KDBarnA couple of weeks ago, I had one of those days when I was a wreck. I know, people say that all the time, especially around the holidays, generally meaning they’re an exhausted, stressed out, frazzled, nervous wreck. All of which I’ve been at times, but in this case I was the kind of wreck where bystanders want to stand at least ten paces back to avoid sustaining collateral damage.

I’m not sure what it is—barometric pressure, the phase of the moon, my internal gyroscope gone wonky—but there are days I waltz through, and there are days I stumble. Trip. And fall. Then pick myself up and do it again. Days I can’t make a sandwich without dropping the peanut butter jar on my foot, or walk across the room without stubbing my toe on a chair.

Those are the days I should become one with a piece of furniture—preferably the couch–but life rarely allows such a luxury. No, Life has a warped sense of humor, and actively conspires against me for its own entertainment. Which is why, on the latest of my Klutz Days, we put a new roof on the storage shed. Because as long as I’m feeling clumsy, hand me a ladder, a wrecking bar and power tools. What could possibly go wrong?

I opened by whacking myself on the top of the head with a heavy-duty steel construction stapler. Hey, I didn’t say this was easy. Self-endangerment of this level takes a special talent. For you amateurs, I might caution against setting the stapler on the top of the stepladder, forgetting where you put it and then moving the ladder, unless you’re wearing a helmet, which I should seriously consider.

Dented but not deterred, I climbed up on the ladder to screw the new boards into place with an electrical drill. The section closest to the eaves was pretty easy, but I had to climb almost to the top of the stepladder to reach the rest, which was when I saw that I’d missed pulling one of the old nails. I grabbed the wrecking bar to pry it out, heaved with all my might…and shoved the ladder right out from under myself.

I dropped straight down, which was luckily only about four feet, clocked my cheek bone with the wrecking bar and bounced the electric drill off my thigh, then slammed onto my butt, giving myself a nice little case of whiplash. Nothing broken or bleeding, though, so I gathered up my various body parts and my tools and got back to work.

We finished the rest of the roof without further incident. While I tacked down the plastic roof cap with the stapler, dad fired up the pickup to load the lumber scraps, then decided while he was at it he should put their gas grill in the shed for the winter. I crawled down off the roof for the last time, breathed a sigh of relief, and walked around the corner of the shed to see the unattended pickup rolling straight for me. I did one of those stationary panic attacks where you flap your arms and make squawky chicken sounds but don’t actually move. Somehow, the pickup glided through the narrow space between the shed and our camper with a foot to spare on either side, hit a big rock and stopped.

When I finished hyperventilating, I decided I’d pushed my luck far enough for one Klutz Day. I dumped my tools in the back of the pickup and went to the house. Sat down in my nice, cushy desk chair. Safe at last…until my son tackle-hugged me and tipped us both over backwards onto the floor.

That did it. From now on, Life is gonna have to go on without me on Klutz Day. Me, I’ll be over here, one with my couch. The recliner is just too risky.

Kari Lynn Dell – Montana for Real