October 25, 2008


I have never been afraid of heights. In fact, I don't think I've even been up high enough in an unsecure location to be afraid. I certainly haven't fully comprehended what it means to have vertigo. All of that changed yesterday.

Two years ago we had Christmas lights installed on the outside of our home. In years past I've installed them but there was something about this home's roofline that made me nervous, plus I wanted the installation to last and most things I install have uninstalled themselves before I've put the tools away. Because we leave the lights up all year round, the strong Spanish Fork wind, the biting cold winters and unbearably hot summers make the plastic clips brittle and then they break, leaving you with strands of dangling lights somewhere around September. Last year, we had a company come to replace the broken clips, change out burned-out lights, and it cost much more than I thought it should have. This year, I just didn't want to pay the nearly $300 to have someone do that again, especially knowing that it only took them about an hour to complete the job. That's attorney type money and I didn't want to have an attorney electrician up on my roof. So, I have been trying to convince myself for months that I could do the job.

In August, I borrowed a ladder and after several attempts, wasn't able to transition even one foot from the ladder to the roof - the pitch was too steep. I stood at the top of the ladder but just couldn't bring myself to taking that first step. I tried again in September but ended up with same result. My knees got a little wobbly and I started cold sweating. And who in their right mind would want to be on top of a roof in the cold wind with a cold sweat? Not a healthy decision if you ask me! Realizing unfortunately though that the cold weather was coming which would make an installation even more dangerous, and still not wanting to pay for an attorney electrician, I bought the needed supplies a few days ago, mustered up the courage one last time, and then yesterday, made the ascent.

Once I got on the roof, I realized that I had forgotten to bring all of my climbing gear like my ice pick and carabiners and my sherpa (you can never find a good sherpa when you need one) but I pressed forward anyway. All I could hear in my head was a man's voice that sounded like Bob Barker saying, "Now kids, don't try this at home." A little too late Bob - where were you 30 minutes ago?! Thankfully, I didn't experience too much trouble except for a few pitchy, slippery areas that required careful maneuvering (ie, sliding on my rear-end and holding on for dear life). When all was said and done, I conquered Mount Home AND my newly discovered fear of heights without any injuries, thanks in part to my neighbor Tyler who lent me his ladder, his hand, and his calm voice of reason. The picture above shows me on the peak. If you look carefully you can see some of the hanging strands of lights. The picture below is the house after I was safely back on the ground, convincing myself that it wasn't so bad but mentally calculating how much I'd need to save each month from now until next year to hire the attorney electrician.