Sunday, January 8, 2012
Chore day/Die hard
So I asked what everyone was up to kinda non-chalant "So, whaddya you guys have planned for today?". And it turns out it's chore day. "Oh, we're gonna clean up a bit. Wash the cars, vacuum, change beds in the kids room (That's put different beds in, not changing the sheets), clean the fridge, wipe down the..." I think you get the idea. So I asked, "Uhhhh, anything I can do to help?" With a grin, Rich says, "Well, I need to get the gutters cleaned and that fence in the back yard needs to be taken down. Would you be ok with that?" I said, "Ya bud, whatever you need."
So I grab a ladder and a couple tools thinking piece of cake right? The house is three stories. And the deck on the back porch only approaches like 15% of the gutters. It later turned out that they only wanted me to get what I could from the ladder and not go on the roof. I didn't know. I had to get up there to do it right, so up I went.
As is usually the case, the roof is steeper than it looks. No bullshit, I got up there and set my little shovel down and it slid down the roof. It didn't roll down and I didn't carelessly drop it or anything. I set it down, removed my hand, and it slid. That's how steep the roof was. Shortly after this fun little demonstration of gravity and geometry, Rich comes out and says, "What are you doing up there?" I said, "Well, you can't get at the gutters with the ladder so I had to come up here to do it." He gave me my out, "Well, I don't want you to do anything that's gonna get you hurt, like fall off the roof. But, if you're cool with it, go ahead."
I wasn't really cool with it. But, I was less cool with wussing out. The roof has to be 25 to 30 feet high. And let me tell ya, peering over the edge with no nothing on me and feeling my self sliding forward as I low crawled like I was searching the jungle floor for k rations in Vietnam was exciting. I'm terrified of heights. Even though I've been in airplane accidents and my dad was a pilot, the fact remains. Me+heights=tight ass. Real tight.
Anyway, I got into a bit of a rhythm and was making some headway on this project. I adapted my technique from the low crawl which basically was maybe the safest, but least safe feeling way to go. Laying on my front with my head about 3 feet below my feet and feeling myself sliding toward the edge was unnerving. With this technique, I was hoping for the trend of sheer to be mitigated by the surface area of my body. That is to say, the friction from my front would hopefully keep me from doing a vertical Pete Rose into the dirt. The technique I adapted was a crouching tiger. This is where I sat on my seat with one foot forward to anchor myself against the sheer, but with my body weight on the proper side to avoid toppling. The difference between the two is toppling or sliding. I'd hoped for neither.
So I'm doing the crouching tiger, just cleaning the hell out of some gutters when my front foot slips. Well, the whole principal behind this is that I keep my body weight between my two feet so as to stay balanced. When my foot slipped, my body weight shifted and I felt the weight come off of my back foot. Like when I was a little kid, I knew the accident was coming, it was just a matter of time. I was on the edge of the roof. I was almost totally out of roof to jam my foot down and stop the slide, plunging past the point of no return and into the Ferndale turf.
In a last ditch effort, I dug my heel onto the shingle. There was nothing left for my toe because it was hanging off of the roof. With my heel, I managed to get my weight somewhat over my body and I immediately rolled to my front and spread eagled. Then I laughed maniacally for a good minute. If you've heard this, then you know what it is. This was the full on crazy laugh, and I really thought it was funny. You know since I was still in one piece and not flat.
The first thought that went through my head was 'that would have made a lot of noise', you know, if I fell to the ground. Then I had a vision of Bruce Willis in Die Hard, when he jumped off the roof with the fire hose around him and shot out the window and then swung through, but then the reel for the fire hose fell and he was being pulled toward the window and only narrowly escaped death. Ya, that went through my mind. And you know what? His acting was phenomenal. The look on his face was exactly what I felt. Until I started laughing.