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The instrument of my near destruction transformed into something constructive.

By Curt_Anderson
April 7, 2022 11:32 pm
Category: How-to
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Some of you may recall that 16 months ago my fall off an extension ladder put me into the hospital for a few days. My back was destroyed, in particular my fourth lumbar was fractured.

I have since recovered. However the extension ladder was broken. One of the twelve foot extensions snapped in half.

After nearly 20 years the plywood sides of my old trailer, which we mostly use to haul yard debris to the local recycling station, had seen better days. My trailer is on one of those ubiquitous red frames on which a person can attach any sort of box or platform depending on their needs.

I realized that my old ladder could be put to good use refurbishing my trailer. As I cut the ladder into pieces my thoughts were you tried to destroy me, now I destroy you! There is a certain poetic justice to the ladder being transformed to good use.

As you can see in the photos, the old ladder forms the sides of my trailer. The ladder in its new form has good structural integrity. PVC pipes form a frame to hold the perforated black plastic which contains the load. Most of the material from the floor of the trailer on up were items I had in my shed or in my yard. That includes the recycled wood, the black plastic was previously used for composting, various hooks and some old PVC pipes. They only items I had to buy new were some bolts, some brackets and twelve feet of PVC pipe.

The PVC pipe frame and black plastic slips out of the rungs easily if we need to haul bikes or something like a piece of furniture. Bungee cords attached to the numerous hooks secure the load.

As one of friends put it, "Curt, you managed by pound your sword into a ploughshare".


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  1. by Donna on April 8, 2022 12:14 am
    Was your fall caused by the extension snapping in half?

  2. by islander on April 8, 2022 9:01 am

    I really like that, Curt ! It's given me a couple of ideas that I might be able to use to make the flat bed trailer that I tow behind the garden tractor more useful!

  3. by HatetheSwamp on April 8, 2022 10:31 am

    Very resourceful!

  4. by Curt_Anderson on April 8, 2022 1:03 pm
    No, Donna. I can't blame the ladder; it's on me.

    I was removing a ceiling fan which had a disconcerting wobble from the rental cottage we have in our back yard. The fan was near the highest point of the approximately 20 foot high vaulted ceiling. I had the top of the ladder propped up against a ridge on the ceiling. I didn't sufficiently brace the bottom of the ladder so the feet slipped causing the top of ladder to slip off the ridge. I didn't go down with the ladder, somehow I sensed the ladder falling and I took a wild leap backwards as the ladder fell forward. The ladder hit a staircase bannister which is how it cracked in two places.

    I did a three point landing which besides the lumbar fracture resulted in a dislocated finger. I then fell into a stunned heap. Later, the doctor popped my claw-like hand back into place that night at the hospital.

    Incidentally, I was naturally reluctant to replace the ceiling fan which besides the installation is a bear to balance, maintain, adjust, clean, etc. A fan is necessary as the heat collects at the apex of the cottage ceiling. We replaced the old fan with two large, remote controlled, wall-mounted, adjustable oscillating fans. The new fans are much more efficient in moving the air to keep the place comfortable.

    Hts, Islander,
    Thanks guys. Besides saving money on my projects, it bothers me to be wasteful. It's amazing how often we reuse old building materials. We still have that infamous ceiling fan in a box in the shed. My wife has designs to repurpose it into a wind-driven lawn ornament.

  5. by Donna on April 9, 2022 11:56 am
    That's why I'm so afraid of heights.

    Your "claw-like hand" reminded me of a scene from the 1953 film "The Greatest Show On Earth" that Sheri and I watched last weekend. In one scene, an acrobat who was one of the main characters fell from a high wire and injured his right arm so badly it left him with a claw-like hand.

    How are you feeling now?

  6. by Donna on April 9, 2022 12:03 pm
    Pic from that scene.

  7. by Curt_Anderson on April 10, 2022 8:08 pm
    I am doing much better than I have any right to expect. No pain or stiffness, at least not more than any other 69 year old. I am still running, hiking, bike riding, working in the yard, lifting, exercising, etc. The only concession that I make, rather unconsciously, is that I guard my back. I can bend down, but I tend to avoid it. When I load or unload the dishwasher for example, I spread my legs so I am lower and closer to bottom rack.

    On a somber note, one of my running buddies injured himself on his electric three-wheel scooter (the kind you stand on). He's been in an induced coma for week with a traumatic brain injury for the past week. He is a psychiatrist, 59 or 60 years old.

    My wife remarked that my fall from the ladder could have easily put me in a similar situation.

  8. by Donna on April 11, 2022 6:37 am
    I'm sorry about your psychiatrist friend. Sounds serious. I hope he pulls through.

    You're smart to guard your back, being that you fractured it. I'm glad to hear that you've recovered so well. Sheri has a compressed disc which gives her all kinds of problems.

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