Simpson: A birthday balloon horror story

‘I think we might need to rethink our birthday traditions’

I stepped over a frog getting into my bed the other night. Not a real frog, mind you, just a toy one. Much like the stretchy lizard situation in my house, we tend to have a small frog or two hanging from the ceiling from time to time. This one must have dropped.

It didn’t faze me that much. I’m starting to soften in my old age…well, since having kids and being too tired to keep everything in perfect order (and stretchy plastic critters off the ceiling), which is what I’d prefer. But I won’t lie, I did end up getting out of bed to pick it up and put it on my nightstand. That’s kind of how I am. A place for everything and everything in its place.

My son recently had his fifth birthday. He’s a shy kid so we didn’t get up to much. One of our traditions, though, is birthday balloons — just a bunch of regular ones and one of those special helium-filled mylar balloons. The problem with balloons is there really is no proper place to put them away. They kind of float around as they please. It drives me crazy.

Anyway, the very last thing I do before I go to bed for the night is check on the kids. One tends to sleep perilously close to the edge of the bed and the other seems to have this aversion to any type of blanket and I’m forever trying to cover her up.

It was a few nights after the night I found the frog on my floor. I had left my room to check on the kids when I saw what looked like a floating head at the end of the darkened (and typically empty!) hall. I’m not too proud to admit it scared the bajesus out of me. For a second anyway. It turned out to be that silly mylar balloon. I should have known. My son loves to let go of his helium balloons in the entryway so that they float up two floors. That way his sister can’t play with them. That’s siblings for you. Not only can his sister not reach them, nobody else can either unless we pull out the vacuum or a lacrosse stick and lean perilously over the pony wall at the end of the upstairs hallway.

Mildly spooked, I did my final check on the kids and went to bed. Not long thereafter I was awakened by the most disturbing sound. It’s hard to explain but it was a crinkling but also shwacking sound. Imagine manipulating a sheet of tin foil at the same time as slamming it down on the counter over and over again.

What was that!? I wondered to myself.

The balloon’s aim that night was to haunt me, I swear. It was a warm night. The ceiling fans were on upstairs. The balloon had gotten caught up in the airflow and was sucked into the fan in my son’s room and rattled away until we removed it. What a disturbing noise. My son didn’t stir despite my standing in his room cursing at his birthday balloon.

Enough with that darn balloon! I thought to myself. Scare me once, shame on it. Scare me twice shame on me!

I put it in the bathroom off the hallway because there was no fan on in there, then I went back to bed.

I thought I’d won.

But the balloon wasn’t done.

Some time later, it managed to escape the bathroom and make its way into my room where I was sound asleep. It got sucked into my ceiling fan and the resulting crinkle-shwack, crinkle-shwack, crinkle-shwack, awoke me with a jolt. To an outsider, I’m sure it would have been pretty funny but it was all I could do not to rip my poor son’s birthday balloon to pieces.

Instead I jammed the silly thing in my closet, closed the sliding door tight and went back to bed. Sleep overcame me. Finally.

The next morning I went to my closet to get my clothes for the day.

The balloon popped up as I opened the door, startling me, and giving it the last laugh.

I think we might need to rethink our birthday traditions.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Vancouver Island’s West Coast going wild about cycling

Ongoing project will tie Tofino and Ucluelet together with a paved cycling trail

Vancouver Island mom says proper support lacking for dyslexics

October is International Dyslexia Awareness month

Robert Barron column: Cell phone rules in cars are clear as mud

Woman not actively using her cell should not be guilty of distracted driving

Second puppy killed by poisonous mushrooms in Victoria

Springer spaniel puppy died after consuming mushrooms in Fairfield neighbourhood

Vancouver Island mayors getting first-hand look at E&N railway

Island Corridor Foundation taking mayors of railway towns on inspection tours

ELECTION 2019: Have Justin Trudeau’s Liberals really cut middle-class taxes?

Conservative Andrew Scheer vows to cut bottom bracket, NDP’s Jagmeet Singh targets wealth tax

Suspect hits woman with pipe, jumps into waiting truck in downtown Nanaimo

Police say victim believes ‘vicious assault’ was an attempted purse-snatching

Sentencing date set for Vancouver Island father convicted of killing his two daughters

Andrew Berry was found guilty of two counts of second-degree murder last month

Missing Nanaimo hiker safely located

Search and rescue teams, RCMP were involved in search in south Nanaimo

Langford woman charged after allegedly racking up $10,000 in loans using stolen identity

A 32-year-old Langford woman faces theft, fraud, and impersonation charges

Wind warning issued for Campbell River

Wind could reach speeds of up to 70km/h: Environment Canada

Victoria woman selling car halts fraudster in action

VicPD warns public to be on the lookout for bank draft fraud

Qualicum Beach offering jobs to supportive housing residents?

City council considers back-to-work program to help Orca Place residents in their transition

RCMP Emergency Response Team called in to arrest man at Black Creek General Store

42-year-old Campbell River man facing numerous charges

Most Read