It must have been the corn

by Lorin Michel Monday, September 24, 2018 12:06 PM

One of the downsides of having a husband who can do everything is that he thinks he can. Some of you may recall an incident from years ago, the time when “Auntie Warren didn’t holded the ladder for Uncle Kebin” and he fell from the sky. He was doing some drywall work in the house in Oak Park. The feet of the extension ladder were on the entrance way tile, which was marble. We didn’t realize that there was an invisible layer of drywall dust on said floor, making it slick. He positioned the top of the ladder on the high beam, two stories up (we had vaulted ceilings) and proceeded to climb. I was in the great room working on something else which I no longer remember. The next thing I heard was a crash. The feet of the ladder had slid back on the floor, the top had lost any anchor, and it came crashing down with my husband on top of it.

Two stories he fell, hitting the wine table we had against the wall on his way down. He could have broken his back (he didn’t); he could have hit his head (he didn’t). What he did do was nearly break his ankle when it slammed into the corner of that table with such force that he broke part of the table completely off. After he took inventory of body parts and realized that he was actually in pretty good shape considering, we proceeded to remove his work book. The ankle was already swelling. I didn’t have an ice pack so we got him to the car and I packed his ankle with a bag of frozen peas and a big bag of frozen shrimp and off we went to the ER.

Fast forward to yesterday and what was then our saguaro situation. We have hundreds if not thousands of these magnificent tree/plants on our nearly four acres of land. They’re tall and green and gorgeous. We watch as they effortless weather any ferocious winds, merely swaying as if in a gentle breeze. Torrential rains and monsoons barely dampen their desert spirits. They’re stoic and strong. 

When we built the house, there was one saguaro in the center of the pad. We didn’t want to move it and we didn’t want to lose it. It was about 22 feet high, straight and tall, reaching into the blue sky. Architect Mike agreed, and promptly informed any contractors that if they damaged the saguaro during the course of building the house to not bother coming back to work. The house was built and the driveway was created, with a center island specifically to house the saguaro. Since we moved in three and a half years ago, we also added two small saguaros and a prickly pear to the island. We lit it up at night with solar lights, giving it a strangely eerie glow that seemed to fit its proper place as elder statescactus. 

But about two weeks ago, I noticed that it seemed to be leaning. I studied it, fixated, and then brought it up to Kevin. Did he see the same thing? He did but he wasn’t worried. Plus he loves these cactus, and that one in particular. It was like part of our extensive plant family. I continued to worry and stew, especially because the direction of the lean was toward the house. If it fell, it could conceivably fall into the soffet above the stairs, or into one of the two stone columns that led down into the portico. I kept bugging him and finally, on Saturday night, he acquiesced and said we’d talk about it Sunday. 

Yesterday, the just mentioned Sunday, we called an arborist. Since saguaros are a protected species in the sonoran, you can’t just cut them down. They have to be moved, or if diseased, taken down by someone who knows what they’re doing. We took photos and sent them to the woman who viewed them, called back, and said that in her estimation and based on the information provided, there was definitely something going on, that it probably was diseased, and that it should be removed. 

This brings us back to the first line of this post. My husband is a bit of a savant. He can do just about anything, especially when it comes to building or creating or crafting. While taking down a saguaro that’s over two stories high is definitely not creating, he figured he could put up a ladder, and start dismantling it from the top. 

You see where this is going.

I raised objections. I told him I didn’t think that was a good idea. I got mad. I lost the argument. He put an extension ladder – the same one from the previous sky-falling incident – up against the saguaro and with his saws-all, proceeded to start cutting. I was standing below, holding onto a rope he’d wrapped around the top so that if he got a piece free I could yank it and hopefully steer it away from the house. 

When he put the ladder against the back side of the saguaro, the side that was leaning, I again raised objections. I suggested maybe we call someone. Perhaps we could get Luis, the landscaper, to take care of it. He started climbing. I said that it wasn’t stable. He climbed one more rung. I shouted, it’s breaking! It’s going down! It snapped at the base, and he managed to get one rung down before the saguaro, all 22 feet of it, fell toward the house, and the ladder, with my savant husband on top, fell, too, but to the side. 

Once again, an inventory of body parts was taken, and once I knew he was OK, I started yelling. Then I loaded him into the Sport, and off we went to Urgent Care. He had banged up his right shin, scraping it deeply and forming a rather large and unsightly hematoma. But he was otherwise OK.  

This time I packed his leg with frozen corn, securing it with a belt. I’m starting to think these bags of veggies can save just about anything, including my sanity.

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live out loud

Comments (2) -

9/24/2018 1:30:34 PM #

Your future incessant mantra to him should be, "Step AWAY from the ladder."

I'm happy he wasn't more seriously injured. Smile

Fred Marcin United States

9/24/2018 2:35:31 PM #

OUCH! The ladder looks like it needs to be replaced....NOT the husband. xoxo

Pamela Marcin United States

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