Normally, if a person was to come into a room and notice that the ceiling fan was a little off-kilter, it could be assumed that the fan just needed a bolt or a screw tightened – but sometimes it is a mystery how the fan keeps becoming a swinging menace and constantly needs to be re-aligned.
We had this very mystery in our house during the first summer the children were old enough to all be at home on their own. I arrived home at my normal time and noticed that the ceiling fan was not spinning correctly and appeared to be ready to spin itself right out of its anchor. I turned off the fan and inspected the anchors and entire fan to try to figure out what had gone wrong. The fan was relatively new and although Pat, my husband had installed it, he seemed to know what he was doing at the time – so I felt confident that it should be a little more stable.
As I got closer to the fan, I noticed that there were red marks all over the ceiling. Since no child was laying injured on the floor, no ambulance on the front lawn and no police cars with sirens blaring now the road – I thought it was safe to assume that the marks were not made with blood. I touched the offending marks and found that they were not sticky, so my guess of paint was probably incorrect also.
I started to search around the room to see if there were any clues as to why my ceiling looked like the beginnings of a Jackson Pollack painting. I found the usual clutter of small stuffed animals and other toys. I also noticed that the dog had come out of hiding when the fan was shut off. I thought it would be wise to check the kitchen garbage – knowing that my children would be too lazy to actually empty it to cover any atrocities they had committed during the day. In the trash I found various interesting items – a few felt tip pens – mostly red and a couple of red ink pens.
It appeared that I had found the items which had caused the red marks on the ceiling but what did that have to do with the fan? Could the red marks be related to my wobbly fan – or was it just a coincidence that these had appeared at the same time? Also, why was the dog acting so weird every time I turned on the fan — disappearing into another room and not coming out until the fan was turned off? Very weird.
About the time that I was going to blame it on the house (see The House Attacked Me) or aliens doing very weird experiments on the dog – my youngest daughter, Becky walked into the house and spilled her guts. Becky never could lie and always felt bad when her brother, Tim did something really stupid.
It was aliens and it wasn’t the house — once again, Tim had been performing one of his experiments – and this time, he included all of his friends. He had devised a new game – and I’m pretty sure this one will not be sanctioned by any parent group or sold in any store at Christmas time. Here are the rules:
1. Everyone who wants to participate stands in a circle around the kitchen table. The ceiling fan is directly over the table and visible to all.
2. The fan is turned on to high speed.
3. Everyone gets to choose one object — a pen, a beanie baby or a small stuffed animal.
4. Everyone takes turns throwing his/her object into the fan.
5. Whoever gets hit by the object, is the next one to throw something into the fan.
6. If your object gets destroyed by the fan, you get to choose something else.
7. If no one is hit by the object, everyone throws an object into the fan until someone is clobbered.
8. Game ends when fan gets out of control or Mom comes home – whichever comes first.
I suppose I should be thankful that we didn’t have a garden that year or I would have found vegetable parts all over the house, instead of beanie babies and headless Ninja Turtles. This also explains why the dog was hiding – she didn’t like getting hit with the flying objects – if they had used food the dog would have LOVED the new game.
Tim’s escapades were never boring and he always managed to get someone to help him destroy things (see Gopher Holes and Squirrels). Luckily, we only had a $100 deductible on the house and really good health insurance!