A recent post on a blog site brought to mind a near catastrophe.  I bought an old 1850’s post and beam in terrible shape, and was working with my electrician one day in the attic.  The house was constantly in some phase of construction and today was no different.  There was no floor in most of the attic, except some boards that had been put down in a few places so you could walk through the attic from one end to the other.  The attic was full of the old rock wool insulation.  The electrician went downstairs to get some supplies out of his truck, and as he passed underneath the area where we were working, I slipped off the boards and fell through the ceiling. I probably looked something like the photo at right.  Obviously I wasn’t paying enough attention to what I was doing.

As luck would have it, my foot caught the refrigerator, knocking the door open, and filling it with rock wool. It turned out that I was straddling the ceiling joist, so I didn’t fall all the way through, but hung there, sort of in shock at what had happened.  I just missed kicking the electrician, and he rushed upstairs to help.  Adrenaline kicked in, and he plucked me out of the floor as if I weighed nothing.  (Well he was strong anyway, and I was thin, but still).  I was laughing, but he thought I was crying.  Within a few minutes, when he realized I was not hurt, we were both laughing, until I went down to the kitchen.

Rock wool was everywhere!  And I mean everywhere. My kitchen was 14 X 25′ and the rock wool didn’t stay contained in one area.  It permeated every cabinet and covered every shelf  I spent the rest of the day cleaning the kitchen, and he spent the rest of the day not falling through the hole I had created.  He was smarter than I was.

The next time I went to the attic you can be sure I was very careful where I put my feet. Determined not to let that happen again, I crept around the danger zone and made sure I walked only on the boards.  I pulled out the box I needed and carrying it through the attic, I…

DID IT AGAIN!  I fell through in exactly the same place. The only good news this time was that I missed the refrigerator.  And I had to get myself out of the mess, because there was no one else home.  And once again, I spent the whole day cleaning the kitchen.

Would you think I would learn and put some plywood down on the attic floor? Oh, no, I wasn’t that smart.  For some reason that seemed to make sense at the time, I decided the rock wool was the culprit, and I replaced it with fiberglas batts.  Another bad decision.  Darn that rock wool that just jumps up and makes me fall through the ceiling.

I’d like to think I’m smarter now, but who knows?  What I don’t have anymore is an 1850’s post and beam money pit that needs constant work.  Enough was enough, even for me.