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Random Thoughts Of Accidental Suicide

Now that it is spring again and the weather is turning a lot nicer, it’s time to get back into trying to put our house together.  There’s just so much that we have to do before we can move into our house.  Although the interior has been framed, duct work has been installed, water and gas plumbing installed, newer sewer stacks, the roof patched, electric wiring installed, each and every window replaced, front doors replaced, and the house tuckpointed.  The house was fully tuckpointed in the front and only spot tuckpointed along the sides and back.  A lot of work has been done.  But a lot of work still needs to be done.

The next steps are to install insulation into the walls and ceilings, lay down new hardwood flooring, and then put in some drywall.  But before we can get these next steps done, we have to correct a few mistakes and make a few changes that will make the house a little more to our liking.  We’re moving a couple of walls to make the master bedroom larger as well as install a walk in closet by taking some space from one of the other bedrooms.  The bedroom we selected for the master was kind of small after we added the master bath.  We didn’t think it was important when we made the plans.  But once the bathroom was in place, the room was just plain puny.  The misses and I bit the bullet and decided that the masters of the house deserved more room.

The bid to move the walls was almost seven hundred dollars.  And this was just the framing.  No drywall is up just yet.  So I decided to move the walls myself.  It might take a weekend or two.  But I’ll save a ton of money.

But before I could move the wall, I had to take care of a leak in the roof.  Calls to the original roofer went unreturned.  People so helpful and easy to reach before they patched the roof disappeared after they got paid.  We finally got tired of the original roof repairers and decided to call another roofer.  The guy was very helpful and offered to do the job.  But he was trying to tell me that it was something I could do myself easily.  Everything I needed was at the Home Depot, including a brand new aluminum ladder to reach the roof from the fire escape that went around the backside to the third floor.  I bought the supplies and the ladder for about one and a quarter, about a third of what the roofer wanted to charge.

So yesterday, I was climbing on top of the roof of my three story house using a sixteen foot extension ladder set on the fire escape.  The fire escape wasn’t twenty inches wide so there really wasn’t a good angle for the ladder to sit.  As I climbed, the ladder wanted to pull away from the roof.  I had to get someone to hold the ladder steady to make it on top.  To say that the climb up was precarious is an understatement.  I was slow and steady.  But fear didn’t pop into my head, at least not initially.

Once on top, the roof was flat so it was easy to walk around.  But it was a bit unnerving.  The roof had soft spots that felt like you could literally sink into the floor beneath.  I walked to the edge where the hole was and went to work.  As I spread the tar like stuff around, all it took was a little turn of the head to the pavement thirty feet straight down.  I actually started thinking about falling off the roof.  It felt like it would have been pretty easy.  Squishy roof and a loss of balance and the next thing you know, splat.  For a split second I imagined how quickly the trip down would be and it would have been over in an instant.  And then I imagined the impact.  If I landed on my head, my skull could be crushed or my spinal cord snapped cleanly at the neck.  For the briefest of moments, the pavement below actually looked attractive.  I could just move on from this plane of existence where there is so much struggle and conflict and bitterness.

But right next to the pavement sat the minivan.  Inside the minivan was my son, probably playing with his mother.  And the thought of him seeing my body falling into the pavement actually sent a shiver through my body.  I quickly thought about him growing up without me in his life.  I thought about him missing out on everything I have yet to give him.  It should be obvious that I’m not talking about anything material.  If anything, my family will do well if I keeled over.  There’s enough life insurance on me to keep the family comfortable.  But I would miss out on the opportunity to teach him social values.  And while I have no doubt that the misses could do well if she had to do the job herself, she shouldn’t have to.  I have an obligation here as well.  And suddenly I had a fear of falling off the roof.

The pavement below started looking threatening.  I backed away from the edge.  I was much more careful going down the ladder.  My heart was thumping in my chest as if I was running on a treadmill.  When I set my feet back firmly on the fire escape I was so relieved.  My son will have me for at least a little while longer.

Sunday, April 4, 2010 - Posted by | Life, Thoughts


  1. Brother P,
    You go falling off a roof like that and I’m likely to take a day or two off to come down there, work on resurrecting your dumb ass, and throwing you off that roof one more time! I’m addicted to your blogs, and if I don’t get my fix, you’re in big trouble, Mister!

    On a serious note, I hate going up ladders when you have no room to lean them. And looking over the roofs edge…at three stories I’m not so bothered. I went up on the roof of a 21 story office tower last friday morning while it was still dark, and looked down. I didn’t notice at first until I went to leave the roofs edge. I had white-knuckled myself to the ledge with my hands!

    Comment by Mike Lovell | Monday, April 5, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback Mike Lovell,

      I promise I won’t go falling off any roofs, accidental or otherwise. In fact, I hope it’s a long, long time before I have to go back up there again.

      I’ve never been squeamish about heights. But something happened yesterday that really just kinda struck me. And while I’m not depression prone or suicidal, it was an interesting feeling and not one I particular care to repeat. Trust me, I ain’t going nowhere anytime soon…


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Monday, April 5, 2010 | Reply

  2. There are times when I am grateful that I am totally incompetent with my hands. 🙂

    Comment by blueollie | Monday, April 5, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback blueollie,

      But exactly where did I say that I was competent? It takes me four times longer to do the work of a competent handyman or woman.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Monday, April 5, 2010 | Reply

  3. Brotherpeacemaker,
    I have nearly thirty years of experience in all that you have just described and even I would have been terrified
    before I got off of the ground. I am sure by now you know that do it yourself is only about20% of what it’s cranked up to be.
    More importantly,if you had been disabled or worse than that, know that you would be missed. You are making a difference. You are appreciated.

    Comment by Akinwole | Tuesday, April 6, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback Akinwole,

      Often when I say thanks it is a rote statement to start my comments. And while I do appreciate many comments, I’ll start a comment thanking people without even thinking about it. But I really do appreciate your comment this morning.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Tuesday, April 6, 2010 | Reply

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