Saturday, July 28, 2012

When The Cat's Away

For the last year, I have spent a substantial amount of time outside of my house. I seems that I have become very busy. A variety of things call me to leave the comfort of my castle. I have a wide array of ways I make money, and most require me to go somewhere else. I am involved with church activities. I leave to go counsel people. I spend as much time as possible with Red. I assume most people have life events that keep them busy as well, but it seems that I am spending more and more time away from the house.

I am not complaining about my schedule and would not even give this a second thought if it weren't for the fact that I have a teenage daughter. Kirsten has a rich social life and is out of the house doing exciting things almost daily, despite her belief (common to many teenagers) that she has no life or friends. However, even with her busy schedule, she does occasionally find herself at home. Since I am always running as well, she sometimes finds herself at home when I am not there.

Myself, Kyle & Trevor
Kirsten is sixteen, so she is old enough that she does not need me there to tend to her every need. However, I remember being a teenager and having the house to myself. Although, in my situation, it wasn't just me. I had two brothers who were just as willing as me to slightly bend the rules when our parents weren't around.

We lived in a big two-story farmhouse and the second floor was all ours. It had our bedrooms and an extra room which we used for our TV, video games and whatever else we wanted to do. A steadfast rule, usually enforced by our mother, was the prohibition of girls from ever going upstairs.

As a parent, I understand the reasoning behind this rule, but as a teenager, I thought it was unreasonable when my friends came over that we couldn't hang out in the game room upstairs if any of our guests were testicle deficient. This was one example of a rule that was not necessarily followed according to my parents' wishes when they were not in the house. We even allowed girls past the game room if they were willing  begged to see the other rooms. 

Sometime during my teenage years, we got our first satellite dish. It was one of those huge 12 foot monsters that made your house look like an outer space communication center. It had to be rotated to point at the specific satellite you wanted to pull a signal from. This was before the days of scrambled channels and subscription fees. If you owned a dish, you had access to every cable channel.

Obviously, there were channels we were not allowed to watch. I don't just mean HBO or late night Cinemax, but the more adult audience specific channels, like Playboy or Spice. These channels only came on late in the evening, but on the rare occasions that Mom and Dad had gone out and left us at home, you could be certain that the dish would be pointed to receive those channels for at least a portion of the night.

 In addition to these and many other violations of the rules, the worst infraction(s) happened one year when my parents left for vacation and left us at home. I don't remember why we didn't go with them. We always had in the past, but this one was just for them. As an adult, I now understand this decision as well.

As Mom and Dad went through the chores that were to be done each day (feed animals, wash dishes, etc.) and warned us to behave ourselves, we honestly didn't have any devious plans to disobey them. After one of the many times that my mother threatened reminded us, once again, that we had the house to ourselves and we were good boys who knew right from wrong, my father, in his infinite wisdom said, "Denise, once we leave, they're going to do whatever they're going to do." My father was much smarter than I gave him credit for at the time.

Within a few hours after they had left, we began to realize the freedom that had been handed to us. The first incident of that freedom happened when I had done something to my brother Kyle, causing him to chase me through the house. As I jumped into the next room, I closed the door behind me to slow his chase, but he came through the door anyway without taking the time to open it. The door was ripped off its hinges and our chase (for the moment) stopped. Luckily, Kyle is pretty handy and was able to repair the damage and we rehung the door.

We hadn't planned on having a party, but as our friends learned that our house was adult free, it happened. I don't want to try to sound like a victim. We welcomed the idea, even if we hadn't thought of it. I will give the details of this party in my next post. Too much happened to try to include it all here.

Now that's
a knife!
Two days before the party, we were playing a game in the front yard. Both of my brothers, Kyle and Trevor were standing with a dozen other teens, beers in hand, playing a game of chicken.

