I have been trying to make do with an 8-foot stepladder for household chores. It works fine for some tasks but is far too short for others. I have a 20-foot extension ladder that also sees limited service, mostly outside. The cheap swinging chandelier in the foyer is too high for me to safely service with the 8-foot stepladder, and it is too far from the walls for me to get to with the extension ladder. After many months of casual deliberation and serious procrastination, I fired up the gas guzzling GMC van and traveled to Home Depot on a quest to find the tallest stepladder that I could. A couple of hundred dollars later, I strapped a new 12-foot stepladder on the carrier rack of the GMC and returned home to what I thought would be the quick, simple task of changing a few dollars worth of bulbs on the cheap swinging chandelier.
Wrestling the ladder onto and off the roof rack of the GMC was challenging enough for my short, aging, out of shape body, but then came the problem of negotiating it into the foyer. After that exciting activity, I ascended and descended the ladder enough times to get cramps in both legs. The cheap swinging chandelier not only needed new bulbs, it desperately needed cleaning, and that proved most difficult since the ladder was just tall enough for the job. Spinning the chandelier one full turn would probably twist the wires off, so one hand needs to hold it still while the other does the work, leaving me to balance near the top of the ladder. Did I mention my fear of heights?
After I was done with the chandelier, I decided to clean the inside glass of three very high windows that had never known a drop of Windex. Again, if I went to the highest safe step of the ladder and stood on my toes, the ladder was just tall enough for the job.
After the windows, I decided to rig up some long tubes and hoses from the vacuum cleaner so I could snort dust and cobwebs from the high window sills, ceiling, and the highest areas of the walls; the same dust and cobwebs my Daughter is so very kind enough to stare at whenever she visits.
It is now late evening, and instead of enjoying the fruits of my labor, I see smudges on the glass of the chandelier and streaks on the window glass. Methinks there will be several more trips up and down the ladder for me again tomorrow. So far, I cannot see any dust or cobwebs that I missed. If they are there, I’m sure my dearly loved Daughter will be delighted to find them for me.
James A. Zachary Jr.