Hard Knocks

An August marked by bruises, scrapes, and scares.

It’s just been one of those months.

Not that I typically exude swan-like grace, but something about the month of August has thrown me off-kilter this year. In a very short period of time, I’ve found myself the victim of many mishaps, bumps, and bruises, and I’m not even halfway through the month.

It all began the first week of August, when I decided to take an afternoon siesta in our brand new hammock. I had just bought it for Hubby as an early birthday present, and it had been marvelous so far — a brightly colored, big-enough-for-two contraption suspended between the sturdy bars of a large metal stand. My pug, Oscar, is in love with the hammock as much as my husband and I are, so he happily tagged along.

Now, anyone who has ever been in a hammock surely knows it’s all an exercise in balance. Heretofore, I had been pretty good at that — once even sharing it with Hubby and the dog at the same time without incident. This time, it didn’t go so well. Who knew that a 15-pound dog could throw the whole balancing act off?

Usually, Oscar lies in my lap during our hammock time, but this time he wanted to curl up next to me, which tipped the whole thing uneasily to the right. I shifted hard to the left to balance us out, and he took that moment to decide that he also wanted to be on the left side. Our combined weight on the same side flipped the hammock in a spectacular arc. I must have blacked out, because the only thing that I remember is being on the hammock, and then … not being on the hammock.

I came to on the ground a few feet away, having apparently landed on the base of the metal stand and tumbled a few times. I was lying in the grass on my right side, my left leg and arm painful and throbbing to the point that I couldn’t move for a few minutes. Meanwhile, Oscar frantically danced around me, realizing that I was hurt. He dashed madly back to the house and threw himself at the back door, trying to get somebody to come help while I evaluated the state of my injuries. Of course, I was the only one home at the time, so Oscar’s valiant efforts were in vain. Instead, he scampered back to me and sat sweetly by my side, putting his paw on my shoulder and periodically kissing my nose until I was able to stand up again.

Surprisingly, despite how hard I hit the metal, I never got visible bruises on my arm or leg, though they did hurt for a few days afterward.

The following week, I was in charge of maintenance for our disc cleaning machine at the library. It’s a handy device that allows us librarians to buff the scratches and smudges off of our DVDs so that we can get them back into circulation. Periodically, the device’s sides and back need to be removed so we can clean out the dust and fuzz that inevitably accumulates inside. The sides usually pop right off for me, but this time they were stuck tight. I tugged and tugged — and it worked better than I had planned, suddenly wrenching off the sharp metal panel and sending it slicing into my wrist. This prompted a lot of inappropriate jokes about suicide, though my generous coworker lent me her bracelet to cover up the criss-crossed band-aids.

Also this month, I managed to burn both my thumb and my upper arm on a container of macaroni and cheese I had heated up for lunch. I’m still not sure how the cheese found my arm, but it did, and I sported a nice red welt for a little while. In addition, I came down with a cold somewhere along the way and was snuffly and dopey for several days, sneezing and coughing and medicating my way through life.

The scariest event of August came about a week ago — though this time the fates appear to have conspired to spare me injury. It was a Friday morning and I had just kissed Hubby and Oscar goodbye as I headed to the library for work. It was a really pretty day, and I was almost to my car when I heard growling. Out of nowhere, I saw nothing but teeth and fur as a loose Rottweiler lunged, looking for all the world like he planned to have me for breakfast.

My instincts kicked in and I found myself screaming at the top of my lungs and swinging my notebook at him. Immediately, Hubby came thundering out of the house in his bathrobe, brandishing an umbrella. The dog, stunned by my yelling and probably amused by our choice of weapons, almost immediately ceased his attack and slunk away. We’ve since contacted its owners and fortunately haven’t seen the snarly Rottweiler since, but I’m still a lot more cautious when I head outside in the mornings.

I’m a little more careful in the hammock these days, and I’m thankful that I have such a dutiful dog and husband looking after me. Still, I’m trying my hardest to avoid pointy objects, angry dogs, and anything made of metal.

I can’t wait for September.

Article © 2009 by Molly E. Weeks