My kids got a 14' trampoline from Santa on Christmas. It was unassembled since Santa was really busy and in a hurry (and it was raining). My Dear Hubby (D.H. from this point on) spent about 7 hours yesterday trying to put it together in the 35 degree weather. It seems that Santa didn't notice that we don't have a trampoline friendly yard. There are very few flat spots, which is kind of important for a trampoline. The one flat expanse that can house the monstrosity is under huge pine trees with kazillions of pine needles and cones (not to mention the occasional falling limb). That, of course, is not where D.H. wanted to put it. He had grandiose ideas that involved post hole diggers, a tiller, and lots of other man tools. I begged him to just put it there and let the kids start jumping, but I obviously didn't understand the testosterone levels required to know anything about trampolines. After some not so kind words from D.H. about my need to "control" everything, I teared up a little and backed off. If D.H. wanted the trampoline to be his baby, then so be it. I had many better things to do than freeze my fingers and toes off trying to help set up a trampoline.
I left D.H. at home to tackle the trampoline while I went off for some "me" time. I returned a couple of hours later to a horrible site. Shocking, really. Completely Southern Red Neck shocking. D.H. had the trampoline almost completely assembled in the FRONT YARD!!! I could not breathe. My mouth was gaping open and my head was involuntarily moving left to right as I pulled into the driveway. I started chanting "No, No, No,...NO, NO, NO" like some kind of angry Yoga instructor who just realized the whole class was breathing wrong. Now, our front yard is not large. It is also sloped with only one flat area--directly in front of the living room window. Yep, that's where D.H. and his partner in crime, our almost 10 year old daughter, had the 14' trampoline placed (do you realize how big 14' actually is? It's enormous! Our whole family could sleep on the trampoline without touching each other. HUGE!). They were working feverishly to finish it before I got home so I couldn't object as strenuously as D.H. knew I would. I mean what kind of mother would ruin the elation of her children bouncing through the air where the entire neighborhood or anyone who wandered down our dead-end street could enjoy watching them in their joy? As I made my way up the yard, our neighbor drove by with a look on his face that can only be described as "my property value has just plummeted". He didn't even wave...he always waves. Obviously, I refused to even consider the front yard option. D.H., of course, said it was only temporary; just until the end of the week when he could rent the proper man tools to do the job right in the back yard. If I had a straight 120 minutes, I would add to this post the 120+ "temporary" issues we have in our home because of D.H. A good example to make my point is the 2x4 beam that's "temporarily" held our fence gate closed for the past 8 years. I said something about those 120+ "temporary" issues along with a few of "over my dead body" and "I'll burn it first" and "we are not white trash" comments. I sent the kids inside and spent the next 90 minutes freezing my fingers and toes off (not to mention my booty) helping D.H move the incorrectly assembled (yep--because of his rush to finish before I got home, he put the springs on wrong) to the backyard. If someone had videod this action, we would be YouTube famous. That thing is heavy, awkward, uncooperative, and, again I mention, huge. Where do you think we put it? That's right, on the one flat spot under the giant pine trees. It's not assembled correctly yet. Both kids are disappointed and D.H.'s manhood membership card is under review,...but our neighbors are thrilled.
A trampoline just screams "unsafe" to me. Most people aren't very good at flying through the air at high rates of speed. The landing can be quite jarring. Everyone I know with a trampoline, and I mean everyone, has at least one trampoline induced injury to report. Ask the next person you know with a trampoline to show you his scar. He's got one. I'm sure we have a trampoline caused ER visit in our future. But, it's difficult not to see a 14', poorly assembled, misplaced trampoline as a metaphor for my life. Life is too big for me most of the time and I don't handle it well. I feel out of control like when you bounce higher than you meant to on a trampoline--flailing arms and legs, panic stricken face. D.H. and I are pretty poorly assembled as a couple. We've been married for more than 16 years, but our springs aren't on right yet. Our instruction manuals are in two different languages. We keep expecting the other to switch manuals. It's one of those "temporary" issues we've been dealing with on a permanent basis. I often feel misplaced in my life--that "how did I get here" or "I don't belong here" realization. I live in some fear of the people in my life finding out how misplaced and unqualified I am--as a teacher, a mom, a wife, a daughter...
But, although a trampoline is dangerous, it's also really fun. There's nothing quite like that feeling. I mean, people have run off and joined the circus to be trampoline acrobats. Even the trampoline injury clad get back up and bounce again. That's the approach I need to take going into the new year: ups and downs will come again, the landings can be jarring, but the high points can be worth it all. 2009 was not an easy year for us. So, Santa's BIG gift might just be what this family needs. I just wish he'd assembled it.
39 minutes ago