Just because I have feet….By Steve Estes
Ah…the joys of having a seven-year-old in the house after years of older children, or no children at all.
I really only have one pet major peeve with children, whether they be members of our household or just visiting.
When it’s time for the lights to go out, it’s time for all foreign objects to be off the floor.
Having stray things on the floor doesn’t bother some folks like it does me, and I guess that’s because I have spent most of my adult life working weird hours that often don’t get me home until well after dark.
Sometimes, when I get home after everyone else is in bed, I don’t even bother to turn on lights so I don’t disturb the rest of the house.
I’m gonna have to learn to turn on a light when I enter the front door.
One of the reasons stray objects on the floor are a special pain for me is that I actually have feet. I don’t have overly large feet, but they’re larger than most folks my size, and it takes some room to be able to plant them on the ground.
My lovely wife has no feet. I could put both of her feet up to ankles in one of my shoes. And the seven-year-old definitely has no feet, and probably won’t for the foreseeable future.
So the chances of them bringing their foot down on some stray object in the floor after dark are very slim. The changes of me doing the same thing are infinitely higher.
And I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a severe tenderfoot. It hurts. Or I trip. Or I stumble into furniture. And I don’t often drink.
I kick off my shoes at the front door. We now have hardwood floors despite my best attempts to leave my carpet in pace. I want warmth on my feet when I get out of bed in the morning, and for me it’s just easier to walk on carpet than a hard surface.
I am also one of the few people who use the house on a routine basis that picks up the feet while walking, making it almost certain that I’ll step on something rather than kick it out of the way.
So stray objects in the floor are an issue.
Take last Wednesday night for instance. I got in late because that’s deadline night for me and I always work late. The house was dark.
I left it that way.
I kicked off the shoes, stepped through the threshold and put my foot down on some gooey, squishy thingy that seeped up through my toes. I found out later it was unaccounted for Play-Doh.
I immediately jerked my foot skyward thinking I had squashed the dog (without just a small pang of guilt I might add) and hit the floor with the other foot. That foot came to rest on a hard, plastic object, forcing me to hop forward and nearly dumping me unceremoniously on the hard floor.
I took one more step and came down on a sports bottle that had dregs of something in it, squirting the something all over the floor and my other foot, adding to the gooey, squishy thingy that was already there.
I don’t know which language I cursed in, but I’m sure it was one of the five in which I can do that (curse, not speak).
I reached down to pick up the sports bottle and hit my head on the edge of the coffee table. I think it had been moved just for this occasion.
I got up, rubbing my tortured cranium, and took another step, only to kick something made out of wooden blocks with my bare toes.
I have no toenails on my big toes, a result of several accidents while a kid, so the pain that shot through my leg went all the way to my already tortured cranium, joining the other pain in a pre-New Years party inside my skull.
I must have been a little bit perturbed because I hauled back and kicked the blocks across the room. This time the pain was my own doing.
I couldn’t see where the blocks landed in the dark, but I just knew several of them would now be scattered across the floor in front of me.
I wasn’t disappointed.
See, if I pass up the living room light switch inside the threshold, I have to make it past the kitchen to find another switch that will turn on some lights. Between me and that switch was still several feet of floor, an ottoman and my lovely wife’s antique Queen Victorian-style chair, which always has a metal-framed ottoman in front of it.
The ottoman is usually stuffed under the chair as far as it will go so I don’t have to worry about my feet knocking it around in the dark. Not so this night.
Have I mentioned that I have gotten less graceful as the years pass and the weight piles up?
But in running into the ottoman, I knew exactly where I was. A stretch with my right hand and I could reach the other light switch. There are two. One operates a light over the kitchen table, the other the light in the hallway. I hit the hallway switch.
And there, at the end of the hall, was this little cherub face peeking out a barely opened door with a grin the size of Mount Rushmore plastered to it.
And about a dozen more wood blocks.
I had been set up; successfully I might add, by a mischievous seven-year-old.
I took off my shirt and pegged it at his smiling face. He got the door closed in time.
Would it be bad form to play a practical joke on a seven-year-old?