silvery strands of thought

My Roofscapade

This post is really hard for me to write because this is an embarrassing story. But I figure that you’ll enjoy it and that eventually I’ll be glad I recorded this escapade. Or, in true 21st century fashion, I could call it the roofscapade.

So last week, Rob needed some pie plates, and I needed a beverage shaker bottle. At Bed Bath & Beyond, I saw some stuck-on dial thermometers, and I bought two. I’d been wanting one on my office window and one on the kitchen sink window.

On Friday, I decided that today was the day I’d figure out how to get that thermometer on my own window. I can’t just pop out the screen and put it on because I can’t suction it to the top pane when the window is open, thus covering the top pane, and I can’t put it on the bottom pane when the window is open because then it won’t have room to slide past the screen.

On top of that, the ground in front of my window is uneven, so I can’t put a ladder beneath it–the easiest, most straight-forward way to access the outside of that window.

My only option is to climb up on the roof and stick it on from the outside.

Well, Rob worked Friday night, but that wasn’t gonna stop me. I’m not afraid of heights. I don’t need help to do something other people might think is risky. I’m not scared.

I get the ladder, prop it up against the house, and climb up, thermometer in hand and a paper towel with some Windex on it tucked in my pocket.

Our roof is really steep, so I decided to crab-walk across the roof so I’d have a low center of gravity. I get about 70% of the way to the window and I realize that my office window is just far enough away from the roof with nothing to hold onto that my little plan wouldn’t work.

So I crab-walk back to the ladder, at which point, I realize that I had set the ladder too steeply. Two fears overtake me at this point:

  1. Because the ladder is sticking up over the roof, I’m afraid that standing up tall enough to step over the ladder will make me lose my low center of gravity and I’ll go sliding off the roof.
  2. Because the ladder is so steep, I won’t be able to climb down; climbing over the ladder (if I don’t fall of the roof ala Fear #1) will send the ladder falling backwards.

I’m paralyzed. What the heck am I supposed to do?!

There’s no way I’m jumping off the roof. I’m in the middle of training for a half marathon, and I don’t want an injury to ruin this for me! I could sit there until I could get the neighbor’s or some passerby’s attention to come rearrange the ladder and then spot me. Or I could wait until Rob came home, but he wouldn’t be home until at least 11:30.

At this point, I believe I may have whimpered a bit.

I spent some time willing the neighbors to get thirsty and go to their sink and look out their kitchen window and see me. I prayed they’d go outside and check on their boxer, Evony, who, along with Rowdy, were watching me intently. Rowdy even got a bit worked up, pacing the deck below me and whimpering herself a bit.

I alternated between waving towards the neighbor’s kitchen window so they’d know I wasn’t just hanging out on the roof for funsies, and burying my face in my hands, sobbing.

Finally, I took a deep breath and weighed my options. Banish my (probably) irrational fears and climb down that ladder. Catch someone’s attention. Wait until Rob got home to rescue me. Jump off the roof.

None appealed to me, but I convinced myself enough that the ladder fears were myths to scoot from my perch on the corner of the roof back to the ladder—twice—so twice I crawled to the ladder, realized I was wrong, then crawled back to the spot I’d found on the corner of the house, the spot where I could sit most easily on our steep roof.

I peeked over the east eave, trying to spot the highest ground I could jump to. I tried to remember anything I’d heard about jumping off a building onto the ground without serious injury, but I was pretty sure that all I recalled was movie stunt crap.

I weighed my options again. I could stick it out on the roof until Rob came home. I would crab-walk over to the satellite dish, prop myself against it, and just hang out. That could work.

But I could not waste 6 full hours just sitting on the roof! I had work and relaxing to do and a puppy to feed. Besides, I’m not one to sit on my ass waiting to be rescued.

I resolved that jumping off would be the safest, considering the obvious dangers of the ladder. I decided to turn onto my stomach and slide as far off the roof as I could, getting my feet as close to the ground as possible, then pushing off the roof and hopefully avoid ruining the darn gutter, which was totally in my way.

It still took me several minutes to work up the courage to jump, then several more minutes to make sure my plan of attack was the best way to get down off the roof and avoid breaking a leg. Finally convinced, I turned over and slowly lowered myself, then pushed and landed! Rowdy was on me in an instant, licking my face and almost knocking me over.

I stood up and assessed myself. I only felt pain in the top of my feet, just in front of where my leg joins my foot. Not bad.

So, dear, reader, I survived this adventure without a single scratch. And I even learned a few things along the way.

  • A higher point of view knocks several degrees off of the angle of a ladder leaning against your house. Compensate for this while you’re on the ground or find yourself in my predicament.
  • No matter how independent or confident or self-sufficient you think you might be, don’t climb up onto a roof without someone else there.
  • If you’re taking a risk, you’d better be taking your cell phone. That’d have come in mighty handy when I was up on that roof.
  • (Rob, this one’s for you.) Who needs a stick-on thermometer anyhow. I have a smartphone that will tell me that, and there are two computers in this house that can also tell me how hot or cold it is out there. Not to mention the local radio station, KSMU, that reports the temperature every half-hour.

