isnít about walls. Itís actually about roofs. Sort of. More about
working alone. AndÖ wellÖ
are certain projects that I wonít take on when no one else is
home. Two good examples would involve anything that uses chainsaws
or ladders. Because if Iím going to get attacked by a chainsaw
or fall off a ladder, Iíd prefer to have someone around that could
call for help. And those preferences essentially explain how being
on the roof led to this essay.
talking to a friend of ours the other day. Seems that about two
weeks ago, he was out clearing a roof of some snow.
those that donít know, a snow rake is an actual thing. Seriously.
LookÖ go Google it. Weíll wait for a second.)
back? Cool. Letís head over to our friend at the house clearing
was up on a ladder using a snow rake. And, he was experienced
enough that this should have been an easy enough job for him.
Pretty basic stuff. But there was a bit of ice that the rake was
catching on, and he pulled a bit harder than he should have to
get it to give, andÖ
the rake came free after a particularly good tug, which in turn
shifted his balance incredibly quickly in such a way the additional
momentum and direction of movement began the process of the ladder
moving away from the house.
was roughly an 8-foot fall onto the concrete walkway. The only
injury Iíll mention was his concussion.
there were a couple more. Heís doing ok now, but still feeling
it. Friend is a dedicated guy though. Got up, finished the roof
and shoveled a deck. Only after completing his job did he go home
and shut things down for a while.)
of the story is not to get you wondering whether or not you should
be raking your roof. To be quite honest, if youíve never need
to address the presence of snow on your roof before thatís probably
a really good bit of information you should apply to whether or
not you need to be raking snow off it in the future. (Yes. It
can help. But many experts seem to believe that for sloped roofs
people will normally never reach a point where itís necessary,
and an inexperienced hand can do significant damage with the attempt
to clear it. Theory of more harm than good. Investigate wisely
me, the story just reinforced a few beliefs I have about power
tools and assorted home projects. Iíve already mentioned two of
themÖ chainsaws and ladders.
have this fear about handling chainsaws. Iíve used them many times.
Have even owned a couple, with one in my possession right now.
I simply donít like how easy it is to get lazy with it or tired.
Those arenít the perfect words, since I donít truly mean getting
lazy. But Iíve shared chainsaw stories with many people. And one
thing we all seem to have in common is that every story reaches
a moment where a person is working on a project and encounters
a distraction or a feeling of casual overconfidence. Next thing
you know, jeans are torn and someone is looking up at the skies
thanking the heavens it wasnít worse. (And, scary reality, that
isnít the only result. Many times it is worse.)
when I wander into the yard with one and the intention of firing
it up, I do so by telling my wife Iím headed outside with the
chainsaw. Itís nice to have someone around for an emergency if
few years ago, we had a problem on our roof. My wife was at work
when I spotted the issue, and I decided to check it out. I figured
it was pretty basic. Sunny day. I was just going up to check on
something and not planning any real work or activity. As I came
off the roof, my footing wasnít perfect, and if I had pushed any
harder when placing it on the ladder I would have knocked it over.
Didnít have my phone. No other clear way of getting down. I have
no clue what I would have said to my wife when she eventually
got home and found me on the roof seven hours or more later. But
I learned my lessonÖ no more ladders and roof exploration on my
few people are chuckling right now at this, and I get it. In my
lifetime, Iíve known some guys that can be multiple stories in
the air, on an unfinished roof, bouncing around on ceiling joists
and crossbeams like a mountain goat. And if I was using chainsaws
and ladders professionally, for hours each and every day, my thoughts
would likely be much different. But I donít, and they arenít.
like my experience with the falling ladder that would have stranded
me, hearing about the snow raking adventure reinforced my opinions
and practices. Often times, when facing a task with warning labels
all over it, youíre probably better off not trying this at home
(unless someone is there to call an ambulance).