Monday, April 4, 2016

Spring Forward, Fall Flat


First and foremost, it should be pointed out that I came very, very close to not falling off the ladder this year, which is pretty good for a man my age. And weight. And lack of physical coordination.

I'd probably finished 90% of the gutter cleaning, which is absolutely one of my least favorite spring chores. Seriously, there are much better things to be doing on a beautiful Texas day than balancing on a ladder while scooping gutter smuck: a thick, stinking mix of mud, decaying leaves, acorns, fire ants, bird poop, skittering roly polies, mosquitoes, and aggressive slime molds.

I was on my way down the step ladder (about 3 feet up) when it took a sudden shift to the left (much like Hillary Clinton in the current election cycle) and I realized I was about to have An Adventure. I sort of jumped, sort of stepped down, sort of fell, and sort of landed on my feet. And a potted plant.

"Well played!" said Mr. Excruciating Pain, who had decided to join me on short notice.

It's likely that no lasting harm was done, but I definitely screwed up one hip, both knees, and my left calf. I can still get around, but it's not pretty; I look like a cross between a tightrope walker and Captain Ahab with tourette's syndrome.

This being the case, I'm foregoing political commentary today so that I can do a vigorous and restorative alcohol rub on my tongue (and other areas if the alcohol holds out). After which I'm officially adding "cleaning my gutters" to the list of jobs Americans won't do.

In hindsight, we shouldn't have bought an ACME Instant-Fold Step Ladder.
UPDATE: THE LEFT ON RIGHTS
 

Bum leg or not, I couldn't let Hillary's blood-chilling statement go by without comment. Incidentally, Bernie Sanders echoed the same sentiment: the unborn have no constitutional rights or protections at any point in their gestation.

A long time ago, Barack Obama lied when he said that the question of when life begins was "above his pay grade." Apparently Hillary has no doubt: life begins when the government says so. Which will in time undoubtedly lead to life ending when the government says so. After all, why should the elderly have any rights after they're reclassified as "pre-deceased?"

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Stilton, I hope you're OK. My bf was cleaning the pine needles off his roof a year and a half ago. We live in SoCal and the pine tree had died and the needles are a fire hazard. Anyway, the ladder tipped and fell over as he was climbing down, so he grabbed on to the gutter for about 10 seconds before he fell onto the ladder. He had a nice ambulance ride to the emergency room, and nothing was broken but they did a cat scan and found a dark spot on his kidney. So everyone was saying how the fall could have saved his life. A month later, after his bruises healed, he had surgery to remove what was on his kidney. It was just a cyst. Everyone has cysts on their kidneys. We're grateful that there was nothing wrong with him, but if he hadn't fallen, he wouldn't have had surgery, which he didn't need!

Joseph ET said...

I had a time many years ago that I was in my garage on a ladder trying to get some wheels with tires included down from the rafters. When the last wheel came free, I became off balance, the ladder fell to the left, I dropped the wheel then tried to go to the right so I could land on top of a cheap folding table with boxes on top. It worked out okay. Got a new table out of it and I was unstirred just shaken. I had thousands of occasions to be on ladders or scaffolding over the years. Now at my age I probably won’t bounce as well as in my youth, so I avoid ladders or scaffolding at all cost. Luckily we have a neighbor that likes to do small odd jobs at very reasonable rates. Probably less than a doctor’s office visit. I also purchased covers for our rain gutters. The covers are aluminum and stainless steel screens. They fully enclose the gutter, no cleaning required.

The system is called gutterglove

Mike L said...

Since I fell a few years ago and I'm pushing 70 my better half says I'm not allowed on ladders. Also when I reroofed the county forced me to put on heavy screen gutter guard on our new gutters. So no ladders or gutter cleaning for me.

drjim said...

Bummer, Stilt.

Get well soon!

Mike aka Proof said...

Stilton, we welcome anything that gets your mind out of the gutter. Having said that, I sympathize and hope your assorted aches and injuries heal quickly, so that we can abuse you more freely here.

I pictured you coming back from the vet with one of those cones around your neck so you don't lick yourself. Or perhaps it serves as a funnel for the single malt?

TMay said...

Maybe you can invite Fox and MSNBC and CNN to clean out your gutters to get their minds out of the gutter and all of America would thank you.

REM1875 said...

As I loyal ACME fan I got to point out Doc if ya had read the fine print that comes with most ACME products ya would have noticed at the bottom of page 27 it specifically warns not to take ACME "earthquake pills" till you are through using ACME "height aids".
Have ya talked to their support rep, Mr Wiley E. Coyote- Genius?

