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The other day, we went to a friend’s child’s birthday party. It was at a bounce house place, although that description is a bit misleading. These were so not the bounce houses of my childhood. The place was filled with giant inflatable obstacle courses, nearly vertical climbing walls (inflated ones, but that made it harder, not easier) with handholds and footholds in the appropriate places. There were also 50 foot inflatable slides. Those were really fun, although reaching the top of some of them was easier than others. Some of the obstacle courses contained tunnels you had to shimmy through to reach the next section. Others had actual vertical drops, which was impossible to tell before reaching the top. In one case I had assisted Avery up a climbing wall and had assumed there was a slide on the other side, so I told her to go ahead. I was still climbing to the top, so I hadn’t realized what awaited us. Fortunately Avery is much smarter than her Mommy, because she stayed right where she was. Thank goodness, because in front of her was a six-foot vertical drop. Ack! Yes, the whole thing was inflatable, but that’s a crazy drop for a not-even two-year-old. I lowered her carefully down before making the jump myself.

We had started out in a room with significantly smaller obstacles and slides, as the party was for a two-year-old. But the air conditioning in the original room wasn’t working, so they ended up moving us. The kids handled the change like champs, but it was quite nerve-wracking for the adults. Also, helping Avery get through some of the obstacles was quite challenging. You’re required to wear socks, so my feet kept slipping on some of the climbs. It’s hard to support someone else when you’ve fallen and are lying on the bottom on your ass. Because that happened. Only once, but it did happen. Thankfully Avery kept holding on until I could reach her again. My shoulder must have taken the brunt of the fall, or maybe the punishment came from the many “almost” falls I had, the ones where I managed to hang on by one arm. Either way, my shoulder is killing me today. And my knees. I was wearing jeans, but all of that crawling through tiny tunnels and landing on my knees took its toll. I had serious friction burns on my knees in the end; I could feel them even before I could see them. I told a friend it was going to look like I’d been having too much fun, and her response was that it was going to look like someone had been having too much fun, but probably not me. The conversation deteriorated from there. I’ll leave you to imagine the details.

I had Chris take a picture of my knees. When I got home and changed clothes, I looked down and burst out laughing. My knees looked as bad as I could have imagined. I sent the picture to the friend, but said I didn’t want to share it on Facebook, because it was too easy to visualize the comments I’d get, even if the damage was bounce house-related. Plus, you know, I don’t love my legs, even without the bounce house damage. She said I should go ahead and share it, that it was “freeing” to basically say “fuck it.” Fine. So I’ll post the picture here, and see how free I feel.

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Two things:

1) Yes, I really did this crawling through bounce house tunnels.
2) Yes, my legs are really that white, even though I live in Southern California.

“You are my legs, and I love you.” Well, I’m trying.

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