Oh, speaking of smartphones, I briefly considered taking mine with me up there, but I thought that was stupid. What if I drop it? If I keep it in my front pocket, it would limit my mobility because I wouldn’t be able to bend as much. Why do I need it any way? It would have saved me a lot of grief if I’d brought it. Still, I would have had to weigh which friend I could call who would give me the least grief or be the most understanding.

So… just in case I’m in a bind again, who wants to be my emergency life saver?

Wordless Wednesday: Looking Out the Front Windows


Tuesdays with Linden’s Favorite Links | 6-Sep-2011

Today, I’m going to share links to my current favorite blogs. Most of these are written by dear friends, but there’s one blog in there that is pretty famous, and they’re the ones that I check regularly.

Baby Mildren

My besty since 4th grade, Beth, and her husband James are having a baby boy in January and she’s got a baby blog going with a weekly update post, always with the requisite baby bump picture. Love it! I can’t wait to meet this little guy.

A Fool of Myself

My besty since grad school and favorite running partner, Sarah, went on blogging hiatus in the spring, but she’s back now and she is sharing lots of healthy recipes and interesting insights.

Slightly Flighty

If you remember my post about Coffee, Crafties, and Besties Night (aka Besties Night), you’ll remember that it’s me, plus Sarah and her besty, Jenny–Beth, we miss you!. Jenny’s blog is all about crafting, so if you embroider or sew, you’ll want to add this one to your RSS feed.

Thrive Personal Fitness

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve started personal training with Pamela Hernandez in order to get fit and stay fit, and so I’ve really started reading her blog. Good stuff, folks. If you’re looking for inspiration for your own fitness journey, along with loads of practical advice and tips, this is the blog for you.

Lovely Chaos

Even back in grad school before we were really friends, I loved seeing Sarah’s adorable vintage outfits. Now she’s dressing her 2-year-old daughter and baby son in them (not the same ones she was wearing…), and posting pictures and how-to’s. She tells readers how to make kid clothing from vintage finds and how to craft home decor from scratch or, again, from your latest flea market treasures.

Penelope Trunk Blog

Oh man, do I love the way Penelope Trunk mixes her personal life in with business advice! It’s so real, and so applicable. I read this blog for the stories about her marriages, kids, and career advice. Oh, and the writing is excellent.


That’s it for today. What is your absolute favorite blog right now? Share it in the comments, shameless self-promotion welcome!

Who Loves Cancer?

I saw this bumper sticker the other day. It says, “I Hate Cancer.” It’s stupid.

I know, I know, it’s a fundraiser for a non-profit organization called—not surprisingly—I Hate Cancer. How can I possibly say something against a good organization fighting a terrible disease? Well, I’ll tell you.

It’s a stupid slogan. Because, seriously folks, who loves cancer?

P.S. Same thing about “cancer sucks.” Um, yeah.

Running: When It Just Clicks

At some point in every runner’s career, it will just click. I don’t mean that you’ll “get” running or suddenly like it when it was only part of your exercise regimen before.

At some point, the world around you just shifts, and running is different. That happened to me this morning. Sometimes, it’s called “being in the groove.” The pace I was running at was perfect. My breathing synced with my pace. My gait smoothed out and it didn’t feel like my feet were pounding the ground anymore. My eyes focused a hundred yards ahead and that’s when I noticed the shift. It felt great.

The last time that happened was in Germany, folks. Today, it lasted about half a mile and slowly faded out.

For the rest of the run, I pondered: how can I make that happen during every run?

The Great Fitness Blogging Experiment: Week 2

Oh man. My second post on Pamela’s Thrive Personal Fitness blog was published today, and I’m thinking maybe I shouldn’t re-read these. I don’t really do that with posts here either. I write, edit, let it sit, edit some more, and finally publish. Then it’s out in the world and on its own.

But I really let it all hang out in this post. There’s lots of personal stuff in there, along with a couple typos. :) Eek. I just hope this blogging experiment helps someone else. I mean, I chose to talk about this stuff and let Pamela talk about this stuff, but it’s something else to see it online… Shew.

Wordless Wednesday: Cupcake and Little Fingers


What I Want To Be When I Grow Up, P.S.

Be sure to read the first post on this topic, “What I Want To Be When I Grow Up.”

Last fall, I started a job that I really like. I rate part of the TOEFL iBT test that international students or workers have to take to get accepted at universities or certain positions.

This job gives me all the benefits of teaching without any of the rough bits. I get to consider grammar and evaluate language. But I don’t have to defend my scores to students or put up with plagiarism or answer emails. I do have to discuss scores occasionally with the shift leader, but that’s as equals. I get to use the grammatical lingo that students don’t know.

