If you are about to purchase your first ever home, listen up. The moment the legal documents are signed and the keys are passed into your hands, expect there to be a home repair or two waiting for you when you come in the front door. It’s inevitable. Something will break and need fixing, especially if you have kids.
I think we all know home maintenance comes with the territory of home ownership. We generally anticipate and prepare for the appliance that dies, the toilet that leaks and the air conditioner that gives up the ghost in the middle of summer. But some a home repair can also happen because of a bizarre reasons we could never have anticipated. Know what I mean?
Well I think I’ve got dibs on the craziest event ever that caused a home repair. It wasn’t the baseball through the bay window or the overflowing, second-floor bathroom sink. No, I prefer to create damage with a bit of flair. It all happened when I was eight.
A Crazy Accident Leads to a Home Repair
My sister and I loved Matchbox cars when we were young. We collected them, traded them and raced them all over the house. We had an older home that contained hardwood floors throughout. This made for great racetracks at various locations around the house.
Our favorite location to race our cars was upstairs. We had a long hallway that led from the three bedrooms at one end, past a closet, to a den and the bathroom entrance at the far end. Laying on the hardwood floor was a carpet runner that we would roll up and then race our cars up and down the hallway. It was a blast!
But that was not even the best part. At the far end of the hallway near the bathroom entrance was a small, square grouping of floorboards that could be removed, exposing the 8-12 inch gap between the upstairs floor and the downstairs ceiling. The previous homeowners had installed an electrical junction box in that space underneath the floor and never secured the boards back in place.
This square hole in the middle of the floor became our imaginary “death trap.” We sped our cars down the hallway watching with glee as they nosedived off the cliff and into the dark, dusty crater below. Time and time again we enjoyed this game until…
One day, I’m standing next to the opening in the floor watching another one of my sister’s cars plunge into the abyss. I happen to look down for a moment at the square hole in the floor. To this day I don’t know what I was thinking or what came over me, but I just had an overwhelming sensation…to jump…in the hole.
And I did!
And there was no way 1/2 inch of drywall and plaster was going to hold the weight of my frame. I went plummeting straight down through the downstairs ceiling. Except, I didn’t end up going all the way through the hole. My free-falling body caught itself underneath my armpits so that my head and arms were at floor level of the upstairs and my legs were dangling and kicking widely in the airspace of the downstairs. My chin was literally resting on the upstairs floor with my arms jutting upward and outward at angles like spider legs.
I was in sheer panic mode. My skinny arms did not have the strength to push myself up out of my predicament. I was screaming at my sister to get help. In stunned disbelief she sat there – motionless – unable to utter a cry for help.
My aunt was visiting at the time and just happened to be in the upstairs bathroom. I’ll never forget the look on her face when she walked out of the bathroom and saw me struggling. It must have looked like my head and arms had been decapitated because that is all she could see of me.
She quickly yelled for my mom who was in her bedroom. She ran frantically down the hall. Each one of them grabbed an arm and pulled me up out of the hole. I was perfectly fine except for some minor scraping underneath my armpits where they had rubbed against the upstairs floor as I struggled to extricate myself.
But oh, what a hole I had created in the downstairs ceiling. There was debris and dust for a mile in every direction. And of course, my dad gets the call at his office….“Brian fell through the ceiling!” He comes racing home. It was quite the spectacle.
We spent the next hour cleaning up that mess. My dad spent the weekend fixing the hole in the ceiling. But not before he took a hammer and some nails from his workshop and permanently secured those loose boards in the upstairs hallway.
Our “death trap” was never used for playtime again. May it rest in peace.
Questions: What’s your craziest home repair story?
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