Sunday, February 23, 2014

Routine Maintenance at The F.A.R.M. the adrenalin rush is over.   

Steven climbed up onto the porch roof to knock some ice off the valley between this ‘summer kitchen’ addition and the roofs of the main house and the shed.  I was working here at the desk when I heard him put the ladder up, so I opened the window and asked what he was doing.  He told me and I scowled. (That's my 'worry face' in disguise.) I asked if he needed some help. He told me 'no'. My idea? I was going to volunteer to take the screens off the windows and push the snow off from the relative safety of the bedroom…

I admonished Steven that it would be slippery underneath the snow after all the rain we’d recently received.  He acknowledged I was right…and then climbed the ladder anyway – ax in one hand, shovel in the other.  I sighed and went back to work. My husband seems to spend an inordinate amount of time on roofs. Cleaning chimneys, repairing chimneys, re-flashing, painting and yes...shoveling.  Therefore, I spend an equal (and ridiculous) amount of time worrying.

He started pounding the ice and Scruffy got nervous.  She asked to ‘come up’.  (Yes, these little dogs are just like kids and ‘ask’ to be held, sometimes.) I cradled her in my right arm while typing with my left hand. My desk is adjacent to these bedroom windows so I registered Steven’s movements out of the corner of my eye as he worked.

All of a sudden I heard the sound of a big ‘slide’.  Looked up and saw Steven’s feet start to go.  The snow and ice slid off the roof.  The ladder went with it.  As he fell backwards, trying to stop his downwards/forwards momentum, Steven let go of the shovel.  The ax was already sliding off with the snow.

I jumped up just as Steven’s butt hit the roof.  Saw him continue to slide.  I hollered “Hang on!” (as if he needed to be encouraged to do so!) He yelled for Eli, who was inside and downstairs.  I hollered even louder for Eli.

“ELI!!!! GO HELP PAPA!! QUICK!!” and ran out of the bedroom, registering the fact that Steven had stopped his slide—temporarily, at least – with both legs dangling over the edge of the roof and perhaps 4 inches of butt-cheek holding him in place.

I pounded down the stairs and ran through the kitchen, passing Eli as he struggled into his shoes.  His shoes?  He needed SHOES?  Did I have shoes on?  I had no idea! “Get out here and grab the ladder!” I shouted.

As I came off the front steps, what did I hear?

I heard my husband – from his precarious perch on the edge of the other porch roof – holler “Be careful! Don’t slip on the ice, Karen! Let Eli do it!”

Don’t slip on the ice? Let Eli do it?  Eli was still getting dressed, for Pete’s sake! And Steven was barely holding on to the edge of the roof.  Sheesh!

I moved through the soft, wet snow pack to the ladder, stepping onto the partially buried ax as I did so.  I grabbed the ladder.  Eli was right behind me and we stood it upright and leaned it against the roof, to the right of Steven’s legs.  We held it securely. 

Steven was smiling, dammit.  Smiling as he tried to get his right leg onto a rung without shifting his weight enough that his 'slide' would continue. If he did slide the rest of the way off, what lay underneath him – ten feet below – was the railing.  Not snow…but wood.

He managed to get his right foot onto a rung.  Managed to turn himself around and find secure purchase for his left foot. As he started down the ladder he said “Eli, pass me up that shovel.  Might as well get this last bit of ice off.”

Eli leaned down and pulled the shovel out from beneath the snow and ice which had just slid off the roof. He handed it up to his father.  I was still scowling.  Mad?  No.  (Well…maybe a little.  “If they’d listen to ME, this wouldn’t happen!” I was thinking…) Scared?  Not anymore.  (Okay…perhaps a wee bit scared.  After all, my husband had almost [ALMOST!] fallen off the flipping ROOF!) It is possible that ‘scowling’ is my fall-back expression…what I do when I don’t know what other expression is suitable?  I didn’t know and didn’t care.

I realized I had my Crocs on.  Rubber shoes will multiple pre-manufactured holes in them.  Crocs…without socks.  For all practical purposes I was barefoot in the snow.  Barefoot while my husband calmly continued with ‘routine winter maintenance at The F.A.R.M.’

Thank God, he’s safe.  But yeah…I’m pretty much done with winter. I’m through with snow, cold, ice and freezing rain.  It’s way too stressful.

But hey… we’ve gained almost two hours of daylight since December 21st.  Spring will be here before we know it!  Shoveling roofs will take a back seat to removing the banking from the house, tilling the garden, mowing the lawns, painting, clearing brush…working up next year’s firewood…banking the house…and shortly thereafter…shoveling the steps, the walkways and the roofs.

Ah, the joy of ‘routine maintenance at The F.A.R.M.’

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