Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Ladder

Here is a photo of my ladder. When I bought my house it had small trees growing in the gutters, so the ladder was one of my first purchases.

When I was at Home Depot choosing the ladder, I decided that I should buy the tallest ladder possible. I figured that if I was going to plunk down the cash for a ladder, the extra footage would be relatively cheap. So, I went for the 24' model. That was thinking ahead, I told myself.

It was quite a brilliant plan until the first time I tried to drag that ladder out of my garage myself. A minor miscalculation. It was so heavy I couldn't lift it. I spent much of the summer of that first year dragging that ladder inch by inch to where I wanted it to be.

By the second and third summers I had finally developed the arm strength to lift the ladder (slightly) off the ground. Then the challenged became getting the ladder propped up against the house without looking like Wiley Coyote with the ladder swaying dangerously from side to side. I'm pretty sure I provided my neighbors with some humor...and possibly a little fear when they happened to catch one of these episodes. But, by the end of that third summer I was getting pretty proficient at carrying the ladder and getting it propped up against the house...without causing harm to myself or the house.

So, this summer I was in the confident position of being able to actually lift the ladder and get it propped up against the house with only minor mishap. The only task left to master was getting the ladder back down once I was done working on the house. I had plenty of time to practice this while working on my front door overhang. I tried many different techniques.

First, I tried to lean the ladder to the side and slowly lower it. This was hard because there came a point where the ladder was too heavy and most of the weight fell to one arm. Then I tried to pull the ladder vertical and slowly let it ride down the side of the house by pulling out the bottom. This made a lot of noise and wasn't that good on the stucco, so I abandoned it. Finally, I tried to pull the ladder upright than slowly lower it over my head...while at the same time walking backward out and moving my hand down rung by rung until the ladder was safely on the ground. It took months of fine tuning, but this became my preferred method.

I have mastered the ladder.

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