Chicken is a very simple game. Two people stand facing each other about three feet apart. One person throws a bowie knife at the feet of the other, trying to get as close as possible without actually making contact. Extra respect is given to the person who can penetrate the side of the shoe and still not contact the foot. A participant immediately loses if he actually hits the other person or moves his foot when the other person throws. This is called being a 'chicken' and removes you from the game for someone else to take your place.

After going several rounds and the knife getting closer and closer to their feet, they began to raise the stakes, both to scare the other person and to impress the people watching. Kyle started throwing the knife with an underhand toss rather than throwing it straight down between Trevor's feet. This was especially difficult since the blade has to stick in order to get the scoring point, but he was doing it successfully each time.

Trevor did not appreciate this technique since Kyle had to toss the knife up causing it to come close to Trevor's body and sometimes even his face before it would drop and sink into the dirt. However, that was part of the strategy designed to get the other person to move. After Trevor demanded he change his method several times, Kyle performed a beautifully executed low toss, which caused the blade to come up just under Trevor's groin. Trevor did not move.

Trevor bent down to pull the knife out of the ground. When he stood up, he had a smirk on his face and we all saw the look in his eye. We all knew what was about to happen.

Kyle stared hard at Trevor and through his teeth whispered, "You son of a bitch."

Trevor smiled as he raised his arm. He quickly let it drop and sank the blade in the center of Kyle's foot.

Kyle let out a howl, but stood his ground. He then looked at the crowd and yelled, "Did I move? I stayed still, right?"

Several members of the awestruck crowd agreed that he had not moved. He then pulled out the blade, handed it to Trevor and said, "You lose."

He ran into the house to patch up his new injury and we could already hear the blood sloshing in his boots as he moved. After a few minutes, I went in to check on him and was appalled to discover the trail of blood across the carpet and spray of blood on the bathroom wall from when he had swung his leg up into the sink.

I yelled, "Look at this mess!"

Kyle retorted, "Look at my foot!"

I looked at the bloody mess of the sink and the crimson settling into the carpet. "Uh, yeah. That looks awful...look at this mess!"

While Kyle tended to his foot, Trevor and I started cleaning up the blood before it dried hoping that would keep it from staining the carpet.

Now that I am a parent, every time I come home after my daughter has been home without me, I check the 'recently viewed' list on Netflix, examine the condition of the door jambs and demand to see her feet. I have explained that these inspections are for her own protection and necessary precautions for me to perform as a responsible parent, but she doesn't seem to understand. I don't tell her why I am checking because I don't want to give her any ideas.

So far, all inspections have been to my satisfaction proving that my daughter has never tried anything. Hopefully, she never will.

50 comments:

  1. it's all fun and games until somebody gets stabbed!

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    1. Oh, you just reminded me of another story. I will have to write it up. That one involved a lot more blood and a trip to the emergency room.

      I don't know what we were thinking. Should we blame the stupidity of youth or alcohol?

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    2. For the love of God. Can we go with a no-blood theme for a week or so? I'm still naseous from that pic.

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    3. I haven't had any blood on my blog for weeks, but I can try to throw up a disclaimer to warn people in the future.

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  2. On the one hand, that sounds like the STUPIDEST game in the history of the world. But on the other hand, that's exactly why kids these days are complete wusses compared to you guys.

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    1. That's the way I should explain it. When people say we were stupid, we will just tell them we had more guts than them.

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  3. LOL I was such a good kid (sadly have next to 0 stories to tell ) I have 4 boys....... I don't deserve them......... I was gooooood....... but by golly they are going to have some stories to tell of they live to tell any of them!

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    1. It sounds like you allow them to be boys, which is good for them. However, they will keep you on your toes. Good luck.

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  4. "Look at this mess!" "Look at my foot!"

    That cracked me up so much, I can't even tell you.

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    1. Thank you. Kyle even finds it funny today. He wasn't amused at the time.

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  5. "testicle deficient" now that's turning a phrase. I didn't have a brother, but had plenty of friends. We sure did some stupid stuff back in the day.

    WG

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    1. I thought vaginally enhanced would make them sound like some sort of uber-women, so I went with testicle deficient.

