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Old 12-10-2015, 09:42 PM   #1
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So I've been stuck in exterior land for the last month or so. Normally I can handle a 28footer fully extended without a problem but I don't like to go any higher than that.

Well on the first day of the first exterior I had to do I slipped coming down a 24. I didn't fall or drop my paint, just simply missed a rung, No biggie.

Next day I'm scared. Got up on a second story roof and thought I'd never get back down. I was completely paralyzed with fear of getting over that roof edge back in to the ladder. Took me a long time to muster up the courage. Since then the thought of even a fully extended 24 has me shaking in my boots.

We'll I've been trudging along pushing through. Today I went up a fully extended 28 for get a vent I could still just barely reach. The whole time I was white knuckling it and moving like a frightened turtle.

Here's my question. Has anyone ever had this happen to them and have you been able to overcome it somehow?
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Old 12-10-2015, 10:01 PM   #2
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Well, FWIW, the guy I used to work for moved me on a fully extended 32 to "help" me overcome my discomfort on tall ladders.
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Old 12-10-2015, 10:01 PM   #3
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I had a 40' lose it's ground last summer. Decided I'm done with them, never was exactly comfortable on them in the first place.

28' is as far as I go and I don't even like that height. Do what you're comfortable with.
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Old 12-10-2015, 10:07 PM   #4
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I've never had that experience. But if I did, I would consider putting down the brush and starting up a macrame business. Maybe hanging plant holders, belts, and maybe painter sweaters.

J/K

I usually sing Christamas songs when I'm scared.
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Old 12-10-2015, 10:11 PM   #5
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When the dog bites, when the painter falls, when I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things.....
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Old 12-10-2015, 10:23 PM   #6
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I have that fear. I hate heights especially on ladders. I can do it in a lift.

But that's one more reason to grow the business enough to not have to personally do that.
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Old 12-10-2015, 10:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rbriggs82 View Post
So I've been stuck in exterior land for the last month or so. Normally I can handle a 28footer fully extended without a problem but I don't like to go any higher than that.

Well on the first day of the first exterior I had to do I slipped coming down a 24. I didn't fall or drop my paint, just simply missed a rung, No biggie.

Next day I'm scared. Got up on a second story roof and thought I'd never get back down. I was completely paralyzed with fear of getting over that roof edge back in to the ladder. Took me a long time to muster up the courage. Since then the thought of even a fully extended 24 has me shaking in my boots.

We'll I've been trudging along pushing through. Today I went up a fully extended 28 for get a vent I could still just barely reach. The whole time I was white knuckling it and moving like a frightened turtle.

Here's my question. Has anyone ever had this happen to them and have you been able to overcome it somehow?

I had that kind of fear 2 times...once when I fell off a ladder and broke my coccyx, (tailbone), and the 2nd time was after my daughter was born, to be perfectly honest. Although I was always concerned about my wife in the event something were to happen to me at work, having a child just pushed the anxiety to the next level.

About the only thing I could do was to slow down a little at first to take a few more safety precautions and double-check my ladder sets, fall protection, etc., and reassure myself that I know I can do it safely.

But the one thing I've learned over the years is that everybody deals with fear differently. What works for some does not work for others, so it's a tough question to get any useful feedback. Some get right back on the horse, some put down the saddle altogether, and some work their way back to where they were. Hopefully you figure out what works best for you, because working in fear is a dangerous way to make a living. Good luck.
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Old 12-10-2015, 11:08 PM   #8
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I was helping paint an exterior last Fri with my buddy--spent hours on the top of a 28 (not a level spot on the entire property). He can't say "no" to any job or price it high enough for my taste. I'd rather not do those anymore. Hire somebody or price them "right".

On the other hand, never had one second of apprehension in 25 years climbing fire department ladders, etc. with 60 lbs of gear on my 175 lbs frame.


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Old 12-10-2015, 11:22 PM   #9
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Courage is being scared to death but saddeling up anyway. John Wayne
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Old 12-10-2015, 11:25 PM   #10
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If you ever had a bout with vertigo, the apprehension doubles because it can hit you unexpectantly. For some funny reason, heights don't bother me as much inside. 95% is on a 6', and that suits me fine.
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Old 12-10-2015, 11:28 PM   #11
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Maybe you should try a ladder stabilizer and a Green bull ladder with adjustable legs. Which are lighter and less likely to twist like Werners. This combo is great when the ground is un level. Last summer I also bought the attachment that allows you to place your ladder inside gutters. Definitely worth the money.
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Old 12-10-2015, 11:33 PM   #12
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Ryan,

1st: since a kid I've always loved heights. Climbed trees, walked jagged mountain peaks, no problem on 40 footers, often thought of climbing a radio tower just to see the sights. And I've said before, often have a dream of falling backward on a ladder, which has served the purpose of keeping a good since of fear and caution in the front of my brain.

2nd: Many decades ago I was on a crew that was painting, cleaning, and regilding the inside of a historic Boston playhouse/theater. Two pipe staging towers each 60 feet tall over the seats and orchestra pit. Nothing but a painful death if one fell. One of the first days on my way up I froze. Could not go up or down. Parallelized by FEAR. Totally strange to me.

As I stood there trying to breathe deep and hold on, I saw the damn staging monkeys setting up the other tower. Literally swinging by one hand to get from point A to point B. I realized if they can do it, so can I.