Fred Ciampi said...

When I turned 70 my wife forbid me to get on a ladder any more than 14 inches in height. (I think she still remembers me blowing myself up when I was only 67, but that's another story). So, I went out and bought a beautiful 15 foot step ladder with a broad base. Then I rounded up a bunch of 20-something grand sons and gave then the ladder challenge. "Whoever gets the most slime and elephant snot out of the gutters, wins!". So now I just sit back on my lawn chair and watch the grand sons scurrying hither and yon trying to get the most of the goodies from the gutters and sipping moonshine.

REM1875 said...

@Mike aka Proof
Thanks Mike for those mental images, I feel off my chair after reading those and think I injured something I might need. Will know more after I stop laughing.

donpaul53 said...

Did that once , whole ladder kicked out. Wife called it ladder surfing.

REM1875 said...

My mind says I am 18 but my elderly dad staring back at me in the mirror reminds me that might not be true.
So I avoid mirrors.
I have had mixed results with that philosophy and practice.

Anonymous said...

"...watch the grand sons scurrying hither and yon trying to get the most of the goodies from the gutters and sipping moonshine"

Should your grandsons be sipping moonshine? ;-)

Fred Ciampi said...

My prose may not have relayed the truest meaning of the adventure. It was I who was sipping moonshine. My grand sons like beer.

Jim Irre said...

Stilt, glad you gave up the "politics-as-usual" shtick on this inglorious Monday This little adventure resulted in more comments than I've seen in a while. Maybe we have a future in comedy?

Anyway, I frequently practice pain control (drinking) just in case I fall off something. Haven't fallen yet, but practicing is fun!

TrickyRicky said...

My prescription is plenty of vitamin A, as in Advil, the elixir of life. Feel better.

Bobo the Hobo said...

Feel better soon, Stilt. The next time you climb a ladder (and I believe I speak for all of us here) make sure you have someone standing nearby ... with an ice pack and a movie camera.

Anonymous said...

Feel Better

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Anonymous- I enjoyed the "oops, never mind" ending to your story. So far, it looks like I may be able to avoid seeing a medical professional altogether and thereby avoid an expensive misdiagnosis.

@Joseph ET- I lost my balance coming down our attic stairs in the garage about a year ago. I went down pretty hard and confirmed the notion that I don't bounce anymore. I think I'll look into gutterglove...

@Mike L- I wasn't aware that gutter guards were actually required anywhere, though it makes sense to keep the morgues from getting crowded in springtime.

@drjim- I'm mending a bit already. I expected to get up this morning in real agony, but instead I've just got annoying pain and a humorously stupid limp.

@Mike aka Proof- It would be silly to try to fill my radar-dish collar with liquor. It would make the popcorn soggy.

@TMay- Good idea! All the news networks claim to be "balanced" - let's see them climb a ladder and prove it!

@REM1875- ACME assures me that I simply used the wrong product. They're now sending me an ACME jetpack and rollerskates.

@Fred Ciampi- I tried giving youth a chance this year; a local high school kid advertised that he'd do such chores to raise money for a car and a college education. So I awarded him the job (at a generous hourly rate) and set out all the tools. He never showed up. Nor did he call. But he DID send an email (despite having my phone number) an hour after he was supposed to have arrived, saying that he wasn't coming. Apparently the American work ethic will finally die when the last of the geezer generation falls off the last ladder.

@donpaul53- "Ladder surfing" at least has a glamorous sound to it. I think my event was more "Fail & Flail."

@REM1875- Boy, do I hear you about seeing my Dad in the mirror...

@Fred Ciampi- If your grandsons are drinking beer and climbing ladders, I hope you're at least shooting video to put on Youtube.

@Jim Irre- I think all of us are glad to have a chance to gab about something other than politics.

@TrickyRicky- Advil?! Darn it, ACME - you sent me Anvil!

@Bobo the Hobo- Yes, I should definitely use a spotter. I could fall on them, leaving only a spot.

@Anonymous- Thank you!

Manfred said...

I never had gutters the whole 31 years I lived in Texas as an adult. Only put up gutters on the house we built in SE OK because we need to catch and capture rain water. I no longer get on top of the roof, as I did on our two story house in Houston, to rake tree debris off. Three points of contact, just as when on a tank.

Fred Ciampi said...

Oh, Stilt, grand sons have beer AFTER the ladder fun....... Yay.

Anonymous said...

