So what was stopping me from successfully putting up the plywood to brace up our roof? (And I should here explain that the plywood is being put up on the inside of the roof, underneath the main boards, rather than the outside. I was in no risk of falling, apart from down the stairs, although this isn't to say that I was under no physical risk, about which more anon.) Well, our house has no less than two layers of shingles. The house inspector, apparently, wasn't sure just how many layers we had, but it's multiple. The consequence of this fact is that the second and possibly higher-order layers get driven in using extremely long nails, ones that go all the way through the boards making the roof and poking out past them.
The nails made putting the tarpaper in place much easier, since, well, nails; but they spoiled the plywood. I needed to get plywood up as flush to the slats as possible; quarter-inch jabs of nails stuck out past them presented a problem. I had thought I might be able to hammer the plywood through the nails, but experimentation proved that no, I couldn't, even discounting the chance that I'd loosen the shingles by trying. More e-mails to my increasingly eager father. But the solution was what you might have guessed, that we needed to cut the ends of the nails off. For this, I needed more tools.
I went to a different Home Depot (I had chores on the other side of town) and found the guy working there who looked the most like my father and explained what I needed to do. He guided me to the snips, which I guess is the name, and we tried them out on a couple nails that looked like what we had to make sure they worked for my nail-cutting needs. Back home they did indeed work, ultimately, once I figured out the way to hold the snips and how to leverage my hands correctly. My safety goggles fogged up every dozen or so nails, which served to make me naturally rest my hands for this chore that required a good bit of strength that my natural bulk couldn't contribute to.
And ultimately, we got the nails trimmed off, and could put the plywood up against the roof and screwed into the stronger portions of the boards, so that all seems well. Well ...
There was one spot, in the upper portion of the attic, just past the light bulb. This was the one spot I really hated to go to because I knew it'd be hard working around the light fixture and the boards holding up the fixture, so I saved it for last. I turned the light off, of course, and worked by spotlight, and managed to put the tarpaper and snip the nails and screw the plywood into place perfectly and in record time. Then as I was stepping off the stool, I smacked my head into the light bulb, breaking it and the fixture. Of course.
Trivia: Baseball's major league Union Association began play in 1884 with twelve teams. Five finished the season. Source: Labor and Capital In 19th Century Baseball, Robert P Gelzheiser.
Currently Reading: Double Victory: A Multicultural History of America in World War II, Ronald Takaki. (Hm. Have any of the Alternate History World War II books tried writing this sort of thing, about how it affected society and how the non-privileged classes were treated, as opposed to battlefield epics or the memoirs of Secretary of State for India Winston Churchill guiding the overthrow of Japanese Occupied Malaya through secret agent Mohandas Gandi?)