      Sometimes all you need to do something really stupid is another willing participant.

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  6. My brother and I played the game with darts. Doesn't sound as dangerous but you knew that you could blood poisoning from a dart stuck in your leg.

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    1. I understand. Darts are very painful. I had one stuck in my shoulder one time.

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  7. lol!!! that is so similar to my family stories... sigh.. hey you won! I nominated you for ANOTHER Liebster Award! you are one of my favs...sorry! http://thecoffeeblogs.blogspot.com/2012/07/40-i-won.html

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    1. Thank you. I enjoyed the Leibster last time it came around. Let's see if it still tastes as good.

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  8. What the heck kind of dumbass game is that?? There may not have been anyone testicle deficient there, but you could make a case for brain deficient.

    This post reminds me of my brother and me when we were teenagers. We would have these wars when my dad was out of the house on Saturday mornings, when we were supposed to be cleaning, and then all of a sudden we would realize how late it was and that he would be back soon. And instantly, we were the best of friends, working together to right everything we had wrecked or messed up, and frantically cleaning before our dad got home. Sibling bonding ;)

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    1. We had many of those moments. Sometimes you just had to do what you had to do. Luckily, it wasn't too hard to keep the parents happy.

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  9. At least, it seems, you were all somewhat equally equipped to kill each other. I had two much older brothers and thus no equal standing. Thus all my scars.

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    1. It got pretty rough at times. Kyle pushed me off a railroad bridge once. We all made it to adulthood.

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  10. I thought that my family and I played some badass games, including match flicking and old school lawn jarts, but you and your brothers get a tip of my hat for standing still and having knives thrown at you, because that's pretty boss. Great story, and I love that you were more concerned about the blood splatter than where the blood was actually coming from. Looking forward to the party post...

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    1. My mother reads my blog, so I am outing myself with some of my stories. Although, it has been about 20 years so I don't think she can ground me any more.

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  11. I've never heard that version of the game of "Chicken." That's pretty extreme! I have, on the other hand, been stuck to the hilt with a dart, shot with a BB gun, and been stuck in the head with the claw part of a hammer (talk about a bloody mess).

    Glad to hear no one lost a testicle. :)


    Michael A. Walker
    Defying Procrastination

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    1. I've been shot with BB guns and caught the back side of an axe in the side of the head. I got hit with a dart, but not to the hilt. That would be awful.

      We all have our testicles to my knowledge.

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  12. A well-told story and you held my attention to the last word. I bet most of us can tell stories of events that happened when our parents were away.How did we manage to survive into adulthood? Notice I didn't say maturity!

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    1. Carefully chosen words there. Maturity and adulthood are not the same thing. We pushed the limits often and suffered grievous injuries at times, but somehow lived to adulthood. Although, we may limp a little.

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  13. This is a definite 'boys will be boys' story. As a parent of two boys (6 and 4) I fear their teenage years. I remember the shit *I* did... and I didn't have the internet at my disposal!

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    1. It was crazy, some of the ideas we came up with, but we grew to be fine young men.

      Some would disagree.

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  14. I read an article about adolescence that said teens HAVE to do crazy stuff like that. It's how they test not only their boundaries, but their limits. Courting disaster? yes. But if they don't do it as adolescence, they are likely to either take no chances when they grow up, or take excessive chances. Good for you for testing your limits.

    I have no such stories, but then, I'm a girl. We usually don't. ;-)

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    1. I would have to agree. It also gives you confidence in yourself, helps you to discover your limits (you covered that one) and gives you a healthy outlook on risk-taking that helps in the future.

      We may have pushed it too far at times, but I loved my childhood.

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  15. Oh my lord, you guys were wild!
    We had a game similar to chicken which we called "Dance like Micheal Jackson." This just consisted of a lot of drunken people taking turns to throw pool balls at another other person's legs whilst shouting, "dance like Micheal Jackson".
    Thus the person who was desperately trying not to be crippled, would leap and jump (and sometimes weep openly) whilst performing a series of dance like movements to avoid being hit.