Gutter covers! I had my gutter company install the covers after 3 years of climbing up an extension ladder, to get to my gutters to clean out my NEIGHBOR'S pine needles and leaves. When one has a fear of heights, and one needs to go up about 24 feet in the air, one needs to either "drink" or take lots of "anxiety" meds. Since I couldn't do both, which I desperately needed, I had to open up the wallet for the crooks that own the gutter companies. (no offense to workers who do this kind of work, just the owners who rip you off) I had about 130 feet of gutters, and the covers that one can buy at Menards/Lowe's for $50 or less, ended up costing me nearly $600. So get brave, go to the store, buy the covers, (which just slide in) and put those dang covers on. THEY ARE CHEAP, if you put them on. Or get the wife to do it... LOL said the lady from Minnesota (Mary)

Manfred said...

I loved listening to Walter Williams when he subbed for Rush. He often talked about being old and unable to do such chores as cleaning gutters, so he made his wife do them!

jlw said...

a serious thought for the future

http://www.irobot.com/For-the-Home/Outdoor-Maintenance/Looj.aspx

Faith D. said...

All my best for a speedy recovery.

Geoff King said...

I once fell off a 50-foot ladder. Good thing I was on the bottom rung.
I like to take a ladder to parties in case drinks are on the house.

Anonymous said...

Ouch! Darn... Been there, done that. Welcome to the Acapulco Roof Divers' Club!

Rik

James Daily said...

I was on the second rung of a ladder in the garage, misstepted and hit the concrete flat of my back. It fixed whatever was ailing my back. Thank goodness whatever was wrong with it has not returned because I don't want to fix it again.

Rod said...

We've a single story house but it's a hilly area, and that last 'toon with Wiley is what it looks like from our south end too. If there's ever another one our next house is going to be in the frigging desert, no trees, grass or shrubs; not even much rain. I hope you get better fast & we're glad you didn't land on your sense of humor.

Bruce Bleu said...

Stilt,
Fell off a 24' ladder once, was 17' high. landed on a whiskey-barrel on my thigh and hyper-extended knees sideways... limped for 6 months, (no bueno). 13 years later, still climb all my 7 ladders, (4' to 28'), but try not to test whether gravity is still tuned on.
get well, my friend, and keep your BRAIN off ladders.

Mr. Tud-da-ball said...

Ugh!

I hope you recover well, sir. We live in sad and troubling times for all thinking human beings - the barbarians are at the gate and we are losing our civilization.

But enough about gutters.

Clinton, like all progressives, is very much into mass ... carnage. Meaty stuff. Literally.

Take care sir.

MD Vickery said...

Glad you aren't damaged any worse than you are. When you decide to hire someone to do it for you, remember that if they don't have worker's comp then when they fall off YOU get to pay the medical expenses. Sometimes it's better to pay them a lot now rather than pay a LOT MORE later.

Jim Lane said...

Good luck, Stilt. At your age there's no need to "bounce test" ye olde bod. (The results can be VERY ugly!)

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Manfred- My house didn't have gutters for a long time. We installed them to help deal with a water problem which turned out to be unrelated. So we got the pleasure of paying a lot of money and adding an annoying maintenance issue. Yippee.

@Fred Ciampi- I'm sure your homeowner's insurance company appreciates that!

@Mary- 24 feet in the air?! I was never that young! And you'd laugh if you saw how low the gutter I was cleaning is. "Why did you use a ladder," you might well ask, "instead of just hopping?"

I suppose I might consider trying to self-install gutter guards. I'm as cheap as I am clumsy.

@Manfred- A real gentleman never asks his wife to get in the gutter.

@jlw- A gutter cleaning robot?! Sweet! And think of the money I could save on colonoscopies!

@Geoff King- I used to take a ladder when I went to high school.

@Rik- I think I Acupulcoed several muscles and ligaments...

@James Daily- Apparently you're a little unclear on the Hippocratic oath when it comes to home remedies (grin).

@Rod- When we moved into this house, there were no trees to speak of. 20+ years later, and we've got huge trees which shed a lot. I like to look at them, but am not crazy about cleaning up after them.

@Bruce Bleu- Yikes! I'm hoping my limp won't last that long. Although I suppose Viagra might help...

Mr. Tud-da-ball- Thanks for the kind thoughts. Regarding Hillary (and Bernie, and the rest of their ilk), when you don't respect life itself, your other values are meaningless.

@MD Vickery- Good point about getting stuck for the medical bills of a worker who falls. Or pretends to fall (I'm such a cynic)...

Anonymous said...

Hoss, when the horse throws ya, get back on that ladder quick, boy.

CenTexTim said...

Springtime chores can be a pain in the butt - and elsewhere. Hope you're back to your normal self soon.

