As Christmas fast approaches, I find myself in the midst of somewhat dealing with everyone else’s plans instead of those of my family here in this valley. I’m slammed with calls from my property management companies attempting to get my company to get their services performed for their second/third homeowners so that everything is perfect when they arrive from their primary residences throughout the country. Further, I am slammed with direct calls from many clients from throughout the country, and abroad, who call us directly to schedule services at their “vacation home” for the holidays. Yes, these people pay me, and pay me well for the services we provide, and I bust my butt to ensure we get to everyone of them (so I, in turn, can get paid, have Christmas money, and take a winter vacation to the Carribean in about two months!) But do all these people realize that those, like me, also have holiday plans?
On Sunday, December 3rd, I dug the crates of white C-9 lights down from the attic and began stringing them out, replacing broken bulbs, etc. Of course, I had to wait until the Cowboys game was over before I could really dive into this fourth or fifth honeydoo project of the weekend. Ultimately, I was only able to get the lights strung (in a very tightly stapled straight line… thats adhering to my wife’s strict instructions)… across the garage. My precious almost eight year old daughter was very disappointed that I didnt’ have more done. I assured her that, even though I had a very busy work week coming up, I’d make time to have the entire house lit up by mid-week.
Wednesday, December 6th… I arrange my schedule so that my helpers cover our jobs, and I take the afternoon off to complete the Christmas lighting project at our home! What a day this would turn out to be!
I utilized the extension ladders and laid every Christmas light out along the front of our home, on 12 inch increments, with the lights standing straight upwards (talk to my wife… thats her thing!)… and I was making great progress up and over the gabled roof above the garage, around the front porch, up the next gabled roof, down along the front, around the edge, and up a very steep gabled roof towards the backyard.
I’m like anally masterful at plotting and planning, in fact towards perhaps everything I do. So, yes, I had a plan, a plan to get this entire freaking upper middle class mansion completely lit up! The plan worked well, as planned, for most of the afternoon. Then the sun set over the west ridge. Then things turned travestial.
The snowstorm we had the few days prior left at least six inches of snow on most of my roof. My home faces directly south, facing Mt. Sopris, and the snow around my home melts accordingly. On the eastern edge of my home, both front and back, I had a good 6-8 inches of snow built up on the roof. My roof is steep, and I can only access about 80% of it by extension ladder. The remainder requires me to be on the roof to perform any work. Okay, let me drop a foreshadowing, yet confirmed thought here… I’ve owned this home for over 5 years now, and yes, I’ve been on the roof many numerous times!
This day, I, being me, stubborn, ignorant, one-tracked, “I’ll get it done, because I GET THINGS DONE, DAMMIT!, THATS WHAT I DO!”, … well, I have only one thing on my mind. I’m gettin’ the dang’d house lit up, a promise I made to my daughter!
So, I crawl up on the roof, broom and shovel in hand, and I proceed to remove the snow along the eastern and southern sides of the home. I swept, I scraped, etc. I, studded snow boots on, walked up and down those areas numerous times, hanging lights, going back to ground zero and getting replacement bulbs, trancing back up our middle class mansion roof, … changing bulbs, stringing lights, etc.
Then it happened.
It was after four o’clock in the afternoon, by this time. Yes, it was getting cold very quickly, and yes, I was 90% completed with this major Christmas light project for my daughter!
The following is a bit fuzzy, much like a number of experiences I’ve had that are classified and, yes, are still fuzzy, (but I wish I could tell you about!)….
I went back down the roof to get some more C-9 lights, across the same area I had spent the last hour or so. As I got towards the front porch area, both feet gave way…. all I can recollect is grabbing the gutter, which pulled away from the home, and the next thing I remember is seeing the ground rapidly approaching me.
I fell 20 plus feet, landed on the four by four flower bed divider, spent probably 30 seconds trying to get my breath, as the impact had knocked the breath out of me. Then I remember seeing stars wandering around aimlessely for a bit until I met the electrician guys who where there to make my Christmas lighting event easier and more efficient and productive, for less money.
Then my wife and daughter pull up in the driveway. I was completely spaced. Was this concusssion number seven? Not sure, but I refused to go to the hospital.
Within three hours, I could not move.
At one o’clock in the morning, I got up to pee,. and the fiasco took an hour. I began to realize that I was seriously injured. At four o’clock in the morning, I had go to the bathroom again,…. this time, I chugged the glass of ice water on my nightstand, only to spend the next half hour trying to pee in the glass, so I woudn’t have to get out of bed.
At 5 a.m. in the morning, I had decided I would make it upstairs, leave a note to my family, and head to the emergency room. I couldn’t move without screaming.
From 5 a.m. until 6:30 a.m., I tried valiently to just get out of bed. An your an half later, I gave up. An hour later, my wife came downstairs and informed me she was taking me to the doctor. It took an hour to get out of bed. And it took another 2/3 day at doctor’s office, with 20+ ex-rays, etc.
Good news is,…. no broken bones. The doc said I was obviously in very good shape and very healthy, bone wise, to survive a fall of 20+ feet and have no broken bones.
I am now walking without a cane, and I am sleeping comfortably downstairs in my lazy boy chair in front of the big screen. (I can’t sleep in a bed yet!)
I Spent three solid days packed in ice on the entire left side of my body. Six days later, and I can walk now, and am working somehow on a very large stone restoration job. My left hip, my entire left buttocks, my entire left torso, my upper back and my lower back are well, black.
I have to have one of my helpers actually help me into and out of our service trucks. My point here is this: we are performing a job at a home that Cher owned until just recently. Have I met her? Yes. Does she know what we are doing at her home now? No. If I took off my shirt, with help, or dropped my pants and showed her the black and state I was in, would she think, ” wow!, this guy is hurt… and yet he still comes to my place and busts his ass… wow!”
My point being is this: there are many of us in this valley who do very well. Why? How? Because we bust our asses. Thomas Edison once said.. “Success is often unknown and unrecognized by many because it is dressed in over’alls and looks like work.”
Black and blue and busted up or not, I truly believe what my Dad always told me…. ”you want to be something in this life, you gotta work!”
B. Jon Traylor