I’ve always been overly optimistic. This optimism manifests itself in a number of ways.
It may be that I always believe we might have a mutual friend. You can drop the vaguest connection to a place that I know – “My Aunt Sally’s third cousin grew up in New York” – and I will instantly believe I might know that person. “What part of New York?! I grew up in Queens!” will more than likely be my response.
It may be that you look at a glass as half-empty and I look at it as a glass that isn’t reaching its full potential. (I’m an optimist and also a father with unrealistic expectations for my children.)
Or it may be that I am always looking on the bright side of a bad situation.
Now, this has not been any easy time to do this in the Boston area. Usually this time of year is full of hope and optimism – pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training usually helps it feel like spring is right around the corner. But this year it may be May before we see anything green. It’s harder to dig up an optimistic thought than it is to dig your car out from under the fourth blizzard.
And I’ll admit…even I’ve been struggling with the optimistic thoughts.
But that was before I went up onto my roof.
I had been putting off going up there to shovel off snow because a) I don’t like heights, b) I didn’t quite know what I was supposed to do when I got up there and I don’t like having my neighbors looking at me when they know and I know that I don’t know what I’m doing, and c) I’m still not crazy about heights. But when rain was in the forecast and there were feet of snow on the roof my confident reassurances to my wife that the roof wasn’t going to collapse were becoming less confident and falling upon deafer ears than usual.
I had been climbing on snow banks on my deck to reach parts of the roof with the roof rake and had formed a plan – if the time came where I had to go up on the roof I would just pull myself up from one of the snow banks. It turns out, this is not possible. At least from the height of the snow bank that I sank into as I tried to launch myself onto the roof.
So I moved to plan B – I tried putting a stepladder on top of a snow bank and launching myself onto the roof from the stepladder. I know what you’re thinking – “That doesn’t sound like it would work.” You are correct. I broke the wooden stepladder and ended up on my back in the snow. So I moved to plan C, which I knew in my heart I should have done from the beginning – take out the big ladder from the garage and bring it around to the back of the house. I thought this would be a tremendous inconvenience. (It literally took me a minute.)
I don’t know quite how to describe to you how it felt to be up on the roof. The easy parallels would be to tell you it was as joyful as my wedding day, or when my kids were born. But that wouldn’t be accurate. I liked this more.
It’s so peaceful up there! There are no children! My wife can’t see me – she has no idea what I’m doing!
I shoveled snow off the roof. I broke up ice. I felt like a man! (I think. I don’t really do manly stuff. But this is probably what that feels like!)
I took a break. I sat down and tweeted. I stopped to take a picture of myself on the roof. (Or, as one might say, I “slipped myself a roofie.”)
It had to be about 10 degrees when I was up there that morning, but it didn’t feel like it to me. Maybe it’s because I was that much closer to the sun. Maybe it’s because I wore double gloves. (This was a genius move.) But I was out there for a couple of hours when I didn’t think I’d last 15 minutes in the cold.
At first I only shoveled the parts of the roof close to the deck, so if I fell it would be a short fall. But the longer I was up there the more confident I felt about my footing. I shoveled right to the edge of the highest part of the roof. I was this close to doing somersaults up there before I decided to call it a day.
I’ve lived in this house for about ten years. I’ve never once before thought, “I guess I should go up on the roof.” Mostly this thought was due to the fact that I didn’t want to fall off the roof and become a cautionary tale about “guys who tried to do house stuff they have no business doing”. But now I can’t wait to go back up. I can’t wait until the spring to see what the roof is like in the nice weather.
And I’d never have had this experience if it wasn’t for all the snow we’ve had this winter.
I’ll be honest. I didn’t quite finish the job. My wife thought I should have shoveled everything off, but I left a whole section of the roof covered in snow. I think she was disappointed in me.
But for me – it was all part of my plan. Because that just meant I got to go back up there again the next day.