I could barely drag myself outside to work to work this morning. Partly that’s because today’s goal was 40 feet of continuous gutter, including two downspout drops and two outside corners and two glued connectors. I was apprehensive about doing that. It’s the longest span and it’s not a one-person task. Partly it’s just that I’m ready for The Big Break, which I can’t take until Friday when the rains come.
At 10:00 a.m. I finally ran out of excuses. Out to the sunny south side I went. At first the main problem was me. I had the dropsies and the clumsies and the can’t-get-out-of-my-own-waysies. I spent more time descending the ladder to fetch fumbled tools and materials than I did climbing it to accomplish anything useful.
After a while I got a rhythm going. It was okay.
I was not-stupid, too. Around noon I took a long hydration and relaxation break before getting back to work.
By 2:00 p.m. I’d installed 30 feet and was down to fine tuning that stretch. By 2:00 it was also 80-ish degrees and any traces of blessed morning shade were long gone. I knew I was about due for another break, but I was in that “just one more measurement” or “just one more screw” zone. Yeah, I’ll stop after that one next thing, whatever it is. Except there that other next thing, you know …
At this point Neighbor J stops on the way to town, rolls down her window, and gives me a progress report on surgery Furrydoc just did on one of her dogs.
The first Thing That Gives Me A Clue is that I’m terribly annoyed with J. Why should I be annoyed with J? I like her. I like her dog. I’ve been crossing fingers for his successful surgery. I like talking with J. But in that moment, all I can think is, “Doesn’t she know she’s bothering me?”
The second Clueful Moment is when I realize that, while J’s making sense when she’s talking to me, I’m making none when I reply. I don’t think she noticed I was having trouble putting words together, but I sure did.
I dismiss her, probably rudely, and go inside. By the time I get to the kitchen, I don’t have whatever monumental strength and cleverness it takes to pour a glass of iced tea. I remember the steps, but they’re too much for me. I have to sit down and put my head between my knees after every step. Glass. Sit. Tea from the fridge. Sit. Get up and dash cold water on my face. Sit. Sweetener. Lean my elbows on the counter and breathe. How long does it take to finally get to the ice? Can I crack that plastic tray so it’ll yield those precious cubes? Do I have what it takes?
I finally manage to work my way though all those terrrrrribly difficult steps, drop into a recliner, and nurse my overcooked body.
It doesn’t take me long to realize I just had a ridiculously close call. Had J. not stopped, I might have done something even more dangerously stupid. When she returns from the vet, I email her a thank you.
I can excuse myself by saying we don’t get that many 80-degree days and I spend even fewer of them laboring away on the most exposed side of the house. Still … I knew better.
I took it moderately easy for a while, then went back and installed the last 10 feet of gutter — which was on the now-shaded east side of the house. Other than my hands cramping, which they tend to do these days from too much tool-using, everything was just fine.