I am usually proud of my bruises.  There is always a great story behind them because they are, for the most part, acquired through some monumental effort upon the crag!  I am bruised from nose to toes–quite literally–and am even more sore in my muscles from laughing so hard about this particular set of bruises.  Have you read my earlier post about being back from Dubois?  Read that first (it should be the previous post), and then read this one.  This is the rest of the story…

The actual drive up to Dubois at 7000′ was uneventful and relatively free of construction.  When we arrived, we saw that our old neighbors’ house had been demolished and lay in a pile next to our property.  My mom could not get the key to work in the padlock on the gate chain, so she used my mattock pick end to pull the staple out of the fencepost.  It turns out that she was using the wrong key.  I should have taken that as an ominous sign of my luck for the rest of the day, but I thought little of it.

Once we had parked and gotten the basement door opened up, looking around for signs of tampering, vandalism, and break-in, my mom and I proceeded up the hill–I to grab another load of stuff from the truck and my mom to open up the upstairs and get the electricity turned on.  The next thing I heard was, “Chris, get something to put over this bucket!  I’ve got a packrat in here!”  My mom had found the packrat staring at her–he having gotten into some mouse poison and exhibiting less-than-spry behavior.  My mom had tried to coax him ito a five gallon tar bucket, and ended up picking him up by the tail and putting him in the bucket.  She had him at the top of the landing of the upstairs door.  I, of course wanting to see the packrat, hurried up the wooden steps toward the top of the landing.  The second-to-last step broke in half underneath my left foot and I fell backward, experiencing some serious air-time before landing on my back in the dirt and sage.  My mom was still insistent that I get something to cover the bucket with.  I got up, found a thick slab of grey slate, and handed it up to her to cover the bucket with.  Packrat contained!  My mom brushed my backside off as I carried the covered bucket with the packrat in it over to a spot by the garage where the wind would not blow it over.  We walked back to the truck to unload some more after all that excitement and my mom said, “That was a good whale move!  What do they call that when the whales jump out of the water and come down like that?”  Breaching, Mom–breaching.  “Breach!” she playfully yelled.  We both laughed and took another load down to the basement.  Breach Number One is what we would later refer to it as…

Mom wanted to check to make sure there were no more packrats upstairs, and I got out my 350 lumen headlamp out and crawled up to the landing using old stumps since the steps were no longer usable.  Upon inspection, there were bats, dead mice, and a really awesome bat skeleton on the floor up there, but no more packrats that I could either find evidence of or see.  I was so excited about the bat skeleton that I forgot about the step being half-broken and hurried out, putting my full weight on the half-step that remained.  The step gave way fully and I flew again, landing face-first in a thick, mostly dead sage brush, bounced, and landed in a very awkward position on the ground.  Mom had opened up the shop and was in there measuring for our repairs.  I rolled carefully over onto my stomach, assessing the damage while on my belly in the dirt with my forehead resting on my forearm.  “Breach!” I weakly yelled, wondering if my nose was broken and if my glasses were even still usable.  “Breeeaach!  Breee-eeeaach!  Breach!” I kept yelling, louder and louder between groans of pain.  Everything hurt.  I yelled for quite a while before my mom came out and asked me why I was lying on the ground.  I told her I was so excited about the bat skeleton that I found that I–”Forgot about the step, didn’t you?”  My mom finished my sentence for me.  “Well, is anything broken?”  I told her I did not know yet, but that everything hurt.  I asked her if my glasses were messed up.  “No.  Why?  Did’ja land on your face?”  Yes, Mom, I did.  I landed on my nose.  “Well, is it broken?”  I reached up and checked with my hand.  No, my nose was not broken.  It just hurt really bad.  “Well, I s’pose you should get up.  Do you need help?”  Yes.  I need help.  I got to my knees and my mom helped me to a standing position, brushing me off as I caught my breath.  I told my mom that it took her long enough to come and help me.  “Well, I didn’t know what you were screeching about.  I thought you were joking or something.  I didn’t know you were going to land on your nose in the sagebrush.”  We laughed.  Breach Number Two complete.

Later, after we had some coffee and my mom was warming up some soup for supper, my cell phone rang.  I had set it up on the charger, which was across the room, and started toward it.  I failed to see the sharp edge of the aluminum ladder at knee-level and ran straight into it.  That put me on the floor in agony, holding my knee and trying to moderate my profanity while the phone kept ringing.  My mom got the phone to me just as it quit ringing.  I did not care.  I was in pain.  Again.  “What are you doing on the floor?” my mom asked.  I told her what had happened and she said, “Well, you’d better see who was trying to call you.”  It was my husband.  I called him back, still lying on the floor and talked to him very briefly, telling him that I would call him back before I went to bed.  I got up and looked at my knee.  Yep, that was going to leave a mark.  Breach Number Three of the day–check.

“Breach!” was our running joke for the rest of the trip.  My mom and I had a great time together and laughed so hard that our muscles hurt.  I am very bruised from my nose to my big toes, but I did not break, sever, or tear anything.  No external bleeding was involved, so it could have been much worse.  I did not even mess my glasses up!  So if you hear “Breach!” in the future from me, it means I am down for the count.

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