Today (well, technically yesterday, but let's just pretend it's still Monday, shall we?) is my sister's birthday, and when I was trying to come up with an idea for my Monday Memories post, it dawned on me that the day I almost killed my sister would be a good memory to share... very appropriate given that her birthday is good reason every year to celebrate that she is still here with us!
When we were younger, our parents underwent a massive kitchen renovation/addition to the house. Given the events that I am about to describe, I am pretty sure that if I actually looked up the year we did the renovations I would be horrified at how old I was. I feel like I was a very young teenager, but like I said, I'll probably find out I was 18 or something.
We went through a stretch where we were eating out at restaurants a lot, and using our microwave on a card table in the TV room. After a while, we all began to count down the days until we could use our kitchen again. Don't get me wrong... it WAS pretty cool to see a renovation unfold. I love me some demolition! BUT... every family has their breaking point.
So, when the day finally came that the new cabinetry and counter tops had been installed, I was pretty excited. I went racing around trying every drawer, cupboard, shelf and secret compartment I could find. In hindsight, it reminds me of everytime I go to Canadian Tire. I am absolutely compelled to visit the wall of car stereo systems, where I have to push all the buttons to see what they do.
Again... slightly hazy on the details of how my sister appeared on the scene (was she there all along? Did she wander in?), but I'm sure she will agree that there is no mistaking what happened next. I turned to my sister and said something mega-nerdy like, "Let's celebrate our new kitchen!!" and swung her around so we were back to back, and then I forced her to link arms with me and I leaned forward, intending to flip her onto my back... and possibly right over... who knew what celebratory plans I had in mind. If you were ever an 8 year old girl, you probably did this with your friends all the time at summer camp. I found a video of it on Youtube:
It's shocking how much the girl's voice on this clip sounds like me! Anyway, that's sort of what I had in mind that day. Too bad my sister wasn't in on the planning process.
It wasn't until she wrestled herself away from me and started wheezing, doubled over near the new breakfast island and appliance drawers that any of us noticed something might be wrong. The whole time I am trying to flip my sister over my head, my parents are happily casing out the new cupboards... envisioning where everything might go.
We all kind of froze, and things started to go in slow-motion for a bit. I was watching my sister put her hands up to her neck, wondering when it was that you are supposed to intervene and do the Heimlich maneuver. All we could hear was her gasping: "Kah... Kay... Keh..."
I'm sure I was doing something completely UNhelpful like asking her to clarify what she was trying to say: "Sorry, come again? Are you trying to say my name? What are you trying to say?"
Then suddenly we all heard:
There, lying on our newly renovated floor was a tiny key. We looked up, and my sister is gulping air with unbridled gratitude.
When she caught her breath, she grabbed the key and explained with frustration how she'd been transporting her diary key in her mouth until I decided I was the newest swing dance sensation this side of the Atlantic and hauled her up onto my back, lodging the key firmly in her throat.
She had only been able to wheeze out "Keh" (choking person translation: "Key!!") through the tiny hole in the key where your key chain or necklace chain goes through!
I thought I'd die right there on the spot of guilt. I felt sooo bad! I probably apologized a million times. I can't remember if my sister could laugh about it at the time, but this story has come up almost as many times since then as the crazy man and his dog who cornered us on the one way street. It's another family legend.
And that is why I say thank goodness that she is here to celebrate another birthday today. I can't imagine life without you sis! Happy Birthday!