Don’t Tie Me Down

What do you know about helium balloons?

Me, not much. They float. I enjoy them. Mylar lasts longer than latex. Frank used to (maybe still does?) have a helium tank and we borrowed it for every one of our graduation parties (including my college graduation party) and Emily’s wedding reception.

Kelly left me a bunch of balloons at my house for my birthday:

See them all?

Check out the one tied to my light. “It’s Your Day!

Here’s why:

That’s the same balloon. Right? Right.

Okay, well, earlier this week (Sunday? Monday?) it was extremely windy outside. EXTREMELY. And that balloon was blowing all over my house, trailing its string. This is not the first time it has happened, that balloon and I have been roommates for a very long time. But, on whichever day it was, I came home to find the string tangled on the stem of my bamboo plant, which is in a glass vase, filled with water, on the shelf that sits above my kitchen. The cut-out opening, I guess. I was worried (and slightly relieved it hadn’t happened already) that another gust of wind would blow the balloon and it would take the plant with it, resulting in a huge mess.

So, I climbed up there and took it down. I put it back on the porch, where it had been housed.

Moments, sincerely seconds later, it danced its way back through the doorway into my house and floated around. I didn’t want to shut the patio door, because that is where all the breeze comes from and it gets hot inside if I do.

I removed the balloon, again, this time placing it in the furthest corner from the door. It followed me back into the house. There is clearly a wind corridor in that room and the balloon would not stay. Finally, my solution was to tie the balloon to the cord that operates the shades. Brilliant! It stayed put.

Anyone wondering why I didn’t just throw it out?

Because,  on Monday (or whatever), that I tied it down, that balloon was still floating upright. Filled with helium. Seriously. All the other balloons I got for my birthday have died…and besides the others Kelly left (in the above photo) I got one at work and my mom gave me one, it was like six in total…but this balloon has survived.

For three months.

Check that. My birthday is March 15. Today is June 14.

Three months.

I googled helium balloons to figure out how long they are supposed to last. 4-6 weeks. That one balloon has lasted 12 weeks. I can’t believe it. As I kept tossing the others, he was still happily floating. I almost, almost cut him open and tossed him when the last of the others went down, but he was still full and thriving and I decided he wasn’t hurting anything and it would be fun to see how long he lasted. That was two months ago.

Even on Monday he was surviving.

Then, I tied him down so he could no longer roam free. This morning, I happened to notice that picture above. He finally passed on. Went to that great balloon heaven in the sky. Is in a better place. I was, truly, a bit sad. It’s just a damn balloon, but he lasted me for three months! Every time I looked at him, I thought of my birthday, and I think we all know how happy that makes me.

I think it was not being able to fly that finally did him in. Without free reign of the house, he was confined and probably slipped into a deep depression and just gave up. He had no more reason to live.

But, when I get home tonight and untie him and toss him in the trash, I’ll be a little nostalgic for the days when he’d bop around my house and I’d think, “how on earth can that balloon still be floating?”


Writing this silliness (true story, but silly nonetheless) reminded me of two other balloon related stories I’d like to share.

One is about my sister. When she was in the second grade (third? I think it was 2nd…) there was this girl in her class named Jessica. Jessica was a little heavyset. She made my sister mad and Emily retaliated by writing down, during their writing lesson, “Jessica is a fat balone” which is how she spelled balloon whilst in the second grade. Emily was sent to the principal’s office for being mean. And I love that story about her.

The other is about my brother Zack. When he was a boy, maybe 13? 14? we went out to dinner one night and were given balloons. I don’t remember why. But during the drive home, Zack and I started talking about those stories you’ve heard of people who find deflated balloons with messages attached. Zack thought it would be cool to try. I said that people probably wouldn’t ever write back. So, we got home, Zack took this balloon, I think it was red, and tied to it a note. It said something like “My name is Zack and I live at {insert our home address} if you find this balloon and write back to me, I will send you $5”.

And we took it into the front yard and he let it go. We stood there watching to make sure it would clear all the trees in my parents yard and pretty soon it was out of sight. Weeks later…weeks, a letter came for Zack in the mail. It was from this nice old lady who found the balloon and the note. She sent back a letter and “I love Jesus” pamphlets just for Zack. My mom made him send the $5, even though the lady said he didn’t have to. I can’t remember where she lived…my mom might know…or Zack will probably remember, his memory is ridiculous.

There you go, those are now my three favorite balone related stories.

Happy Thursday!


8 thoughts on “Don’t Tie Me Down

  1. My favorite balloon story is when I was in the hospital at the ripe old age of 16 in August and you and Zach showed up with a It’s a Boy balloon and Zach was wearing a Santa hat. WTH? Strange but true story!

    • I officially have no reply as we were talking whilst I read this.

      But, I reiterate, that is a great Zack story, very true to him, and it is the Santa hat I remember, not the balloon.

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