Thursday, October 30, 2008

With These Hands Pt. 1

I talked to my dad the other night on the phone, and he said that he was making good headway on the shed that we had put up next to my parent's house. I went home a few weeks back to help put up the trusses, and then back again a few weeks later to help sheet and shingle the roof. My dad and uncle Gary own a lumberyard in my hometown Edgar, and before that it was owned by my grandpa Vic and his brother George. It got started by my great-grandfather Louis, back when him and his sons used to building Churches and public utility buildings back in the 50s and 60s. Eventually they had a large stockpile of extra materials like boards and nails, so they began selling it to other contractors in the area. Eventually they realized the need for a construction supplier in the area was rather important, so they got out of the business of constructing buildings and began supplying materials. Last year my Dad and Uncle celebrated 50 years of the company being open.

The point of all this? Home construction is in my blood. I had a little hammer and saw when I was a tike and would nail scrap 2x4's together for no reason, just to pound nails and occupy me when I was in the garage. The summer between junior and senior year my dad asked me if I wanted to help out a contractor friend of his in the afternoons after football practice. I said sure, because I could really use the money. So I started helping Kip with re-shingling an old house in Edgar. I was given a crash course on how to handle myself on the steep-ass roof, but my fear of heights kept me from being too adventurous. First we had to tear off two layers of old asphalt shingles, and then a layer of ancient ceder shingles. At first I enjoyed the smell of the ceder rising from the shingles, but when we started tearing them off I changed my mind in a hurry. Black soot and wood dust erupted everywhere with every shingle removed. At the end of the afternoon I looked like a chimney sweep. And every time I blew my nose for the next three days my boogers were black. Yum yum.

However, when we began putting the new sheeting and shingles on things got a little bit scary. After the sheeting is on the roof, you usually put down a layer of felt paper on the roof to keep moisture out. For added protection at the ends of the roof (where snow has a tendency to pile up in the winter) a black, self-adhering layer called Winter Guard is put on. It looks like this
Now, you have to pull the plastic off the adhesive side. What I didn't realize is that the plastic is like a Slip 'N Slide covered in KY Jelly: the shit is slippery. I accidentally slipped on the plastic, fell on my side, and began sliding down the roof. By the way, this was a three story house, and below us was a concrete sidewalk. The chances of me surviving this fall were good. The chances of me ever walking again after this fall were not. Kip saw me sliding to me doom and bounded down the roof after me, managing to grab my arm before I went over the point of no return. My legs were hanging over the roof to my knees. He hauled me back up, asked if I was ok, then sent me down the ladder and told me to just hang out down there. I sheepishly agreed, but even sitting on the ground down there my legs didn't stop shaking for 20 minutes. Eventually I got the courage to get back on the roof, but you bet your ass that I paid more attention to where I was walking from then on.
To be continued tomorrow.


MrB said...

What if you died? would everyone be better off like the butterfly effect? What if you didn't walk again? Would your kickball team would've been better off without you?

no one will ever know.

Gregor said...

Ooh, that sounds like an interesting post. I think I'll write about that on Monday.

Ric said...

That chimney sweep reminds me of Edward Scissorhands.

menace said...

Thats funny, it reminds me of marry poppins. And I like where Ivan is going with this.