13 June 2011

Ladder Safety

I was definitely getting tired of climbing up and down the steps of my ladder every time I needed to reload my paintbrush, but what could be done? The ladder was so rickety that I didn’t trust it to balance my can of paint. So, I continued edging the ceiling of my porch, climbing up and down the ladder every time I ran out of paint. It did occur to me for a second that perhaps it was slightly illogical that, while I wouldn’t trust the ladder to hold the paint can, I did trust the ladder to carry my body weight as I worked my way around the porch. However, I argued to myself that what I was doing was perfectly logical. If I were to place the paint can on the ladder, and if, due to the poor condition of the ladder, the paint can fell off, the results would be disastrous! I can’t even imagine how long it would take to clean up a gallon of paint splattered haphazardly around a room. In addition, that would be a waste of thirty dollars! Therefore, I was definitely wise in taking the safer route and submitting to the annoyance of repeatedly ascending and descending the ladder—for that is a much lesser annoyance compared to scrubbing green paint off of an entire room.
However, there still remained the fact that I trusted this rickety ladder to support my weight. Was this wise? I wasn’t too worried. After all, what’s the worst that could happen? I looked down from where I was painting—I was leaning away from my ladder, with one arm braced against the wall, and the brush in my other hand. Directly under where I was leaning were the five cement steps that led to the basement. Not the most comfortable thing to land on in case of a fall, but surely, even if I did fall, I would live through it. I continued to paint my way around the ceiling, my concerns about ladder safety deemed unwarranted.
If anyone still believes that my painting adventure of this morning was a wee bit reckless, I must claim that genetics have contributed to my slight lack of awareness of the danger of ladders. I belong to a family which has used ladders “creatively” when the need arose during many and sundry work projects. Members of my family have balanced an extension ladder on top of a motor home in order to get a job done. On another occasion, we put the extension ladder on top of three layers of scaffolding. We have created makeshift roof jacks out of two ladders laid against the roof with a board balanced across them. It has been intimated to me on many occasions that the “Danger: Do not step” sticker on the top step of every stepladder is really more like a suggestion than an actual rule. When we need to work from a ladder on uneven ground outdoors, we simply look around on the ground for a random rock or brick, and put it under a leg to balance out the ladder. If no rock or brick is to be found, we may enlist a family member to steady the ladder while we run up and do what needs to be done.
My husband does not believe that ladders should be used in such a reckless fashion. This spring, we dragged out an extension ladder because an outdoor light bulb needed to be changed on our house. After putting the ladder in place and assigning me to hold the bottom of the ladder, Angel climbed halfway up, decided that having an outdoor light bulb was not worth the danger involved, and climbed back down. He put the ladder away and it looked like we wouldn’t have light outside anymore. But I knew what to do. The next time I saw my uncle around, I asked him if he could put the light bulb in. Sure enough, he brought the ladder from the shed, leaned it against the house, ran up with the bulb I gave him, and we had light!
                There are definitely practical benefits to having a slight degree of recklessness where ladders are concerned. If you wait for a perfectly sound ladder of the correct height to come around, you may never finish the job. However, just in case anyone is worried about my safety, two ladders of a much sturdier character were delivered to my porch this afternoon by my beloved family, and I won’t be risking my life on ladders anymore. Well, at least, not on this work project.
Anonymous said...

I think you failed to leave out the actual accident that occurred that morning which involved you falling down the stairs.

Your husband

Anonymous said...

Have you read humty dumpty.. it doesn't end well....

No(dot dot)el said...

LOL this is cute, but it kinda makes me nervous at the same time. We have an old ladder that goes up to our loft and every time I climb on it I think am I going to be the one that finally breaks this old ladder. Thanks for linking it up on Flashback Friday. Hope to see more in the future.

Mrs. Bennett Has Class said...

When I was growing up, I saw my dad using ladders frequently and without hazard. I have no problem getting out a ladder and using it for home repairs. I'm careful, but not fearful. However, I do have my limits and this holiday season, there will be no lights on our house because it is simply too tall. :) And that scares me.