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Fri, Oct 31, 2014

VINSON: Touching the ‘unknown’: A nail-biting story

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This story actually begins sometime around late January, 2014.

Due to a number of high-wind storms, a couple of shingles had been “dislodged” on the front portion of the roof on my house. Mind you, these shingles had not blown off and were still on the roof. However, they were positioned at odd angles (lying sideways, curled up), thus virtually ineffective in regards to protecting my roof.

I knew I needed to get up on my roof and fix the shingles, because if left unattended for too long a period, both my roof and house could suffer water damage. However, I had a small problem: For several days running — after the shingles became dislodged — the temperature was frigidly cold, like down in the low 20s and low teens.

For those who know anything about roofing, asphalt shingles (which I have on my roof) become extremely brittle during cold weather. It needs to be in the 50-60 degree range to handle asphalt shingles without running the risk of breaking them.

Therefore, I waited a few days, closely monitored the seven-day weather forecasts, and finally got a break. On Feb. 1, 2014, it was supposed to be 59-60 degrees, warm enough to do my roof repair.

Prepping for this roof repair, I borrowed some roofing nails from a friend. From a large container, I took about 25-30 roofing nails, more than enough for the repair, placed them inside a plastic grocery bag and placed the bag in the trunk portion of my Ford Escort hatchback station wagon.

Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, the temperature, indeed, was around 60 degrees. In a Walmart tote bag, I placed a hammer, and, from the plastic bag of nails in the trunk of my station wagon, I took about half the borrowed roofing nails and placed them inside the tote bag. This left the remaining half inside the plastic grocery bag. I climbed up on the roof and made the necessary repairs.

Now, here’s where this story takes a bizarre turn.

A few days after making the roof repairs, I took yet another friend grocery shopping at a well-known grocery store outlet located here in McMinnville. Without dropping names, I’ll refer to this friend as “Mr. X,” and, let’s just say this particular grocery outlet has been around for more than a century and can be found in just about any town in the United States.
Mr. X did his shopping, and I helped him load about 10 bags ­­-- some small, some heavy -- inside the trunk of my hatchback wagon. I also helped him download the bags of groceries at his residence, then bade him good-bye.
It was about 10 days later, and I was over at Mr. X’s residence watching TV. He appeared to be in deep thought and kept shaking his head. “What’s up?” I asked.

He responded along the lines of: “Heck, I was putting up my groceries after you’d taken me shopping, reached inside a bag, and went ‘ouch!’ I reached inside the bag again, and same thing. Something pricked my finger. I looked inside the bag, and it had nails in it!”

He went on to say: “You know, you hear about these nuts placing pins and blades inside apples, and painting rocks and mixing ’em in with candy, and giving it to trick-or-treaters on Halloween. But for the life of me, I can’t believe a high-class grocery store like _ _ _ _ _ _ would hire someone who’d stoop to mixing in nails with customers’ groceries. Damn!”

Barely able to control myself, I told him what actually had gone down. When we had downloaded the groceries and carried the bags inside his residence that day, one of us had mistakenly picked up the plastic grocery bag containing the remaining roofing nails.

Mr. X then smiled and just shook his head.

Even now, when I think about this story, so innocent yet so unusual, I nearly have to bite my “nails” to keep from laughing. Pun intended!

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