    Until I typed this, I didn't realize what a stupid-arse game this was.

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    1. That sounds like an interesting game. We used to hit each other with cars, so it would have been something we would do had we heard of it. Sounds like you guys got a little wild on your side of the pond too.

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  16. I still remember Gandma comming in EARLY one morning to check on us, while mom and dad were gone. As She stepped over the many bodies on the floor, she located each one of us. Then turned to leave. I was asleep in the chair and had noticed her come in. As she was leaving I said "hey grandma". She said "just checking on you", then she smiled real big, and walked out the door.

    Kyle

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    1. We were visited by Jehovah's witnesses that morning as well. They didn't stay long. I will cover that party in detail in my next post.

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  17. Very well written. Loved the story. I'm going to go peruse your archives now ...

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    1. Thank you. Hopefully, you will find some stuff you like.

      Here are some of my most popular.

      At Least We Know I'm Not Pregnant

      Abscessed Adventures With Adam

      Dad, Do You Ever Get that No-So-Fresh Feeling?

      Evidence That I am Harmless

      Biblical Mistranslation and Special Interest Groups

      Those posts should give you a good cross section of my writing. Thanks for dropping by.

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  18. So did your parents learn of this incident when they got home?

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    1. I don't think so. We told them the story eventually. Years later.

      We did tell them about the door almost immediately.

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  19. Wonderfully entertaining post, Brett. It sounds like you and your brothers made plenty of heart-stopping memories! :-o

    “...if any of our guests were testicle deficient.” LOL Yes indeed, men have such a...unique perspective.

    The stunt that ended with the door being ripping off the hinges was hilarious. And your chicken game? Holy cow, that was insane! I sat in drop-jawed amazement as I read what you crazy guys did.

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    1. I was at a fish fry with my parents and brothers tonight and we were recalling these events. My mother kept asking, "You did what?" It was over 20 years ago, so we figured we were safe.

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  20. GOOD TIMES FRIEND, GREAT TIMES!!!

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    1. Thank you, Bob. Since you were there, I would love to pick your brain about my next post. The party. I'll contact you on Facebook.

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  21. Oh what wonderful freedom, when your parent's leave the house.

    She seems like a good girl, I wouldn't worry too much. Plus, there's nothing too bad on Netflix streaming.

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    1. She is a good girl. I've had an easy time with her.

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  22. My dad and uncles played chicken, my uncles tell me of the time when dad nailed his shoe to the ground by getting the knife through the gap of his big toe and second toe.

    Good times...

    Oh the memories of being young and being able to break the rules, rules to break to feel the rush. No rules, no rush. Life is boring as you get older, as you realise what the rules are for.

    welcome back to keyboard

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    1. Good. It wasn't just us.

      You're right. As an adult, I better understand the reasoning behind the rules and it takes most of the fun away. I still like to push the limits a bit, but the penalties are much harsher at my age.

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  23. Oh yeah. I definitely had some parties while my parents were away. We broke stuff, played strip poker, drank all my dad's beer which I had to replace the next day (difficult being 17 and all), and would generally make sure the house reeked of stale beer the next day prompting a massive cleaning/airing out of the house. Good times.

    Nobody ever got stabbed, though. Now I feel like I missed out on an adolescent experience. Well, maybe there's hope for my kids!!

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    1. We didn't do this on a regular basis. The party was a one time thing, but it was a great one. And everyone supplied their own, so we didn't have to replace anything.

      Luckily, the stabbing was a one time thing as well.

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  24. In general girls don't knife each other's feet. You're probably safe leaving Kristen unattended:)

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    1. I think you are right. The worst problem so far has been cooking mishaps with her friend. Their cake did not turn out the way they expected. I can handle that.

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Leave a comment. C'MON!!! You're already here. Leave a comment. Don't leave me hanging and wondering if any has ever seen these words. I'll rub your feet.