This summer my ban on ladders was lifted during the last renovation I ever hope to be part of in this lifetime: updating the outbuilding where our studios are. Seriously—but more on that next time; we’re close to finishing.
My ladder ban was initially lifted to admire the new roof on the outbuilding, then help paint its upper siding, and finally, to view the partial eclipse in late August. I also took the job of insulating the newly renovated studio building, including the 11-foot ceiling in the laundry room. This part actually scared the crap out of me, but there were plenty of places to hold on, and I thought deeply about each step I took.
So I pushed further, hoping to avoid that $180 chimney-sweeping charge. I waited for the most opportune moment to state my case.
“Y’know, I could easily climb up there on our new ladder and save us the money. Besides, I need to know what it’s really like up there.”
Admission was granted.
So yesterday I mounted the new ladder in the exact same place I fell from three years ago, in my good gym sneakers – the ones with really deep tread. Wayne held it steady as I took each step carefully. I nearly froze at the spot where I had to step from the ladder to the roof. Keep me safe, keep me safe, I whispered, my quiet mantra of the past few years when I attempt feats of daring and risk. I took a deep breath and stepped onto the roof. Ya-ha!
I carefully picked my way over to the chimney and removed the spark arrester, which was packed with soot. Then I scrubbed the chimney itself with my chimney brush.
The cherry on top was when our contractor saw me up there and handed me his gas-powered leaf blower, which I used to blow the leaves out of the gutter.
Yes, it was scary, and Wayne stood on the ground under wherever I was, spotting me in case. But I did it.
Sometimes I feel the need to confront scary things head-on. It’s just easier that way