by his mother. And, I was too busy trying to catch my breath and not fall off the deck of the fort. He hauled himself down the ladder and I followed after. At the foot of the ladder, he said "Thanks for saving me, Mom." I hugged him...something he doesn't participate in but tolerates, just this once.
I head towards the back door and I hear Greyson say "Dude, I thought we were gonna have to call 911 to get you out."
And Julian's response... "Yep, that would'a been so cool." I could hear the smile in his voice.
After hearing of our adventure, when Joal got home and looked over the now-removed post, he paid me the most awesome compliment. "I was impressed with the straightness of that cut you made." he said. It made me laugh. And the next Saturday, I noticed that he had acquired a shiny, new handsaw with full-grown teeth, and he'd hung it in the shed...where it will be easy to locate in the event of another adventure. :)