By Request

It was Friday afternoon and my daughter Mariah and I were working in the garden area on the hill behind our house. The fence, that surrounds the garden, had been damaged by one of our dogs and needed to be fixed before I started planting seeds and of course the tomato plants.

In the course of our work Mariah looked and me and asked me what my story was going to be about this week. I moaned and grunted a bit. I had been trying to write a story all week long, but I was experiencing a bad a case of writer’s block!

        “I don’t know, I seem to be experiencing writers block this week.”

        “Well, mom, I have a suggestion.”

        “You do?”

        “Do you remember that time with the ladder, crow bar, and the hammer?”

I did remember the story! It was not one of my finer moments in life. I took a deep breath, and felt my temple. I was having phantom pains, and then muttered in a low monotone voice,

        “Yes, I remember that time. If I am not mistaken you, Daniel, the doctor and his nurse, all had a good laugh at my expense.”

        “You have to admit mom, it was pretty funny! Maybe this next week you should just tell a story, a story that is funny with no moral. I mean I like what you have written so far, but sometimes readers just want a good, funny story, that leaves them laughing at the end, and nothing more. Will you tell me the story again?”

She sat down on the grass and waited for me. A smile was already forming on her face.

It was the early 2000’s. We had had a strong wind storm blow through the valley. A portion of my garage was blown off. The door and 4- 3×12’ pieces of metal roofing were lying in the driveway, and three pieces were hanging precariously on the roof of the garage.

I pulled out my 6-foot ladder, grabbed a crowbar and my framing hammer and decided to remove the damaged roofing on the garage. I knew I could hammer out the creases, make them straight again and reattached them.

I did not put the roof on the garage, someone else accomplished task, and to be honest I am not sure who that was. Therefore, I had no idea they had not used roofing nails, which should have been about 2 inches long; instead that had used 16d nails. 16d nails are 3 ½ inches long and most generally are used for framing purposes.

You know what framing is right? That is when 2×4’s or 2x whatever are assembled and things like sheet rock, metal roofing, siding and the like are attached to the 2×4, or 2x whatever that is framed. Two different nails, two different applications, and the applications should never be confused.

I also need to mention that during this time of my life, I had not discovered the “working smarter not harder principle.” That learning curve did not fully take place until after the “rake” incident. (See the story “You hit your head with what?”)

I sat my ladder up, grabbed my leather gloves, my hammer and crowbar, and scaled up the ladder towards the roof. I was able to push the metal down far enough so the head of the nail was exposed.

At that point I knew this was not a roofing nail based on the head. Roofing nails have a much larger head. Why I did not grab the bolt cutters and cut it off instead of trying to pull it out, is beyond me, but then my learning curve had not kicked in quit yet.

I pulled for several minutes with the hammer. The nail was not cooperating, and I was getting angry. Just a side note, anger, hammers and crowbars are never a good combination! Someone always gets hurt.

I laid my hammer down, and reached over to pick up the crowbar. I had laid it on the roof before I had started pulling the nail out with the hammer. I placed the head of the crowbar under the head of the nail. I repositioned myself on the ladder, I wanted to be higher than the roof so I could get maximum upper body strength while pulling the nail out, and began pushing downward on the handle of the crowbar so the nail would come out.

My mistake in all of this was the fact that I had forgotten, because I was angry, to make sure the crowbar was positioned correctly. You always want the crowbar to be faced in such as way that if it breaks loose of the nail it will not fly back and hit you in the head. Most generally it will fly back but over your shoulder, therefore missing your head.

On the second push the crowbar broke free and hit me right on my left temple. I was knocked off the top of the ladder. I fell about 5 feet and landed on my back.

When I came too, I was cussing up a storm and yelling for my son. Blood was trickling down the left side of my head, and my vision was a bit blurred.

Daniel was not answering.

I walked to the house, opened his bedroom door and asked him if he heard me yelling.

He looked up and calmly said,

        “Why do you think I am still laying in bed? Of course I heard you. Do you need stitches?”

        “Of course I need stitches. Do you see the blood! Are you going to drive me to the doctor’s office or not?”

        “Mom, is your vision impaired?”

        “Well, no not really.”

        “Then you can drive yourself. I will see you when you get back.”

He muttered something to the effect that he would rather be in a cage with a rabid raccoon than drive me to the doctor. I was a hot head back then.

I drove myself.

Actually it was for the best. My doctor and his nurse seemed to find great humor in my accident. I had never seen him laugh like that, and the car ride there and back gave me time to calm down.

I don’t think I have a scar on that temple, but it is hard to tell with all the wrinkles on my face.

Is there a deep profound moral lesson in all of this? No, not really, but sometimes life is like that. Sometimes the learning curve in a situation is superficial, and goes something like this:

            Hey dummy; point the crowbar in the other direction while using it!

            Do you want the claws hitting you in your head if the crowbar breaks free?



  1. masodo

    March 19, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Graduated Magna Cum Laude from the School of Hard Knocks there, Misty?
    Glad you are here to tell the tale…

  2. Misty Thomas

    March 23, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Based on the number of times I have hit myself in the head, it is amazing I am all “here!” Thankfully my concussion’s learning curves have been learned.

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