Thursday, June 18, 2009
Little Men with Big Sacks
I live in a typically 70's style but slightly-larger-than-usual . .ranch style house which has an enormous roof and verandah. I'm surrounded by eucalyptus, affectionately dubbed 'gum' trees here due to the unusual amount of sap that drips and curls and plops and furls like syrupy residue.
One slight misconception about gum trees is that they're evergreen. Well yes they are but I like to think of them as perennially deciduous, their leaves drop at the slightest breeze, their bark falls with a change in temperature and their branches . . . hold fast during the most horrendous storms only to creak and crash downwards with an audible thud when you least expect it.
Back to the roof . . .it's a normal roof, 120 degree pitch with a flat pitch verandah cover which provides cool and shade in the summer . .it's a great place to sit and supp on hot summer nights, good to dry your washing when it's pissing down. But in order to have a roof such as this, there are three or four 'valley gutters' and of course the normal guttering that accumulate the lovely lemon and eucalyptus scented leaves that fall from the surrounding trees with aplomb and great regularity.
So . . I hires a man. A little man. He's quoted $125 to clear out the gutters, clear leaves from the roof, bag 'em, tag 'em and take 'em away.
Said lovely man arrives as predicted on a work morning at about 7am . . shower time for the lady of the house, and is greeted by well-endowed woman wrapped in little more than a yellow towel and the clothes God gave her.
"Fine . .you know what needs to be done . .I'll be off to work soon but will leave a cheque in the mailbox - there's the roof . . see the leaves? Work your magic!"
So 'little man' hits the roof and begins cleaning.
I'm in the bathroom, moisturising, mascararing, lip lining and glossing when I see this dark shadow reflected in the mirror and hear this almighty thump followed by a muffled
"Fuck . .shit . .". . . .
"Oh my God, Little Man's only been here five minutes and fallen off the roof . . he's landed on his back . .he's immobile . .he's a paraplegic . ."
So, I belt out, fully made up . . hair done, teeth brushed but still donning said yellow towel and nothing other than what God gave me underneath and in a state of abject panic . . there's a dark lump on the floor, not moving, not breathing and all I can think about is "I hope he brushed his teeth . ."
There's no movement from the dark lump. It's lifeless, brown, just listless and lying on the driveway like a limp sausage . . . then . . .I hear a voice from above. Perhaps there is a God and one of his Angels is speaking . .
"Noice get-up luv, goin' to a weddin'"
Bastard was happily balancing on the roof and had been 'hanging' large hessian bags along the guttering as he deposited said leaves, when one bag, with a misdirected grip, fell with a thud, prior to being fully packed . . He'd expressed a few expletives and carried on with the job at hand . .
I can't tell you the adrenalin rush, feelings of panic and the prospect of my towel coming undone whilst administering CPR or worse . . relief dosen't cut it! (He wasn't a very attractive man!)
These days I let my brother or son do it . .they have public liability insurance!
There's more about the 'roof' right here . . .