When we say we’re living on the edge, we actually are speaking in very figurative terms, aren’t we?

I never knew how far from the edge we really live until I watched a roof being put on my house.

The “edge,” to us, is a boundary. The line we won’t cross. The breakdown we come close to having but don’t quite have. I said “quite,” didn’t I? Infer what you will. The edge is what we approach with caution and then retreat with the good sense the Lord gave us.

Not to a roofer. The edge is, quite simply, the edge. Of a house. Someone else’s house. Someone else with good homeowners’ liability coverage.

What, you say? You’ve seen roofers before? You’ve seen them balance precariously on the outer edges of houses, nailing shingles with incredible speed and accuracy?

Well, was yours ASLEEP????

I thought not. Now listen.

Let’s rewind to the beginning. Back to the very beginning. Back when we tried for weeks to get someone to give us an estimate. “Too busy,” everyone said. “I don’t even know when I can call you back to tell you when I can call you back.” See, this hurricane business suddenly made roofers a hot commodity. They have so much work that they can look down their little roofer noses and tell me that they just don’t have time for me.

Hmph. Remember the days when you were begging for work? Remember pulling into driveways and offering to give an estimate on a roof replacement when the homeowner had not even called? You don’t? Oh. Sorry. My mistake.

So we get our estimate, and the guy says they can start on a certain date, dependent, of course, on the Louisiana weather (and all that that entails). So of course the forecast calls for “spotty showers throughout most of your workweek” and crap like that. Finally, we settle on a morning for them to start. It’s sunny, breezy, not a cloud in the sky. They agree to begin with the detached workshop. Ya’ll, when I tell you it was not five minutes later I mean it — it started raining. But not everywhere. Only over the workshop. Like a funny little Ziggy cartoon with the dark cloud and rain over the poor guy and the sun beaming everywhere else. Like a funny Ziggy cartoon without the funny, that is.

I should have known.

I left poor hubby at home and went to work. Because that’s why we marry guys. He called me from time to time with stories. Stories like the roofers engaging him in conversation about girlfriends finding out about wives and wives finding out about girlfriends and stabbings and such. And he just nodded his head in agreement because, well, he knew. Right.

By Saturday (it was taking a longer time because the supervisor was working with a smaller crew) I got to watch (and hear) the goings on. It was a beautiful day, so I opened windows to let the spring breeze in. I had noticed that the supervisor didn’t have a water cooler on the truck, so I left water bottles and bags of chips out there for them and went about my business. There was a lot of chatter going on, but I didn’t pay much attention. Then I realized that some of the chatter was actually one of the roofers rapping. Yes, rapping. About us. About “the man that wanted the architeck shangles and he hooked him up and then the man gave him water and chips up on the roof and hooked a brother up and. . . .” Yeah.

Roofer Rap.

About midday Saturday, I started hearing everyone holler “Charles!” every few minutes or so. Again, I didn’t pay much attention at first. But then, from time to time, I’d hear hubby do it too. Then I heard hubby yell it REALLY loud, followed by, “get down here NOW!” I looked outside to see him handing Charles a Coke. “Aw, how sweet,” I thought. “Giving him a break.” The door opened and in walked hubby — pale and frightened.

“What’s the matter?”

“Oh, nothing, just checking to see if our homeowners’ insurance is up to date.”
“Why, did someone get hurt?”
“No, uh, not yet.”
“Well, what’s going on?”
“Charles keeps falling asleep.”
“Under a tree or something?”
“No. On the edge of the roof.”
“No way.”
“Yes way. Oh. And he’s standing up.”

Seems that our Charles has a bit of a partying problem. Each evening, after the tools are loaded back onto the truck, Eric, the supervisor, drives Charles home. He feeds him. Gets him into his house, and makes sure he is going to bed. Charles is tired. Dead tired. He’s drifting off. . .sleepy. . . getting slee. . . BOING! Charles is up. Charles gets dressed. Charles goes out. And Charles parties till the wee morning hours. When Eric gets there to pick him up, Charles hasn’t slept yet. And then he climbs back onto my roof.

Picture this. The edge of my roof. Here’s Charles, on tiptoes, his back facing the outer edge. Heels suspended over air as he stoops to shoot nails into the shingles. Sleepy, sooo sleepy . . . slee . . .Zzzzz. . .

“Get down here!”
“Charles! You’re falling asleep on the edge of the house. Holding a nail gun. Get down here NOW!”
“I’m okay.”
“No you’re not!”

He is literally sleeping while standing while nailing while balancing on the edge of my house.

And me? I. Am. On. The. Edge.