The Square Peg - A Little Roof Music
© S. Bradley Stoner
I thought I’d be sneaky, not to mention cheap. I had a couple of “disturbed” shingles that needed replacing. I thought to myself, ‘Hey, I can do that!’ I used to be a technical mountain climber. I used to dance on 8” logs building log homes. In my mind I could visualize getting the job done... an hour tops. I was delusional. All those things I used to do, I did when I was in prime condition. I’m not anymore, dammit.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, physically I’m not in bad shape, a little overweight maybe, but still strong as an ox. As long as I’m on the ground I have no problems. And, I can still walk to the edge of a deep canyon and look down sheer drops without any ill effects. I just cant walk up 45 degree slopes anymore. I don’t know if it’s my vision or that I am simply butt heavy. It’s one or the other, but I have a tendency to topple... or at least the perception that I’m about to. I thought that with a little mental strength I could overcome that. I was wrong, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Anyway, I visited the Home Depot and bought myself a pair of really nice professional knee pads. The cheap rubber foam ones I bought a couple of years ago had dried out and were crumbling into tiny rubber balls. Here’s a clue... if you’re going to be doing a lot of things on your knees, don’t skimp on the knee pads. Get a good pair.
While I was at the Depot, I picked up a few other supplies. Stuff there is kind of like those potato chips... you can’t buy just one. Anyway, I was feeling pretty good, striding out of the place with two bags full of goodies and heading for Lizzy in the “Pro Parking” area. Hey... don’t get mad at me, they told me to park there. Yep, I go to the Depot so often to buy tools and building materials they think I’m a contractor. I’m not going to argue... it gets you a lot closer to the door when the lot is full, and that’s a good thing.
I get home with the goodies and get suited up for the morning’s task. This means actually putting on socks and shoes, which is a rarity for me. I like to go barefoot when I’m home. I like the grass tickling my toes. Besides, when it’s hot out my feet sweat in shoes. I’d wear my boots, but the riding heels on my Tony Lamas keep sinking into the lawn when I walk, and that’s just silly looking, not to mention hazardous to my health. I digress.
Anyhow, I pull on the new work socks that my lovely bought me for Christmas (she’s under the false impression that I actually wear socks when she’s at work), grab my most substantial cross-trainers... the ones with the good tread on them, find an old holey tee shirt (one doesn’t want to ruin a good tee shirt, now does he?), and put on the new knee pads.
Alright... I heard the smart aleck out there who said, “What about pants?” Heh! I already had them on. The old, paint and varnished stained shorts that I prefer when I’m doing this kind of work. I have a ratty old pair of jeans that I wear when it gets below 60 degrees here, which isn’t often, but it happens.
Thus attired, I armed myself with my favorite carpenter’s belt... the one with the heavy leather nail pouches and hammer loops hanging from a military-like web belt. I’ve had it for years... 36 years to be exact. Do they even build them like that anymore? I don’t think so. Besides, this one is paid for. I think it cost me around ten bucks back then. Now they cost anywhere from thirty to seventy bucks or more. I know, I’ve checked. Some of them even have magnets in them. I suppose to keep iron nails from falling out... I don’t know. Mine works just fine, thank you very much. I grabbed a bundle of shingles... well half a bundle, and trundled them out to the back porch. Then I grabbed the extension ladder, set it up, and prepared to do battle.
Well, I get the shingles up the ladder and onto the roof, where they immediately begin sliding back down. I should have quit right then, but I’m determined. My lovely says “stubborn,” but I prefer the former descriptive. Finally, I get them wedged against the ladder I’m standing on and prepare to take one small step for... That’s when Bob nearly scares me out of my wits.
“HEY! Whatcha doin’ on the roof!”
I hadn’t heard the side gate... then I remembered I hadn’t shut it when I carried the ladder to the back of the house. For what has to be the hundredth time, I yelled, “Dammit, Bob!”
“Sorry... still, whatcha doin’ up there?”
I was pissed. “Looking for my fiddle,” I shot back.
I thought it was clever. Bob didn’t get it. “Huh?”
About that time, I noticed my knees were starting to shake a little. It made the ladder rattle a little. That had me a little concerned. I decided to come down for a bit. I’m glad I did because the phone started ringing. And, while I know there’s an equal chance it might be a robo-call with the Donald telling me, “I’m with you,” a Hillary supporter telling me how much she cares about children, or somebody from India telling me how I can save money on solar or they’re from Micromush, I’m glad I answered it this time. Two reasons... one, it caused Bob to leave and two it was my youngest on the line.
After he told me what he was up to, which took about twenty minutes, he asked me what I was doing. I told him. There was a pause... a rather long one.
“You know,” he said, “Mom is going to kill you... if you survive the fall. You don’t bounce like you used to.”
That did it. I abandoned the roof, put things away, and headed for the shop. At least I can still build stuff as long as I don’t saw my fingers off.