Our house had aluminum frame windows with horizontal sliding panes. Notable was that the window latches were Not located on the sills of the windows, but instead were placed vertically in the middle each window's sliding frame. The window latches were spring type levers which, when the window was closed, had a nose designed to catch on a shallow lip of the stationary window frame to lock the window in place. Normally, opening the window required the latch head to be pressed. This rotated the latch nose over the fixed window frame lip and allowed the window to slide (horizontally) open.
A supervised child with idle time can be annoying ("are we there yet?" "I'm bored"):
Danger Level "Green"
An unsupervised child with idle time on his hands is dangerous ("Hmmm, what to do?"):
Danger Level "Yellow"
An unsupervised child with time and a defined purpose is about to break something:
Danger Level "Red Alert"
The problem:Once upon a time, during the days of Jr. High I was a latch key kid. I had the world (or a least a key) on a string. This string was worn around my neck and allowed entry into our house when the school bus deposited me at home after school.
One day, I exited the school bus only to discover that I had forgotten my string! My brother was working out at the high school gym and my parents would be at work for another hour or two. As I stood at the doorway and thought about my plight the Danger Level went from Yellow to Red Alert. I determined that I was not going to just hang out by the house until someone with a key rescued me; I was getting into that house and I had a couple hours on my hands to do it.
The Plan:I cased the house. The back door was locked as well. None of the windows appeared to have been left open. Ok, now what... Hmmm. The light bulb went off in my head. My brother and I had previously discovered an important feature of our home's aluminum windows: they (at least some of the taller ones) could be opened from outside. The highly technical procedure involved carefully applied pressure on the window frame, just opposite the latch. If done correctly, and with a little luck, the movable window frame would bow in just enough to release the latch nose from the window frame lip and the window could then be slid open.
The precursor to the outside motivated window opening procedure was taking the screen off the window. The window screens on our house were held in by metal spring loops that hung on tenaciously when attempting to remove the window screens. The numerous, creatively non-square screens to be seen around our house bore testimony to our initial attempts at this non-normal window opening technique. The bent screens were also the visible reminder that this external window opening procedure was as strictly forbidden as our beach ball wiffle bat game in the sun room.
The red flags slid by my conscience, I was now in the heat of my plan and paid no attention to sense or consequences. I was scouting for likely windows when my eye saw the orchard ladder leaning to the side of a kitchen window. Ah, that was the one. It wasn't a short window over a sink, it was for the kitchen eating area and was one of the taller windows in the house.
I removed the screen (already bent so nobody would notice the extra damage) and mounted the ladder. I leaned far over to my right and pushed with the precise amount of force needed to release the window latch.
That also happened to be the precise amount of force needed to unbalance the ladder. The ladder suddenly shifted and tilted. My precarious balance was violently lost and I was thrown forward into and through the window I was attempting to open. Gravity and the ladder propelled me in a forward turn and my right shoulder and side went through the window and as I fell I completed my turn and landed completely inside the house flat on my back on top of the kitchen table with the majority of the window in large shards flat beneath me.
After the adrenaline rushing through my body calmed to a small avalanche, I, violently trembling, got off the table and began picking up the glass shards and putting them in the garbage. My heart then jumped out of my chest at the sudden sound of the front door opening. And I watched my brother walk in the door.
He evidently didn't stay after school to work out that afternoon.
My father stated afterward that, when he heard what had happened, the only thoughts that had gone through his mind were utter relief and astonishment that I hadn't been cut in half. Looking at the setting, there was not much room for forward momentum. The ladder was flat against the side of the house and I was leaning far out to my right. Truly, gravity and all should have pulled me down on top of the remaining jagged shards sticking up from the bottom of the broken window frame like a glass saw. But instead I was propelled completely through the opening (body, legs, feet and all) and ended up without any significant cuts or injuries that I can remember.
His and my belief was that God had other plans for me and, however it was accomplished, God saved me from myself on that day.
His mercies are new every morning (or afternoon).
Lamentations 3:22 &23 (NIV)
22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.