• Oliver Messner

Reach for the sky

I keep forgetting how fast the years and life in general go by. When I looked into the mirror yesterday, I could barely see the top of my head. Today, the guy staring back at me almost takes up the entire surface area of the mirror, looks ever so slightly weathered, with a just a FEW wrinkles around the eyes and white hairs (yes, they are not grey, white is a legitimate color and has nothing to do with the ageing process) starting to show at the temples.

With that out of the way, the other thing that I keep forgetting is that my eldest daughter is now almost nine years old. Not only is she getting very opinionated about everything, has to have the last word in any given situation and is really starting to worry me with what she wants to wear but she can now reach places even without trying. When she was younger and much, much shorter, we left stuff lying around on desk and counter tops without a second thought. Then one day, when she was just shy of her third birthday, I went back into the lounge where I had just left her a mere minute before, didn't see her and frantically ran through the house, searching for the MIA ankle biter. Only to find that she had quietly pulled a chair into the kitchen, climbed onto the counter and was rummaging around in the upper cupboards for sweets. Thankfully ignoring the large kitchen knife that was still lying on the cutting board from the lunch I had prepared earlier, which she couldn't reach whilst standing on the floor but was defiantly accessible with her newly acquired life-hack. Lesson learned. No more knives or other harmful objects left lying in seemingly unreachable places, even if only for short periods of time.

Of course it didn't stop there. Now nowhere was safe and we decided to thwart her little chair-make-me-go-up escapades by doing the first logical thing that came to mind.... get chairs large and heavy enough, so that she could not move them by herself. Problem solved. She grew out of that phase and we didn't have to worry about this for quite a few years. The whole process is being repeated at the moment, as my youngest is developing that exploratory itch that all kids seem to have and is starting to come up with clever little ways to get around the restrictions to her vertical freedom that her parents have imposed on her.

Experience breeds wisdom, so we were fully expecting the little one's current craze to reach the stars.... or, failing that, at least the top of the counter and have taken precautionary measures to ensure that her feet stay firmly planted on the ground. What I did not expect was that I still had to watch out for her older sibling concerning this issue.

Two of her friends came over the other day for a play date, get together or whatever you call it when kids that age come together. I was working on the house and they were in the lounge, chatting, giggling, watching TV and doing whatever it is that pint-sized little women do among themselves. When I later had to get something for the roof from my tool shed, I noticed that one of it's doors hinges was slightly twisted. I opened the double doors and was greeted by tools, nails, wood pieces, paint cans and more lying strewn across the floor along with the shelving they usually rested on.

Just slightly angry and after first venting some of that anger by using the time honored tradition of letting loose some choice curses appropriate to the situation, I went looking for answers to the where, when,how and above all why.

What apparently happened was that my daughter and her cohorts, after having exhausted their on-team chit chat, wanted to do some crafts . There are a bunch of boxes stored in the back of the shed that are filled with about half a metric ton of crafting paraphernalia. Used by my wife and kids when and where needed. My daughter has been explicitly forbidden to ever go into the shed by herself. She could get seriously hurt by what I store behind the locked doors. It contains all manner of things that I use for work, including saws, nails, hammers and even acids. She went and got the keys for the shed from the key holder at the door, the one that's especially high so that her younger sister can't get to it in any way but within easy reach of her grabbers. Of course the bunch of them then proceeded to want to get at the most difficult to reach box in the place. Moving around, among other things, my large tile cutter, which hangs at the bottom of a shelf, attach to one of its brackets. Moving around, soon turned into pulling and by some miracle the thing didn't crush their feet as it, the entire row of shelving and all of it's contents gave way to horizontal force, then gravity and crashed to the floor as they pulled the bracket out of it's fastening.

Instead of calling me, they then liberated the desired box, picked up all the stuff that had fallen out of the shed, threw the whole lot back in and closed the doors as good as they could. Even going so far as locking it up and hanging the keys back where they got it from. All in the hopes that by some strange cosmic anomaly I would not notice what had happened.

I might have been a bit harsh when I told them what I thought about it, how dangerous it was and what could have happened. I then also went off at my daughter about it being her idea, a dumb on at that, how she should know better by now and having been around my work spaces long enough she knows the rules. I felt like a bit of an arse afterwards, as she had tears in her eyes and her friends were also a bit shocked at my ire but I think that they might at least have learned a lesson and that's what counts.

So, another lesson learned. The keys for the shed are now going to be on my car keys, which I generally keep on myself at all times. Safe, at least until the kids figure out the knack of picking a pocket.

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