If you’re a man, and you’re married, and you’ve been married for a while, like I have, you know you can’t win an argument and if you get into a bad situation and need help, you’re screwed.
Every few years, we were switching services who provided our satellite television and cable to us. It seemed as though the company would start out just fine and then the service would go south and the prices would go north.
One fine spring day, I was in our attic. I had this bright idea, which turned out to be not so bright. I was going to save some money. I bought a cheap antenna for local reception and was going to try to do another route for the rest of the channels on the internet, saving a ton of money and eliminating weather problems of the past with satellites. If you know me, you know I am far from computer savvy. Problem number one, but not the big problem of that day.
My dear wife Lana was working in the yard that lovely day, tending to weeds, with the earplugs of her ipod firmly buried deep to her eardrums. I lowered the ladder to the attic and up I went with the antenna, already assembled. I had pre-drilled a hole from our plasma into the ceiling. All I had to do was find it in the mass of blown-in insulation and thread the coax down through the hole from the attic. Piece of cake.
I hate that phrase, piece of cake. It never was. If anyone ever says that to you run the other direction. Clearly they have never done that project. It is the same thing as saying, “You can’t miss it.” Want to bet on that? I’ve been driving professionally for 22 years and I can miss a lot of things and places, especially when a moron gives me directions.
So, I stand up in the attic, holding this antenna with one hand, holding onto the center beam with the other, and using my “radar toes” to feel for the rafters as I creep along so I don’t fall through. I left the television on downstairs so I would have a pretty good idea how far I needed to go since my helper was outside pulling weeds.
Finally, I reached where I thought was near where I needed to be. I let go of the beam over my head and set the antenna down to the side. I then felt with my fingers for the rafters so I could kneel. I then started to spread the insulation until I found the hole. After a few minutes, I gained success and threaded the coax through the hole and then attached the other end to the antenna. I spread out the arms of the antenna and set it where I wanted it and then pushed the insulation back all nice and pretty again.
When I rose to get out of there, I lost my balance. Yep, you’re already picturing this. I went down. My legs went through the living room ceiling, just above the television. There was only one thing that kept all of me from going into the living room, a rafter. I straddled it. Most of the impact hit the back of one thigh and my butt. I dropped about three feet. Instant pain and shock.
I could look straight down and see the television and the cabinet it sat on covered in insulation. I had torn about a three-foot square hole in the ceiling. Like I cared. I looked around at my situation and did a very stupid thing. I hollered out, “Lana! Help!” Yeah, right! Like she could hear me. She was out there in the flower beds, swaying back and forth, listening to Michael Jackson and Air Supply. Even if she did hear me, there was no way I could expect her to come up that ladder and traverse twenty-five feet of attic and help me out of there, amongst the spiders and dirt and crap. I was on my own.
I reached down to my right leg, felt under my shorts, and found blood. Lovely. The pain was so intense at that point, I wasn’t sure that I had not broken something. I decided to crawl out on my hands and knees, which took about fifteen minutes. Coming down the ladder was less than pleasant, sort of like going to the grocery store WITH coupons.
When I reached the ground, who did I find in the front yard talking to a neighbor? My wife! Apparently the earplugs and Air Supply made her deaf to my screams. She looked over her shoulder at me as she continued to talk, noticing me limp inside, casting a raised eyebrow my way. As I made my way through the kitchen, I grabbed a trash bag and headed toward the living room and waiting pile of insulation.
I heard the door open and close as I began the cleanup. I didn’t look her way when she rounded the corner to the living room, but I sure didn’t miss her words. “What the hell did you do? Look at the mess! Oh my God, look at the ceiling! What are you going to do about that, Keith?”
I’m in shorts that have streaks of dirt from my fall, scrapes along the back of my thighs, blood along the back of one thigh, and I am picking up blown insulation like mad, and I hear this. I stopped what I was doing, turned around, looked at her, and said, “I’m fine, thanks.” I then went back to cleaning up my mess. It was then she noticed my legs.
I’m not sure how far into a marriage the men begin to lose the arguments. I knew better that day to even try. Just grab the bag and clean up. We now have an agreement whenever I head for the attic…I go up, and she stands near the ladder without Air Supply.
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