I just said "screw this, I can do it", and did.

It really is mind over matter. Of course this was when I was in my early 30's and still athletic enough to be physically capable.

I believe it's a matter of confidence. If you have it, you can do it. If you don't have it, best not to try it.



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Old 12-10-2015, 11:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stelzerpaintinginc. View Post
I had that kind of fear 2 times...once when I fell off a ladder and broke my coccyx, (tailbone), and the 2nd time was after my daughter was born, to be perfectly honest. Although I was always concerned about my wife in the event something were to happen to me at work, having a child just pushed the anxiety to the next level.
.
You are taking me back. I was really shocked at how profoundly my perspective changed after my first was born. So many activities--getting behind the wheel of a car, climbing a ladder, DIY electrical work, etc.--that I had reflexively done for decades all of a sudden became major events that I had to stop and think about.

On whole, my newfound appreciation for safety was a change for the better. I finally understood what people were talking about when they said "Life is precious."
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Old 12-11-2015, 12:01 AM   #14
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I can relate. I had a fall this summer which I documented in the "Fell off a ladder" thread. My confidence was shaky for a while, but I've done quite a few ladder jobs out of necessity since then. You'll be fine. Rely on your experience and double check your rig.
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Old 12-11-2015, 12:43 AM   #15
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I climbed up a 32 at a super steep pitch. Got stuck on a window sill and thought I was gonna die there I was so scared....there have been a few other really sketchy set ups that I'd rather not remember as well...this is not an easy business to be in. One wrong move and it could change the course of our lives and the lives of our loved ones. 2 things to remember: that's why we get paid pretty well!! Nobody wants to do what we do and risk what we risk. The other thing is that those are healthy fears that should make us work safely. Not arrogantly. I always tell my guys if the aren't comfortable GET DOWN IMMEDIATELY. When you're scared to death, that is what you focus on and that's when people get hurt.

Personally, i find one line of thinking helpful at times if I need motivation. That thought is "if there was a $100 bill at the top i'd dang sure go get it". I also focus my attention on what's at the top (cuz that's where the work is) not the bottom. I also think of the 21 years I've been doing this crap...most is normal stuff that I have built a healthy confidence from. I try not to let "that 1 day" taint my courage. It's not easy, and the older I get, the less risks I take. I'll hire some young ,zealous buck to go do the stupid stuff if it's some rediculious situation... (hint 40' in the deep end of the pool to reach the top of the house at a very steep pitch...lol). Just go with your gut. If you believe it isn't safe, then for you it isnt. There's no shame in the game and there's way too much easy work out there to risk killing yourself on something that doesn't feel right just to prove ya can. Good luck dude. I'm sure many, If not all, of us have had those thoughts and feelings before.

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Old 12-11-2015, 06:54 AM   #16
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The Boston job we are on one section makes me nervous. 40 & 32' ladders on this section, under us is a patio to our left is the garage door for underground parking. That extra 12' below to the left makes me for some reason pucker up, looking to the right no problem at all, look left arse puckers.

Carly will only go up the 24' unless I go step by step then she can climb the 32.

Last week we had a guy freeze on the 40. I had to run and grab the 32' from out back and set it up next to him, I went up and talk him down one rung at a time.

Overall height scare the crap out of me. I suck it up because I took the damn high job now I have no choice but to get over my fears and climb.

Next year I plan on climbing no exterior ladders. I'm getting worn out.
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Old 12-11-2015, 07:04 AM   #17
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Thanks for all the shared experiences and kind words guys and gals.

Since I've never been all too crazy about heights to begin with I've never been one to chances. Kinda like batman I like to rely on gadgets to assist in more difficult spots. Like the roof stepper system I have. That setup is awesome and we'll worth the price. Luckily around the ground is so flat finding good footing is a dream. When I lived in the Poconos adjustable feet and ladder stabilizers were my best friends.

The mind is a funny thing, like Bill pointed out its all just mind over matter. Thank God my ex green beret/native American brother in law has been able to help me out these last couple weeks to tackle some of the really high stuff which in my current mental state there's no way I'd be able to do safety. That dude is almost the exact opposite of me. Zero fear what so ever. Which is imo a double edged sword. I keep catching him taking unnecessary risks which I chastise him for.

Hopefully I get back into the swing of things soon. I have two more days left outside then I'm done for a couple months. Removing popcorn and stripping wallpaper never looked so appealing.

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Old 12-11-2015, 07:28 AM   #18
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Been there, done that. Just give yourself some time to recuperate.

I was at the top of a 40 when the wind caught it and sent it sideways. Took out the 32 next to it, and my helper barely got off the 24 in time before it got hit. Rode that sucker all the way until the last 5' when I pushed away and off.

Caught my breath and really didn't want to go back up but by the look on my helpers face, there was no way he was going to. Set the ladders back up and finished the job....with a going pucker factor of about 8. Lol

When I started wearing readers and bifocals, I missed more than my share of rungs. There were times I'd even miss a step on the stairs.
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Old 12-11-2015, 07:30 AM   #19
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And, removing popcorn and wall paper [B]never[B] looks appealing.
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Old 12-11-2015, 08:51 AM   #20
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Is it about time to repost these classics?






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