Paul Bunyan and I lived next to an old airport landing strip in Breckenridge. It was a brand new loft apartment on the second floor with a washing machine that was also a dryer. Some European model that didn't work for beans. All the buildings on the "strip" were new and as landscaping around new buildings go....that was new too.
It was our third Christmas together and I believe I was aware of the fact that Paul Bunyan was going to go across the street in the secrecy of the dark and cut down a beautiful brand new blue spruce for our Christmas tree, but I'm not remembering being completely against the idea. However, now that I've had time to think of the consequences and complete disregard of the fact that that beautiful tree was one of Colorado's STATE trees and that we probably could have been arrested and fined a hefty fine for the crime we committed, I can't help feeling mad as hell at Paul Bunyan for coming up with the idea. I can hold a grudge, let me tell you.
I think you've heard about my issues with cutting down trees, not to mention Christmas trees. But where was I going? Oh yea, after that Christmas we dumped the tree in some ally and after the snow melted and the last of the hiking and skiing was done for the spring, Paul Bunyan and I bought ourselves each a pair of used roller blades. I made sure that I had wrist guards and knee pads. Don't think I wore a helmet but that has nothing to do with my story. Breckenridge houses a beautiful bike path, which we rode up and down innocently. But if you know Paul Bunyan, you know that just isn't fun enough.
So he bee-lined it to the skate park. And if you know Paul Bunyan, you know that he doesn't always think about SAFETY FIRST. So without wrist guards he drops into the 'pipe' and breaks the shit out of his wrist. I may have, sorta, rubbed it in with a "told you so you stupid f---".
Fast forward a few years and here we were brand new to our funky little Japanese pagoda on the side of a mountain in Vermont. Claire was sleeping soundly in her one room studio, which we would eventually rip the roof off of and use some of its walls to make additional bedrooms for the two babies that were resting in my big belly, which was just at that moment resting on the rim of our kitchen sink. I was watching Paul Bunyan push up an extension ladder as far as its furthest rung would allow. He leaned that sucker up against a half dead tree and climbed to the very top of it. I watched him start his chain saw, which he so dexterously carried up the ladder with him, and then I watched him reach as far as his arm could reach to cut a dead branch from said dead tree. And sure enough I watched dead branch swing around and knock said husband from said extended (as far as it could go) ladder and I watched said nearly dead husband fall straight two floors down, right onto his wrist. I ran out as fast as a 6th month pregnant with twins woman could run and I ran straight for the chainsaw. Because that's how my brain works when there is an emergency. I don't think straight. I was only concerned with turning that thing off and then I stood there in disbelief as I watched my husband roll and writhe around in pain. And then I got pissed, like mad pissed. Because I knew these babies were going to be born in two months. And what he did was SOOOOO stupid. Like so stupid. So I made him drive himself to the hospital. He told me, later, that he almost passed out. But whatever, Claire was sleeping and what he did was just plain dumb. And frankly after the whole "shoulda wore wrist guards" episode, I was done talking about safety first.
Lots of metal commenced. His cast was still on when the boys arrived. But he still changed diapers. There was going to be no excuses.
Fast forward eighteen months. I had survived the darkness of sleepless nights (barely) and my biggest challenge when I was alone with all three was dinner time. I sometimes broke the rules in order to make things go smoothly and one of the things I would do was to allow the boys to stand on the kitchen chairs to help me. Safety first. I know. I know.
Well, Auggie fell backwards after leaning too hard against the back of one of our chairs. I had a plate in my left hand and I tried to catch his fall with my right. I managed to snag a rung of the chair with my pinky, thereby pulling it just barely out from underneath him. Thus, I probably was the reason he landed flat onto the slate floor. I called Paul Bunyan, who was in the ER and said that I thought Auggie had broken his arm. He said, "Nah, I'll look at it tomorrow." And sure enough...
it wasn't his sucking thumb.
And then the lights went out last week for four days. And the boys and the girl played so well together.
They didn't once complain and they scattered with their candles and headlamps and found toys that have been there all along but they couldn't/didn't see them in the light.
And then one day when I was gone. On the fourth and final day. When Paul Bunyan was sitting and watching. They began fighting. They were fighting about fighting. Wrestling about wrestling.
And Claire pushed Timmy down. And then it was a his fault, her fault, his fault kind of day.
And that's how the Chapter in this ongoing chapter in our lives ended. Someone is always to blame. It was his fault. Her fault. My fault.
But accidents happen and bones heal. But I just want us to maybe learn a little lesson, take something away from all this, because my father would want to make sure that we think SAFETY FIRST and not let history to continue to repeat itself.