FWIW, we installed screens over our gutters 15+ years ago. Best investment I ever made (which says something about my financial analysis skills).

On a more serious note, if you don't get screens or guards, here's a few options for the future.

John the Econ said...

Every time I go outside on house maintenance chores, Mrs. Econ reminds me that the #1 cause of death for males over 40 is falling off the roof. I don't really know if that's true, but she believes it and your experience along with the subsequent comments anecdotally seems to confirm that.

Perhaps that's the real agenda behind raising the minimum wage to $20-an-hour; To make it illegal to hire able-bodied teenagers to do the task, so that us older folk kill ourselves off before we get to collect on Social Security & Medicare.

Sergio said...

Hopes for your prompt return to good shape! I understand that ethanol, applied orally, several times per hour, is a good remedy to temporary pain. A 50/50 mixture of 151 rum and Coca-Cola is also clinically proven to be quite effective.

Next time, consider Busty Ross for the job. Pay her well, and enjoy the show!

NV Rick said...

@Stilton, in your reply to @Mary, you imply that your gutters aren't that high.
I can't believe what I'm about to say...Why not just use stilts?...
(I'll be here through the week. Try the veal and don't forget to tip your waitress.)

Pete (Detroit) said...

was cleaning leaves off a roof once (WAYYY bitd) and one of my three points was on a leaf.
Schoop, the foot shot out, and I started to slide.
went right past the ladder, started to grab it, occurred to me I did NOT want to fall ON it, and tossed it to one side. One foot hit a barberry (pickery) bush, and pitched me forward into a near perfect 'jumpers crouch'. Rolled forward, hitting knee, hip, shoulder almost perfectly... laid there just breathing, for a minute, damned glad THAT worked... wiggle fingers, toes, flex wrists, elbows, sit up... really, did that w/ NO injury? Then I tried to stand up... that ankle was buggered for twp weeks (got me out of basketball unit in Gym class - yay!)
Hope you heal faster than that, Stilt!

Shelly said...

Despite having its drawbacks, there are many things to applaud about apartment living. I managed to find an apartment that is as much like a house as you can get: two story, two car garage, 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths BUT no yard work and no maintenance. Just pick up the phone when something goes wrong. At this stage of my life, I would have to pay someone to do everything anyway. I hope you feel better soon, Stilt.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Anonymous- I did get back on the ladder, and then mowed the lawn before the pain got to me. In hindsight, maybe not the smartest move, but definitely the most manly (or am I being redundant?)

@CenTexTim- Yeah, I'm thinking of some kind of gutter guards at this point. They're not cheap, but neither is a week in intensive care.

@John the Econ- Being a generous soul, I had offered to pay $25 an hour to the kid who wanted to earn money for college. And he still stiffed me! I think you're right - it's all a conspiracy to knock off oldsters. Who wants to join me in the #GrayHairMatters movement?!

@Sergio- I've been following your recommendations, albeit I don't have 151 rum so have to up the dosage somewhat. And that's not a bad idea about Busty Ross; I always put women on a pedestal - no reason they can't clean the gutters while they're up there.

@NV Rick- In complete seriousness, I've always wanted a pair of those stilts that drywall guys use when building homes. The only thing that has stopped me from getting them is the absolute certainty that I'd kill myself.

@Pete(Detroit)- Congratulations on not killing yourself and too bad about the ankle. I actually hit a hurdle wrong FIFTY YEARS AGO and sprained my right ankle badly. It never fully healed and smarts a bit even now. Amusingly, that means my right leg was my good leg until a couple of days ago. D'oh!

@Shelly- All of that sounds pretty good. Currently, we're starting to put money into the Jarlsberg manse to do improvements which are also "geriatric friendly." Nothing says "luxury living" like figuring out if your bathroom doors can someday accommodate a wheelchair. Which we should do anyway for those times when Johnny Optimism comes to visit.

Ciccio said...

Another group that does not appear to have any rights are landlords. Alice in Wonderland had it easy, things made sense ther, unlike modern US. In this modern US various sections of the governments, federal, state, regional and municipal appear to have conspired to label a certain segment of the population as criminal whilst at the same time threatening financial ruin to any landlord who accepts these various government rulings and treats the labeled criminal as a criminal. Some one find me a lawyer. If the government can fine someone for treating a criminal as a criminal, cannot that same criminal sue the government for calling him a criminal in the first place.

NV Rick said...

@Ciccio,
No need to find a lawyer. Some cities are now paying $1000 a month if you promise not to kill anyone!
I haven't killed the entire GOPe, so maybe I can get a yuuuge monthly check?