Problem is, you’re allowed only 40 hours a month. I get paid fairly well, but not enough that I can do 40 hours a month. If only I could do it for even 30 hours a week!

Pamela is the Best Personal Trainer in 417

We’ve got a great regional magazine here in Springfield, 417 Magazine, named after our telephone area code. Every year, they ask for 417 peeps to nominate the Best of 417 Land, and my personal trainer, Pamela, is in the running.

She does a really good job of explaining why she’s so great, but I want to give you my take.

5 Reasons to Vote for Pamela Hernandez, Thrive Personal Fitness

  1. She is real. I’ve known Pamela for about a year and half, and she’s always been a nice, real person. At Springfield Bloggers Association, where we met, she isn’t pushing her business, trying to get new clients. She is just her. I totally respect small business owners who promote their business in such a natural way, instead of selling, selling, selling.
  2. She is realistic. I feel like the goals we set are doable. I don’t think she is asking me to change my eating habits drastically, even if I whine about Dr. Pepper (because I know how crappy it is for me!). I don’t feel like she expects me to do perfect burpees already or hold the plank for 60 seconds. I feel like she took a week to see what I can do, and now she’s pushing me just enough to strengthen and tone without killin’ me.
  3. She is a giver. Pamela is really active in the Daily Burn forums. She does a call-in radio show whenever they’ll take her. She answers questions of non-clients on Twitter and Facebook. I know all of that is networking and promotion, but many business owners have trouble giving anything away for free. Pamela doesn’t.
  4. She is encouraging. I cannot handle negative, hard-ass coaching. It kills my spirit and makes me want to quit quick. But Pamela is positive without being cheesy.
  5. She is “back to basics.” I feel like I can totally maintain the workout routine that we do at home once our training is over. No fancy (read: expensive) machines. Just a few carefully chosen tools (kettle bells, medicine balls, hand weights, weight bench, exercise ball, etc) that I could buy for myself with about $150 or less. I like that.

I think she’s pretty great, so I’m asking that you help recognize her. Here’s how.

  1. Go to the 2012 Best of 417 Readers’ Choice Awards Page
  2. Vote for all your 417-land favorites.
  3. Be sure to Enter the Math answer and Click Next Page at the bottom of each page/tab.
  4. On page 4 (Shopping + Services) enter the following for Best Personal Trainer:

Pamela Hernandez, Thrive Personal Fitness

Then finish the survey by entering your information on the last page.


What I Want To Be When I Grow Up: A Teacher Looking Back… and Forward

If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up…

at 8-10 years old, I would unravel huge dreams. First, I’d be an astronaut. That’d take some time, but by about 30, I’d be a lawyer, because it’s a really good idea to be a lawyer if you want to be president, and I did. “I’m gonna be the youngest president and the first female.” Don’t ask me how I knew at 8 that the president has to be 35 and that many of them were lawyers.

at 14-18 years old, lots of futures crossed my mind. At one point, I wanted to teach English literature in Germany so that I could live there. For several years, I was going to get my PhD and my MD so I could be a research virologist and discover cures for viral diseases. Later, I decided that one doctorate was more than enough, and I would go to med school so I could have a career where I got to marvel at the intricate wonders of the human body. I even applied to UMKC, Dad’s alma material.

at 18-23, I wanted to teach English and develop my web design skills. Then, Dr. Mark Trevor Smith and Dr. Biava introduced me to the field of linguistics. Noam Chomsky. Descriptive and prescriptive grammar. First and second language acquisition. Dialects, idiolects, regional variations. Language isolates… I could go on and on with the ideas that excited my mind.

by 23, I had started grad school and teaching, and, being quite averse to public speaking, I was all nerves the first day. But something clicked, and I felt right standing up there on the other side of the desk, armed with a plan and expectations.

by 25, I had secured a teaching job in a German university. I would teach English language classes for two years, and have the time of my life while doing it. It was hard, don’t get me wrong, but I learned so much while I was there, from my students, from my colleagues, from my in-laws, from grocery shopping and traveling.

at 28, I hated teaching. I had an awful semester. It wasn’t only the classroom that was bad during that time, but it was easiest to blame. At lunch with a friend, one of those who is blunt and honest and sees you for who you really are, I was told that I obviously hated teaching and I needed to get out, that it was okay. But what else could I do?

by almost 29, I wanted to be a social media virtual assistant, or an online community manager. I had gotten out of my rotten funk about teaching and re-discovered the joys it offers, too.

Now I’m almost 30 and I am trying to work out the future I want and the future Rob and I want and what is best for that, so that I can make it happen. Do I go for any old job, but get security and consistency? Or do I pursue a career with flexibility and frequent developments and new technology, that is still in its infancy, really; one that will satisfy me in other ways than an 8-to-5 would?

Who knows.