How to Freak Out the Neighbor

It’s about 7:20 PM on Monday evening and I should be preparing two new leases for tomorrow morning and also getting an eviction action ready to go… but this is one of those days that after working for well over 12 hours, I sit and ask myself, what am I doing? I did take an entire weekend away from this, and it looks like this was my punishment for my weekend off. Writing relaxes me, so I have decided to write instead of work – but don’t tell anyone, this will be our secret!

Mrs. Rent feels that my new mission in life is to freak out the neighbor and try to give him a heart attack on a regular basis. As winter is getting closer, I really need to focus what little free time I have on getting more work done on the workshop in my back shed. Soon it will be time to have the boat winterized and put away for the snowy season, however where the boat goes is now piles of lumber and insulation.

The last two weekends have been perfect for working outside. I been working in the back shed with the overhead doors open to let in the sunshine and nice breeze. My neighbor that I share a driveway with has also been getting a great deal of outdoor work done. Last weekend was my first attempt at giving my neighbor a coronary.

I was putting up some of the wall sections. The bottom two feet of the wall is treated plywood, above that I am using 7/16 OSB (often called wafer board). The wall is being done in 10’ sections between the 6×6 support posts that hold up the shed. The first section has a door roughed in to get to the shop section from the rest of the shed. I put OSB panels up to the top of the door, and then was going to put a 4×8 sheet sideways above the door. The problem is, those sheets are heavy (over 30 lbs each), awkward, and I am only one person.

Above that door will be a light fixture, so I carefully measured where that junction box was and then cut a hole in the sheet to go above the door. I then carefully climbed up my 8’ aluminum step ladder balancing this sheet and I was able to get it to rest on the wall boards I already put up.. however, I noticed that one edge of my hole for the box for the light fixture was off by about a quarter inch – son of a …. (sorry… easy to forget it is a family forum.. lol). As I debate with myself how to get this sheet back down and then back up again, I notice that I can carefully lean the sheet away from the studs and one edge of it will balance against the track for the large, center overhead door. After testing it, yes, it will stay up by itself. So, I decide it is easier to bring the saw to the board instead of vice versa.

I “eyeball” the hole and made a cut to make the hole bigger. But not big enough.. so I do it again. I was just on the very last bit of that second cut when I must of have put too much pressure on the wall because the 8’ ladder (that I was almost standing on the top rung of) decided to tip over. The entire ordeal probably lasted a second or two, but it felt like I had over a minute to make various decisions. I remember looking down, almost floating in air and watching the ladder fall, taking out two saw horses when it hit the ground. I remember that falling that distance with a saw was probably not the best idea so I threw it the other direction. I managed to turn around in mid air so that I fell facing the ladder and away from the wall. I landed over the ladder, not on it but straddling it, with one leg on each side of it. I came down in a full crouch with my hands on the ground as well.

I don’t get up right away. I spent what seams like forever there evaluating what just happened. I check to make sure that I am okay, and evaluate the situation. Right ankle a little sore but not sore enough to be “hurt”. One of the ladder’s legs is bent pretty bad and I am not sure it can be straightened. Just as I decide I survived and should stand up, I am reminded there was another part of this scenario, a 30 lbs sheet of OSB. I was reminded of this as a split second before it hit me, you “felt” the percussion of the wind it was moving. Because I was still in a crouch, it missed my head and instead impacted the back of my shoulders. The neighbor, working outside saw and heard this and came running. However, he was amazed when I got up non worse for the wear.

This last Saturday, I accidentally decided to give him another scare. Those walls are all done and I am working on the ceiling. I have this lift thing that will lift these OSB boards up to the ceiling and hold them there while I attach them. But I am insulating the rafters and then installing another layer of OSB on top of them so it can be used as a nice attic area for storage. I did replace my 8’ aluminum step ladder with a 10’ fiberglass one. But still, it is a long way up there.

My system to get these 4×8 sheets up there was to pick it up the tall way and then slide it up the wall… then lifting the sheet over my head, the edge of the sheet would get over the top edge of the wall. While playing this balance act, I would carefully go about 4 feet up the ladder. Once the sheet got that high, it hit the ceiling of the shed and couldn’t go higher. I would then carefully and with a bit of power and finesse, give it a little angle and shove it. If I could get it another foot or so and with the right angle, it would go past the pivot point, fall flat on the top of the ceiling rafters and then I could just climb the ladder to push it the rest of the way on.

I am not in the best shape and drive a desk for a living, so I was pretty wore out by the time I got to the third sheet. I repeated the process. However, when I did my shove up and out, I didn’t quite get it as far as I needed to. It slid forward, it started to teeter and lay down like the other two sheets did.. but just as it started to lay down, for reasons known only to physicists, it started sliding back down.

For a split second my brain was telling me catch it. Luckily sanity set in before I had a chance to react to that first impulse. Because it had started to flatten out a little bit, it was not coming back down at the angle that I put it up there, so I jumped the 4’ or so off the ladder and ducked.

It went flying over me, taking out two piles of rolled insulation. Also, the two sawhorses that missed the ladder ordeal didn’t escape this time. I looked out the open overhead door and there was my neighbor again. About to run over so I gave him the quick thumbs up, letting him know I survived again.

I wonder what trouble I can get into next weekend?


About drrent

Wausau, Wisconsin Landlord, past president of the Wisconsin Apartment Association, Host of the Dr Rent Radio Show on WNRB-LP, 93.3 FM, Wausau, WI
This entry was posted in Neighbor, Shed. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How to Freak Out the Neighbor

  1. danielpaul says:

    I’m glad you weren’t seriously hurt. Very well written, you had me cracking up the whole way through your blog! What guy out there doesn’t have some Jerry Lewis moments? Ha!

  2. John – You are a great story teller. Great descriptive writing – I enjoyed it. I am also happy that I am not a handy person so I would never even consider tackling a job like you are doing but then again I don’t have any funny falling off the ladder stories : )

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