Monday, June 26, 2006

PantryMutha: The Obstacle Course

Time for another installment of Muthafunga/Pantrygirl antics.

Yesterday, I accidently came across a marathon on ESPN 2 of The Ultimate Obstacle Course. This competition was held in Japan and had several elimination rounds that culminated in a final round which tested every competitors upper body strength.

When my brother and I were kids, we found countless ways to entertain ourselves. Being the obsessive compulsive person that I am, every play event involved 30-40 minutes of setup before actual play. I don’t know how my brother was so patient with me but he was. He even involved himself in the setup.

As kids, our grandparents took care of us while our parents worked. This left us with free reign when it came to setting up our own obstacle courses. Couch cushions, sheets, fans, folding chairs, banisters and even the attic were all parts of our play area. Every pillow in the house was used at some point. Every table was draped with a sheet. Some sheeted tables and chairs had fans to create wind tunnels.

One of our favorite spots was our attic. My dad used to have a wooden foldable ladder that allowed us easy access up and down. He later took it down. He said it had to do with a housing code violation but I think it had to do with the fact my brother and I kept climbing up in there.

Well the attic had another exit for extremely nimble kids like ourselves and luckily it was in my bedroom which later became my brothers. It was in the closet. The upper shelf of the closet had an opening into the attic that was covered by wood slates. Of course we took the slates out.

We set up lamps and other kid friendly items up in the attic. It became a little hiding nook for us. I loved searching through my dad’s old books and my old clothes and toys. There were also neatly stacked luggage and trunks that contained my grandparent’s old items. They were always locked and I would imagine what types of treasure might be inside. I’d later learn they were stuffed with old receipts and checks. My granddad was a bit of a packrat in addition to an obsessive compulsive. With all the dust, dirt, nails and what other dangerous items up there, I can’t believe we survived with minor injuries.

Funny thing is, when I sit and think about those times my brother and I created obstacle courses and mazes, all I can do is think about his smile and his round face. I don’t recall the angry fights or the crying. I just remember having a lot of fun and feeling like we were in our own world. My grandparents probably complained constantly about the noise we were making but I barely remember those moments. I just remember concocting crazy mazes and rushing like madmen trying to put everything back in its place before our parents came home.

Here’s a list of some of the events we are fortunate a major injury did not occur:

1. I broke my father’s closet rod swinging on it like a monkey and nearly chopped my foot off. Why my father had a buzz saw in his clothes closet is beyond me.

2. My brother almost poked his eye out when I put baby powder on the wood floor to make it slick. Sorry bro. It seemed like a good idea.

3. My brother nearly broke my toes pounding 3 lbs dumbbells onto my toes as I hid in my closet during a game of hide and seek. I still can hear the maniacal laugh.

4. My brother drinking a glass of soapy water I left on the table after cleaning the writing I wrote on the wall. Why were you drinking out of someone else’s cup?

5. I fell off my mother’s dress drawer. I broke my fall by having my crotch land on the corner of said dresser. If getting kicked in the oysters is as painful as that incident, I sympathize with all men. I thankfully didn’t need stitches but I did need medication applied to the general region for three weeks. Even at the age of 9, I knew that was truly a mortifying and humiliating experience.

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