Taking A Fall

Come June the weather brightens in Nowhere, Colorado. The snow pack recedes and the Christmas trees discarded by the roadside the year before show once more.

This means the time has come to take down the Christmas lights. Of course taking the lights down means Cooper, the handyman, can paint the house.

Not that he will. But he can.

Every year it is the same: I drag out the ladder, prop it against the garage, climb it, get almost to the top, and remember, as I plummet toward the ground, I meant to fix the extension latch.

But didn't.

I get up, dust myself off, reset the ladder, make sure the latch is set, and climb the ladder again.

Only to be dumped in the bushes.

Because the ladder wasn't level.

So I get up, dust myself off, reset the ladder, and climb it once more.

I get up onto the roof with no problem. Of course the part of the roof I get on is almost flat, so no problems.

The problems come when I start scaling the roof over the main part of the house.

The steep part of the roof.

Long story short: I have fallen off the steep part of the roof enough times to know how not to fall off the steep part of the roof:

A climbing harness, anchored to the chimney, lashed to my waist.

Therein is a problem: I hook the harness to my waist, I climb the steep part of the roof to undo the Christmas lights at the peak of the roof and--

Remember I need to fix the chimney base.

Which got broken the year before when I was scaling the steep part of the roof in an attempt to take down the Christmas lights, while wearing a climbing harness.

Thank god for the rose bushes, a thorny cushion.

After I untangle myself from the rose bushes where I fell, I hurry back up the ladder, trailing thorns and the tattered remains of the climbing harness, claw my way back up the steep part of the roof (removing most of my fingernails in the process) and--

Almost fall off the roof. Again.

Thank goodness for the elastic in my underwear and the rusty nail in the rain gutter I meant to pound in.

But didn't.

I twist around, rip my shorts off by way of my head, crash into the cactus bed, scramble back up the ladder onto the roof, lash my arm around the chimney stump, pull myself up to the ridge of the roof, work my way to the end of the roof, and--

Remember, as I fall again, my intention the year before last to reshingle the end of the roof.

Where the rotted shingles are.

[The entire story is available for purchase. Please specific Catalog No. 'F001-002'.]

Copyright © James C. Hess 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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