I’ve been hustling the last week to catch up on summer projects before the first autumnal rains hit tomorrow. The rains will be much appreciated by the poor, fire-scorched people east of the mountains; what a terrible summer they’ve had!
Even here, near the coast, a real rain will be a blessing for downing dust and cleaning sometimes-smoky air.
Normally, sea breezes keep our air clean, but it’s been eye-stinging a couple of times this week. I can only imagine what the poor east-of-the-mountains folk have been enduring.
I apologize to the Commentariat members who left interesting or helpful remarks I should have replied to. But I’ve been outside hammering, sawing, caulking, and painting. Cussing, too, of course. But only minimally because this week’s two projects went pretty well and I’m amazed that after nearly two idle months with a broken ankle I’m as caught up on house projects as I am.
The last three days I was up on a roof, though. Ugh. That part I could have done without.
It was no big deal, really. That section of roof is nearly flat and only about nine feet off the ground, so the job itself — scraping and painting a peak of the house and putting a cedar trim strip over the edge of the torch-down roofing — wasn’t all that perilous. I had plenty of room to stand, walk around, and stage equipment and materials. But knowing I had to take the first step back onto the ladder to descend freaked me out. Just thinking about it. Hate that part.
The first and third days I worked up there were cloudy and pleasant and no problem. The second day the sun baked the tarry black roofing — and me. Heat and fumes had me light-headed. I also had to do the “scariest” work that day, including cutting off some protruding bolt-ends and a piece of conduit for a satellite dish that’s no longer there. This was only my second time ever using an angle grinder. Though I marvel at what short work it makes of metal, the device totally intimidates me.
Metal shrieks! Sparks fly! Piercing bits of fire fall into my hair and onto my arms. I’m wearing goggles, of course, to protect eyes from stray metal bits, but you’d have to bundle up in a spacesuit to avoid all the sparks. They do no harm, but they definitely sting. And such high drama! That tortured metalic screaming. That flying fire. Those oweys. The risk of burning the whole place down (never mind that the risk is miniscule and I had a bucket of water beside me). Even though I did the cut-off work and other snall, stressful stuff first thing and only had to do the EZ second coat of paint after that. I felt out of balance all morning.
And I’m such a wuss. So that noon, hot and light-headed and freaked out, I go to climb down the ladder. And I can’t. I just can’t bring myself to do it. I try to step onto the nice, sturdy extension ladder borrowed from a neighbor, and my feet refuse.
I take a breath, walk back over to the wall I’ve been working at and inspect progress (merely for something to do). I take a drink of water. I walk back over to the ladder … and still no go. I picture myself, broken, on the driveway below.
I spot a young neighbor outside by his car and consider calling him over to help me down. And with that, I realize I’m just being silly. I climb onto the ladder and go down, no problem. But back in the house, it takes me 15 minutes and a large glass of sugary ice tea before I quit shaking.
The next day I have to go up and down several times and I’m perfectly fine.
Still glad that job’s over with, though!