This is a story about what happens when your brain doesn't communicate with your body.

I'm visiting my folks in Texas. Today, my mother asked me to look into replacing the venetian mini-blinds along the front of her store. They're old and falling into a pretty sad state of disrepair. Being the typical guy that I am, I tell her that she doesn't need professionals when she has me. My mother is pretty skeptical about the whole idea but I manage to convince her that I've got it all figured out. How hard can it be, right? I measure the width and height of what I need, go to the Home Depot and have a few sections of blinds custom cut. So far, so good.

I grab a step ladder and go to work unmounting the old blinds when I discover to my great pleasure that the blinds that are up there are from the same company as the ones I just bought. I'm thinking, "Great! If they're from the same manufacturer, maybe the mounting brackets will be the same. Less work for me!" WRONG! Not only have the mounting brackets changed, the screw sizes and spacings have changed as well, forcing me to drill a new set of holes for the screws into the metal frame. Meanwhile, I've discovered that my ladder is too short and because of the way the shelving and displays are set up, I can't get the ladder anywhere close to the windows, leaving me perched precariously to one side. So I try standing on the shelves. No go. The windows run the full length from floor to ceiling so the top is flush with the ceiling and the shelves are at precisely the wrong height. If I kneel on them, I can't reach; if I stand, I end up hunched over with bad footing. Not having much of a choice, I proceed with the latter option.

I've bumped my head into the ceiling sending down a shower of plaster for the tenth time and am beginning to mutter curses to myself about how assinine this whole situation is when I have an epiphany. I come down excited about my new plan. Not having any of my climbing gear with me, I grab some rope from my dad's truck and tie myself a Swiss seat. I can take another length of rope and secure myself to the top horizontal crossbar of the security bars that run the length of the windows. Now I don't have to be hunched over but if I brace my knees against the vertical bars, I can lean away into a fairly comfortable semi-seated/squatting position. I congratulate myself on my cleverness and get to work. My mother looks worried but I ignore her.

A good bit of time and nagging later, I finish the job without incident. (Hah! Weren't expecting that, were you?) I step back and admire my handiwork. Awfully pleased at my ingenuity and all around handiness, I congratulate myself on a job well done and go to the bathroom to wash my hands. I lean over the sink and .... WHAM!

I find myself lying on the floor staring at the ceiling with soap on my hands. Huh? My mom shakes her head with a look on her face that says, "You decided to fall down now?!?" Then it occurs to me what just happened. My body hadn't yet recieved the memo from my brain that I was no longer secured to anything. Apparently, it decided that when I hunched over the sink that leaning forward wasn't nearly as good as leaning backwards so it decided to sit down without checking with the brain first. In one hour, I had managed to develop a conditioned reflex that laid me out flat on my back from a standing position with no more a complex action than leaning forward.

Dr. Pavlov would have been proud. And my butt still hurts.