Ferne pointed to the top of the house, and said, “What is that?  It’s ugly.”

“It’s the old TV antenna.”

“We have cable, have had for a dozen years.”

…Okay, I get the hint.


I remember I was 34 when I mounted it in 1979.  That means the TV mast has been up there, in the New England elements, for 40 plus years.

I’m not 34 anymore, but I propped the extension ladder on the chimney, put a Crescent in my back pocket, and gingerly climbed up.

I took a look.  What used to be bolt threads are encrusted with red rot.  I’ll need some WD-40… and a hammer would be more useful than this wrench.

I retrieved the penetrating oil, then, with Ferne holding the ladder, climbed back up.

At 40 feet, one arm around the chimney, both shoes on the 2nd rung from the top of the ladder, I tried to unfasten the VHF antenna.

No go!  More WD-40?

Waiting for the penetrant to work, looking around.  Damn, the sun’s hot up here.

The neighbors have a pool?

One of those 4′ plastic temporary kind.  Couldn’t see it from the ground, trees and all.

Tried the bolt again.  Nope.  Everything is now slippery, even the wrench.

Once more…

Okay, okay… it’s turning.

Turn, turn, snap …oops, sheared off the stud.

Well, that makes only 3 more to go.

But which?  I‘ll still have to support the TV antenna… until the last stud.  And I ain’t going to try to carry it down the ladder.

Besides, it’s VHF-UHF… no need to save this beast.  Cell phones use those frequencies now.

Told Ferne, “Back away from the ladder a bit.”

Okay, working, working, working #2.  Snap.  #2 gone.  Progress.

Working #3… wrench slipped, and a knuckle smacked the sheared stud.

Oh, that smarts.  Blood…

Just suck on it a bit.  Humm, blood and WD-40, interesting flavor.

Okay,  one more stud to go.

Only this one’s more intact, shielded by a plastic hood.  Still rusted, though… no, it doesn’t turn either.

I busted off a piece of the antenna to get a longer arm on the wrench.

There goes… sheered… tipping, tipping.

Clunk, as it went over a yagi element speared my shoulder. “Ouch!”

Shrugged it off, guided it away and the whole antenna fell.

Until the lead wire snapped halfway to the ground… whipped back and caught me on the cheek.

Flogged by RG-58, damn, that hurts.

Legs wobbled, …hang on to the ladder, don’t let go.

Looked down, no, I don’t like heights.  Ferne was smiling up at me.

Well it’s done.  “Done,” I said.

Ferne said, “Next… ”