Ted’s essays

rooftop ballerina

I have a love-hate relationship with ladders and heights. The hate part seems to grow with age. There may even be some logic in that as my bones are more brittle, easier to break, harder to heal and I have enough aches to go around already.

Nevertheless, I remember not minding terribly being at the top of my 12-foot pruning ladder running a chainsaw at arms length … and having massive branches remove the ladder out from under me not once but twice .. and continuing to go up there until the entire 2.5-acre orchard was renovated.
But, as I said, I like them a lot less at 64 than I did at 34. And THIS ONE, as you can clearly see, goes up near to infinity and has no width to provide lateral stability. Anyone climbing this sucker is casting their fate to the whims of the gods.

The attic vent in our house went bonkers one evening, cycling on-off-on-off continually until I turned off the circuit breaker, cutting off also the power to our bedroom outlets.

Obviously a fairly pressing repair job. So the next day found me climbing Jack’s Beanstalk into the clouds to creep gingerly across the STEEP rooftop (roofers will laugh as they consider that one almost flat).

My first time up merely got the vent partially disassembled before I had to crawl back to the edge of the abyss and go back down for more tools. The second trip was no less unpleasant.

I took the entire fan, housing and circuit board into the big city (Hamilton, MT) and, after several stops, found someone who would sell me a replacement circuit board for a whole lot more money than I thought it would be.

By the time I had to return to the roof, the new rafters for our breezeway were up and I placed the ladder in between them. THAT added a major sense of security. Neither it nor I could fall far without bouncing off the rafters.

By my final trip (oh yes, I had to replace the rooftop circuit board before I eliminated the annoying still-runs-too-much problem) the new roof had sheathing on it. I could mount the breezeway roof from the adjacent ridge a mere 7 feet below – and use a ladder with a nice, wide footing.

Now we’re talking.