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Thursday, October 29, 2015

That Day


That Day
Simulation, not the real Cranky
There is for everyone, “That Day.”
The day you realized you were not just a kid anymore.  The day you knew you would never play for the Yankees (or the company softball team). The day you knew you were in love.  The day you knew your marriage (s) was over; and then there is the day you realized you were old.

I have always been somewhat afraid of heights.  I was never a tree climber, I had trouble looking down from the window of a tall building, I will go on an airplane, but they make me nervous. 

When I was in college, I had a summer job working with a painting crew.  On my last day of this job I had to climb a forty plus foot ladder to apply an acidic brick cleaner to a building.  (I was going to say the ladder was sixty-foot, but I was on the job with my friend Charley who sometimes reads this blog and I’m lucky if he lets me get away with forty foot.) 

Climbing that ladder scared the bejesus out of me and I could not get to the top rung.  I had to stretch my arm as far as I could to reach the last brick.  With my arm stretched out, the brick wash trickled down my arm and into my eyes, or close enough to feel like it was in my eyes.  I had to scramble blindly down the ladder. 

It was on that day that I realized painting was not in my future, not if ladders and height scared me.  I also was a lousy painter.  Everyone thinks they can paint, but house painting takes a skill, and I did not have it.

Years later, when I owned my own home, there were chores which required climbing ladders. I didn’t have the money to hire someone else to do those chores.  I was still scared of ladders, but young enough to push through my fear.

The job I hated the most was the once a year gutter cleaning.  It involved many two story trips up a ladder and then the nasty job of scooping decaying leaves and gunk out of the gutter.  I did this chore every year for thirty years.  On my last home, the roof was one extra story high, but for two years I still managed to clean the gutters. I never looked down.

The year I turned 55, I prepared to clean the gutters as usual.  I raised the ladder, propped it against the house, secured the bottom with brick wedges, grabbed a trowel and a towel, and ascended the ladder.

Half way up the ladder, I looked down; memories of acidic brick wash trickling into my eye while up a forty-foot ladder (by now it was 60 feet) flooded my mind and my legs turned to jelly.

I climbed down, lowered the ladder and put it away.  I called a local handy-man to clean my gutters.  On that day I could never climb a ladder again, and I realized I could now afford to pay a young person to climb them for me.

That was the day I knew I was old.  

18 comments:

  1. This hits too close to home for me to comment!!

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  2. I'm with you on this one.... the other day I tried changing a light bulb while standing on stepladders. Never again, I funked the job half way up.

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  3. I don't and never have done heights, four rungs up and I'm done. I started feeling my age when I realised that if I wanted to sit on the floor I'd better make sure there was someone there to help me up again!

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  4. I grew up loving baseball, and had fair-to-middling success at it, until I got to high school. That Day for me came when I faced a pitcher who threw hard enough that I really struggled to catch up with his stuff. Then he let loose with one that was coming straight at my ear-hole, and I was in cold fear as I bailed out of the batter's box. And as I bailed, I saw the ball break sharply, right across the middle of the plate, followed quickly by the bellow of the ump as he punched me out. At that moment, I realized that my dreams of a major-league career were over. . .

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  5. With age comes the wisdom to spend money to pay the young and foolish to do the crappy jobs.

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  6. It's always smart to recognize when you need help. I

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  7. i don't like ladders, either. don't think it has anything to do with age. :)

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  8. This very kind of thing has happened here too. Hubby no longer climbs a ladder and we knew then we were both old. I'm good with that.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  9. Cleaning rain gutters are the worst. I now live in a townhouse complex where the gutters are cleaned every year, and I love it. I don't have a problem with heights, but chubby people don't belong on ladders. As for being old, I feel both old and young at times, but the guy looking back at me in a mirror when I shave is looking older and older.

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  10. It's easier to clean the gutters if you climb on the roof, trust me. Anyway, old is when you give up on everything and get rheumatism in your soul. You are not there yet, not by a mile.

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  11. My "that day" was the day I paid $5.00 (Sr. Citizen's price) to climb a lighthouse in R.I. I made my way up the rusty spiral stairs that were barely attached to the wall, and out the door onto the walkway. It seemed a half mile at least to the ground where the green lawn sloped to the sea. I clutched the stair railing all the way down where my daughter waited. She'd bought a ticket too, but lost her nerve. Never again!!!!!

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  12. I sure do know what you are talking about. My day was when I tried to ride my granddaughter's bicycle. I thought I could do it....I really did. I rode about twenty five feet before my feet came off the pedals and I declared I was too old for this mess. I've always had a fear of heights, so I couldn't use that one. :)

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  13. I'm not old...NO! NO! NO! NO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    But I did realize I was getting older when I had trouble staying up until midnight on New Year's Eve to watch the ball drop. I still do it, mind you, I just have some trouble. But I'm a fighter. :-)

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  14. Yep. I've experienced "That Day" many times, but not with heights. When I was in the army, I was in the signal corps. My duty station was in Panama. Our communications bunker was in the jungle at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The directional antenna malfunctioned.
    The antenna was near the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean. No one would climb the 80-foot structure and have a look.
    I volunteered and climbed that baby. The cliff was several hundred feet above the water, and I was 80 feet above the cliff. I could feel the wind in my face as I repaired and reattached the chain. It was exhilarating.
    When I got home after my service, went to work climbing poles for the phone company.
    There are things that give me the heeby-jeebies, but not heights.
    R

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  15. I guess I realized I was old that summer day I climbed the ladder for the slide at the Columbia Park swimming pool, with a line all the way down the rungs and out to the edge by the baby pool. I turned around, but nobody was lettin' me backtrack. I had no choice but to slide down and off the end that was a good three feet above the water. I closed my eyes and held my nose. Never again.

    I was 10.

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  16. I'm sort of with you. I could always climb trees and I occasionally clambered around on roofs but ladders scared the hell out of me. One year as a kid I was one of the people drafted to paint our church. When I had to climb up a ladder about 8 feet and stand on a couple of planks between it and another ladder and I was shaking like a leaf I decided ladders were not for me.

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  17. I've never had a fear of heights as long as I could hold on to something. What I could NOT do was walk on a steep pitched roof as there was nothing to hold on to. I still have a puckered body orifice just thinking about it.

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  18. You sound just like my hubs. He HATES getting up on the ladder to clean the gutters--he has a terrible fear of heights. But we can't afford to hire someone, so he's stuck with the job. Unless, of course, I volunteer to do it.....NOT.

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