Thursday, November 17, 2011

Furnace Gap, 1943–2011

As William F. Buckley might have said, he gone!

Yes, the Furnace Gap Elimination Project is complete. The task I most dreaded when I began working on the south side really wasn't so hard after all.

I've in fact finished the patching of the belt course all the way from the right end to a foot or so to the left of the Gap. Most of what remains is pretty easy except for a few rough patches, notably this one:

Looks like someone had a rough day with the hammer. I can empathize, because I had a pretty rough day myself. Nothing in particular was wrong; it was simply that I was not on my game today. Oh boy, was I not on my game today. It was one of those days when I really had no business being up on a ladder, especially not an extension ladder.

For the most part, I'm pretty comfortable on any sort of stepladder, as long as it is sturdy and on solid ground. This is because most of the time with a stepladder you can position it so that your center of gravity is firmly within the ladder's legs, tending towards the ladder, so that if you get wobbly you'll tend to wobble against the ladder.

With an extension ladder, on the other hand, your center of gravity is at best just slightly in front of the plane of your feet, and most often off to one side of the ladder. In other words, you are in constant danger of falling off if you forget where you are for a split-second. Thus, you are compelled to concentrate on two things at all times: what you are doing, and keeping your balance. 

This is why I hate working on extension ladders. Well, it's a big part of why I hate it. I also hate having to carry up all my tools and materials in a bucket and an apron, having to rummage through said bucket (hanging off the side of the ladder) and apron for what I need with one hand while holding on to the ladder with the other, and then having to carry everything back down the ladder and move it (it's heavy!) every few feet. This is unpleasant enough on a good day.

On a day like I had today, the whole affair becomes high adventure.

Not only were my eyes simply not working right, and for no good reason, but my sense of balance never really reported for work. Not that I was at all dizzy; it was just that I could never find stable equilibrium. As a result, I had to concentrate so much upon just staying up there that there weren't many resources left for what I was trying to get done. Oh, the sanding went well enough, but everything else was quite a challenge. 

At one point, I was driving a few screws up through the bottom trim piece to pull it back in line with the top; this was particularly thrilling, because I had to stay up without holding on. At that point, I had the box of screws open in the bucket so I could reach in and get them as needed; while I was driving one of the screws, somehow the bucket upended, and all the screws disappeared into the thick blanket of pine needles below. I have no idea how that happened. But hey, at least I was still on the ladder! And so I spent the next half-hour looking for pine-needle-colored screws in the pine needles, mostly by feel.

I ended up getting a reasonable amount of work done through sheer stubbornness, but along the way a few other items jumped ship. I still haven't found my pine-needle-colored nail set.

"Your nail set's stuck in your hair."


  1. Your nickname should be 'Nails'. That's a solid putty job!

  2. Looks Gnarly, and I mean that Big Mane! Squirrel


Please don't let the "Comment as" dropbox annoy you:
Simply choose "Anonymous," and no one will check your papers.
Feel free to leave your name in the comment if you'd like.
I will be moderating the comments to keep out the spam.