Stupid Is as Stupid Does

Major tail wag... guess who isn't normally allowed up here?
Major tail wag... guess who isn't normally allowed up here?
What's a dog to do when YOU are down THERE?

Limited by YOUR Barriers

I’ve gone “round and round” about even sharing this with you, as I’ve already caught a lot of GRIEF from my beloved family. I decided to go ahead and post about it, however, because I did learn some things about myself and limitations.

About a week and a half ago, I got what SEEMED like a wonderful idea. I was sitting on my deck drinking my morning tea in the brisk air. Not a cloud in the sky, which meant I was going to have a “good balance day“. Chloe was dozing at my feet. The kids were still in bed. I had a great night’s sleep.

For the past several weeks I had noticed a dead vine hanging on the corner of my house. I also noticed that it was level with the deck in my backyard. Being the intelligent woman that I am (clears throat) I ALSO noticed that it was within arm’s reach of my deck if one was but to “lean a little”. When I first noticed it, my thought was that “I need to get Terry to remove that vine. It bugs me”.

Well sitting there on my deck and feeling particularly FINE, I decided that I would reach around the corner of the deck and grab the vine and jerk it off. Eyesore gone… and I didn’t even have to bother Terry!

Now our deck has a barricade at the staircase, because the stairs are dangerously steep. We plan to replace our deck in the next year, and my biggest “plan of action” is to make a more gradual staircase to the yard below. For now it is barricaded so dogs do not injure themselves going 100 mph down the stairs. (It also keeps ME from thinking I can descend it safely!)

I told Chloe, “Chloe STAY. I’m going to just step over here and grab this vine.

As soon as I put my leg over the rail of the deck she SHOT out of her sit/stay and looked at me with “fear and trembling“. If she could have said, “What the HECK are ya doin’?” she would have!

I perched on the rail and pointed my finger at her and said, “Chloe! Sit! Down! STAY!” She lay there with her forehead all wrinkled up and eyes wide as I slipped my other leg over the rail. I remember thinking, “She is really a piece of WORK! I mean this is easy, it’ll take me 10 seconds!”

That’s the last thought I had.

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

If a person with hearing loss has a balance disorder as well, it just isn’t smart to do things… UP. High. On. Purpose.


I’m not sure how long I was out. When I came too, I could see Chloe barking from the deck above me. She was no longer in a down/stay. (Obviously, I didn’t fuss at her).

I lay there a minute to evaluate “where it hurt“. It only took a second to realize that it was my leg. A stick was poking out of my calf near my ankle and it certainly hurt!

Here’s a picture of:




My ankle 10 days following STUPID
My ankle 10 days following STUPID

Chloe couldn’t get to me, and was barking like crazy. I couldn’t have been out very long, because I’m sure her barking would have eventually woke up one of my kids. She has a really loud hound bark, (not at ALL feminine!).

Barriers Put Up by ME

As I sat there pulling the stick out of my leg I began to talk to Chloe. As I talked, she stopped barking and just sat there looking down at me with a look of panic on her face.

The real dilemma? All the doors were locked! I was going to have to get to the staircase across the yard, get up the steps and over the semi-permanent barrier we had erected “for safety’s sake”. The door from the deck to the house was the only one unlocked. I could have knocked, but the metal security door under the deck to our laundry room is solid and doesn’t produce a very loud knock.

To make a very long … somewhat boring story – SHORTER (grin), I made it inside. It took me awhile, and I had to find my cochlear implant before even starting on the “trip”! Chloe whined her encouragement the entire way.

My kids were pretty surprised to come upstairs for breakfast to find me with my foot in the air with ice on it. Ok… actually I’m stretching the truth here. My kids know me. They weren’t at ALL surprised to come upstairs to find me with my foot in the air and ice on it.

They DID call dibs on who got to call “Dad” and tell him what happened.

Barriers Can be Good

I put up that barrier for a reason. It should have been a reminder to me just how high off the ground I was. The barrier was to serve as a preventative for descending to the yard below from the deck. By-passing the stairs all together was just a little bit STUPID. That barrier should have served as a reminder AND a preventative.

Sometimes we put up barriers in our lives to protect ourselves. Maybe you’ve learned the hard way to avoid critical people. You put up a block… a barrier to not allow people like that close to you. The barrier can keep people who aren’t “safe” for you emotionally, at a distance that is healthier for YOU.

But why do we sometimes slip a leg over the railing to by-pass the barrier? Why do we seem to embrace people who have a history of causing us emotional duress? Perhaps someone with an expression like Chloe’s, looks on in concern and asks carefully, “do you know what it is you are doing?” Ignoring the possibility that they may be right, you slip your leg over the rail anyway and think, “Gee! They are a piece of WORK!”

Friends? The only work is that long walk “home” after falling on your butt. It may take years even to get back to a healthy place. Almost “home“, and you step over a familiar looking barrier that you had up as a warning and preventative prior to being duped again.

Safe People

Surround yourself with “safe people“. These folks are individuals who bring out the best in you. They love you warts and all. They are an encouragement to you, and cheer lead you to reach for your dreams.

What’s tough is when some of those people who aren’t safe are related to you. There are times you have to interact, but you can learn to do so in a way that they don’t breach even the barriers you put up for them.

I am not encouraging an unforgiving heart either. If someone is truly repentant (meaning they have made a CHANGE) and want to be a friend to you again, you should be willing to trust they mean it. If their efforts fail, however, and they still are a “toxic person”, at least you have the experience and “supplies handy” to put that barrier right back up.


You know the BOOGER of it?

That. Vine. Is. Still. There.

Denise Portis

© 2009 Hearing Loss Journal

8 thoughts on “Stupid Is as Stupid Does

  1. OMGOODNESS! Im glad ur okay. Hope it Heals fast.. Now you know you have to call the kids or hubby next time.

    PS- I liked your title of blog remind me of forrest gump movie.


  2. Glad you survived with not too much damage though…(Shudder) That could have been me, for the grace of God…many times I have similarly stuck out my leg and done something stupid! So far, no stick in my ankle…(knock wood)

    Liked your narrative style very much!

  3. DE-NISE! Be careful! I know I only know you online, but you’re scaring me, ’cause I care about you! :0)

    And, besides that, I’m feeling convicted. Good post.

    Take care,


  4. See, now hon, cowards live longer! Cowardice can be a good thing.

    Poor Chloe. You scared 5 years off her hound life. Loved the analogy about toxic people. I pull a Chloe and bark my head off everytime my brother calls…Mom never learns, though, and I’m stuck with the mess.

    I hear ya about the vine, too: durn thing. Maybe one of the kids would kindly yank it down for you?

  5. Wow, I am glad that you are not badly hurt. You make me think of the rediculously stupid things I do all the time. Please be more careful if only for the sake of your poor service dog. how much can one hound take. Geesh.

    Take care

  6. Eh, get a grabber…so you can just reach out with that metal arm and take down that vine! No need to worry Chloe or the rest of us!

    John told me over the phone last night about your story…you poor thing…glad you weren’t hurt worse! That could have been really bad!

    I’m so afraid of heights, that never would have entered my head to do that…you’re “braver” thank me. 😉

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