beware the bed sheets

Two days ago, a bird fell down the chimney of our wood stove. At first, it stayed in the chimney (which was a good choice, seeing as the stove was still hot from the morning’s fire), but by evening the bird had moved into the stove part and was scratching around all panicky and desperate. It gave me the willies.

I’m glad the bird didn’t get caught in the fly tape.

So yesterday morning, once the kids were up and breakfasted, I closed all the blinds, put blankets up at the windows that had no blinds, and opened the doors wide. The girls stood on the stairs with a blanket in front of them to keep the bird from flying up yonder, my younger son and I stood out on the porch, and my older son opened the stove door.

The dumb bird flew straight into the bright, lace-covered windows. The kids promptly abandoned their posts and ran to the curtain-swinging, wing-flopping bird. I yelled at them to get back to their places, but my younger boy positioned himself right smack in the middle of the doorway so he could see better, so of course the bird crashed straight into him on his way out. The poor boy (who didn’t listen to me so I wasn’t really all that sorry for him) (except I was totally sorry for him because flapping birds are terrifying) was moderately traumatized and cried quite loudly for a couple minutes. Then we shut the doors, folded up the blankets, opened the blinds, and went about our ordinary day.

Except I didn’t. Because I went outside to hang a sheet over the clothesline and my shoulder/back/neck seized up, so I spent the rest of the day propped up in bed watching episodes of Grey’s Anatomy interspersed with TED lectures.

As far as I can tell, it’s the very same affliction that I got when I was vacationing at my aunt’s house two years ago. I do not know why it happens or if there is anything I could do to prevent it. Perhaps this is what it feels like to be smoted? First there were the warts and now I get zapped? If I were a superstitious person, I’d be knocking on wood and shaking salt over everything.

Instead, I just cried tears of self-pity and pain, rotted my brain out with stupid shows, and took so many painkillers that I could barely carry my end of a phone conversation with my mom.

And then I slept really good and woke up somewhat improved. I still walk around like my spine is tied to a pole, and the weight of my heavy head on my achy neck completely wipes me out, but I’m at least doing things like making tortillas and putting kids on time out and organizing the bathroom cupboard (and delivering some pretty powerful lectures on lying and trust-worthiness and responsibility to my four darling children who took advantage of their mother’s smitedness to live the high life). But no hanging up laundry for me, for sure.

And maybe forever.

my view from the sofa: obedient, hard-working children … at least for a little while

This same time, years previous: drama trauma, the perils of homemade chicken broth, sticking my neck out, the Monday rambles, shoofly pie


  • Anonymous

    I am surprised that people don't have screens on their chimneys. On different occasions, my aunt had two bats, a bird, and even a squirrel get into her wood burning stove. After the squirrel, she finally put a screen on the chimney and has had a critter-free stove ever since.

  • the domestic fringe

    Oh, my soul! I have a wood stove. Now I have something else to worry about!! I would say maybe that's how my bat got in, but we had a fire going, so unless it's a Santa Claus bat, I doubt that was his point of entry.

    The bird would panic me too. Once we had a bird get into our bedroom. It flew all crazy and I hid under the blankets. My husband managed to get it out the window.

    Your house must have been hysterical during that time. I'm sorry for your son though. He might not like birds after that. 😉

    I do hope you start feeling better soon. It's terrible being in pain and not being able to move, especially when you have stuff to do and actually want to get out of bed. Saying a prayer for your swift healing.

  • Beth Brubaker

    That should teach you to do laundry! Maybe you're body is trying to tell you something- laundry is BAD- stop doing it! 😉

    All joking aside, I pray for relief for you when that happens. Nothing worse than muscles that refuse to behave- though I have not experienced what you had, I have a very good imagination!

    Keep watching the TED stuff- that will never rot your brain cells! I love them too, though I don't always have time to watch them. You might also want to check out it has all kinds of things like Youtube, but they are clean and often very funny! is another one too- lots of good stuff to watch that is MUCH better than TV!

    God bless and I hope you feel better soon!

  • Mavis

    Have you watched "House" before? It's a medical drama and Dr. House is a wee bit on the cranky side. I think he'd be fun to spar with.

  • Anonymous

    My own Rx: ibuprofen, ice packs, and a chiropractor who knows what he's/she's doing. Don't know if it's the same with you, but when my neck/back goes out that badly, it's usually because I've been ignoring little twinges for awhile. Small chiropractic adjustments at the "twinges" stage really helps stave off the "attack." Hope you feel better soon. 🙂 JDM

    • Jennifer Jo

      I wasn't having any twinges beforehand! I was feeling great—actually very relaxed (or as relaxed as someone like me can be). This is what confuses me. I wish there were some warning signs so I could do something preventative.

      I am feeling lots better now—not 100 percent, but I'm able to work instead of watch shows and that feels GREAT.

  • Rachelle

    I started having similar problems in college. My neck muscles would seize up and I'd be in a lot of pain for quite a while. I generally attributed this to stress but after the first time it happened, it seems to require less instigating to get it to happen again. Though I think I recover more quickly now so, eh.

    Generally I take some ibprofen, muscle relaxers if it's really bad, and make sure I'm not putting my shoulders and neck in stressful positions.

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