The real danger of home improvement … is your friends.
As I really do not desire to go through another winter waking to an ambient temperature of 42 degrees Fahrenheit (not joking) in the warmest place in my house, I am doing what I can before the Supercomputing trade show and the onset of winter to bring my insulation-less house back up to and then beyond its prior state. But installing fiberglass insulation is likely one of the worst jobs on the planet, even when wearing three layers, a respirator, and sleeves duct taped to gloves. And so I asked my good friend Sean to assist.

Last weekend we were installing batting beneath the new roof completed a year ago this October. We stopped to reload our mechanical staple guns every two or three rows. To make certain the gun again functioned prior to returning to the uncomfortable position created by the roof line meeting the ceiling of the room beneath, we sometimes held a good ol’ western shootout, right there in my attic.

Standing back-to-back, we counted off three paces, spun (careful not to lose balance and fall through the ceiling into my living room), and fired. Completely harmless, for at ten feet the staples would bounce from a balloon without damage.

But when Sean was lying on his side, struggling to force the batting to catch the last few inches of the rafter before it met the joist, I could not help but notice that his shirt had come un-tucked. At a distance of two feet I fired off three or four staples onto his back.

“Hey! Cut that out!” A few obscenities flew in good humor of the moment, Sean concluding with a “Just you wait!”

A few minutes later I had let down my defenses, again focused on measurements for the next run. He jumped behind me, pulled up two of my three shirts just as I turned to see the staple gun a few inches from my back and BANG!

“OUCH! Man! Are you crazy?#! That really hurt!” I spun circles like a dog chasing its tail trying to see where he had got me.

Sean responded, “You big pansy! You shot me three times! That was just one!”

I was still trying to reach the spot with my gloved hand for the pain had not subsided, “No. Seriously. That was way too close. That was –” And then I felt the staple in my back, “Oh! What the –” (now laughing) “It’s still in me! You shot me in the back and it STUCK!”

“What? No way. You’re bullshitting me. I wasn’t that –Oh man! You have a staple in your back!” Simultaneously horrified and laughing so hard he could hardly see straight, “Hold still. I’ll get it out.”

The staple removed, my shirt once again detached from my body, the sting quickly reduced to tingling. Still laughing, I reloaded my staple gun, shot Sean a few times for good measure, and continued into dusk, headlamps aiding us until we could no longer tollerate the fiberglass penetrating our clothes.

While this supposed one day job will drag into three half weekends, the interior of my nearly hundred year old roof neither simple nor regular in any respect, there is a sense of accomplishment in doing things with my own hands … and the enjoyment of working with a good friend.