I wrote this in 2003 when I was thinking about writing a book about my early childhood. The project was abandoned after I realized that I had very few lighthearted stories to share. This is the third – and final – part of the book I started. In this one, I share examples of things that ended up stuck to the ceiling when I was a little kid.
I read “What’s Stuck to the Ceiling Now?” in episode 27 of my Words of Jen podcast.
The first time I can recall something sticking to the ceiling was when I was about 3-years-old. My mom was cleaning the kitchen, leaving me to play in the living room. My infant sister was placed in a crib between the two rooms. At some point, she started to cry.
My mom handed me a baby bottle and told me, “Give this to the baby”. The bottle contained some water and some Pepsi. My entire family is addicted to caffeine, and this was not the first time my sister had been given Pepsi. After one sip, my baby sister knew exactly what was in the bottle… and what she could do with it.
She shook the bottle and started laughing maniacally. The Pepsi/water mixture sprayed out of the top of the bottle, hitting the ceiling. My sister somehow knew to move the bottle around while it sprayed so she could draw a nice, linear, design on the white ceiling. I remember telling my mom what had happened.
“You’re kidding!” she responded as she rushed out of the kitchen. My mom stopped, looked up at the ceiling, shook her head and said “Oh… no.” This was quickly followed by, “Don’t tell your dad!”
My mom wanted to clean the Pepsi splatter off the ceiling before my dad came home from work. The living room had a very high, sloped, ceiling that went from the front of the house up to the second story where the bedrooms were. There were many other houses in the neighborhood that looked the same way. I doubt anyone else’s family had to figure out how to clean Pepsi off a ceiling, though.
First, my mom tried to reach it by standing on a chair and holding up a wet paper towel. The ceiling was too high for her to reach. Next, she got a wet washcloth and placed it on the bristle end of a broom. She stood on the chair and held the broom high above her head. It was just long enough to reach the ceiling. She moved the broom, and the washcloth, back and forth over the stain.
The effort didn’t quite pay off. She couldn’t get the entire stain to come off, but did manage to get it to fade a little bit. I remember my dad coming home from work that day, looking up, and asking, “What the hell happened here?” Eventually, he ended up repainting that part of the ceiling.
The second time something was stuck to the ceiling was when my mom was making pancakes for lunch. She needed to feed me, my sister, and my little brother, and we had very little food at home. She had made us pancakes before with no problems.
Usually, she would pour the pancake mixture into a frying pan, and flip each one over with a spatula as needed. This time, for whatever reason, she decided to actually flip the pancakes by picking up the frying pan and flinging the pancakes into the air. Two pancakes got stuck to the ceiling over the stove.
My mom served the rest of the pancakes to us, and we all began to eat. She sat down at the table with us, and we all wondered when the pancakes would come back down. “Those will fall off when they cool,” my mom said.
We waited. We watched. The pancakes didn’t move.
So, my mom pushed a chair over by the stove. She stood on the chair and used a spatula to scrape the pancakes off the ceiling. They came off in little pieces, and it looked like she had to put a lot of effort into removing each piece. All that was left were two circles that were slightly lighter than the rest of the ceiling.
“Don’t tell your dad,” my mom said. Looking back, I think we thought this was some kind of game. None of us told our dad what happened, but we did wait to see if he could figure it out on his own. He came home from work to three little kids, smiling, giggling, and staring at him. I don’t think he ever discovered what had happened.
The next thing that got stuck to the ceiling was also round. I came into the kitchen to find my mom, and both of my little brothers, looking at the ceiling with perplexed expressions on their faces. She was feeding them lunch.
One of my little brothers has food allergies, like I do. He couldn’t eat regular bologna because of the red dye in it. My mom started buying him turkey bologna, which looked the same as the regular kind. The big difference was that the turkey bologna smelled strongly of garlic. My littlest brother could not stand the smell of the turkey bologna, but he would happily eat regular bologna.
My mom made two sandwiches, one for each brother, but somehow got them mixed up. My littlest brother ended up with the turkey bologna. He took one bite, made a disgusted face, picked out the turkey bologna and flung it over his shoulder. WHAAP! There it sticks!
This time, my mom knew exactly what to do. She stood on a chair and started picking pieces of the turkey bologna off the ceiling. She was successful at removing all the pieces. However, the ceiling now had a noticeably lighter circle on it. This ceiling circle was right over the kitchen table. “Maybe you dad won’t notice,” my mom told us.
Long story short, he noticed the circle shortly after dinner was served that night. He asked what happened, and we all started laughing (even my mom). My dad did not find the situation to be the least bit funny.