July 04, 2007

Roofing Tales

Roof--a protective covering that covers or forms the top of a building. Mine was in bad shape. And, I didn't have one layer, but many: wooden shingles that must have been the original; tin roofing, no roofing, and flat roofing. I saw the need for new roofing, gutters, and fascia when I first looked at the house. And subsequent looks didn't improve its appearance. Neither did wishful thinking.

I thought that I would be able to replace it in sections. That was not to be. The insurance company required a new roof. Estimates were requested. People came out, people looked, people didn't respond. Home Depot came in with a ball-park figure, not an estimate, that would have required me signing the deed over to them. Then the multi-talented Shaw family came through. Shannon, brother of Mike, could put on the roof and at a price I could afford. Didn't matter to me that it would be on weekends and after work, or that there would be no warranty. I just needed a new roof, asap.

Off to the home center to purchase roofing materials. My brother and I were in so often, daily, that we began to know people by name and they knew us. Eugene, part Irish, part Indian, part anything else, delivers materials for the center. He filled us in on some of the aspects of Ripley as well as his hell-raising days. "I might not win the fight but you'd better bring your lunch." When I asked him where I could rent a "roll-off," he looked at me like I'd lost my mind. Down here, it is called a dumpster. City girl, what can I say.

Pallets of shingles on all four corners of the house. Delivered days before they would be needed. NOT A ONE WALKED. I couldn't believe it. Tar, felt paper, flashing, nails, roll roofing--I've got a regular supply company here. Shannon and his brother, Jerry, (keeping it in the family) arrived at the crack of dawn. It is cooler at that time. By the time the clock strikes 8 a.m., the sun is already relentless and by 10 a.m., it is as hot as it is going to get. I laid in ice, gatorade and water. I'm such a good hostess/employer. Even provided lunch which they didn't eat. They told my brother that no one had ever provided water, much less lunch, on any of their jobs. What do I know?

In the back of the house, over the front bathroom, was a leak so bad that it had caused the ceiling to collapse in one section. I'd been told that the former owner had had it repaired but it still leaked and the roofer wouldn't return phone calls or come back to fix it. We soon found out why. They didn't fix the hole; merely stuffed shingles in it and covered it. Wonder how much they charged her to do nothing?

It was suggested that I install whirlybirds at various intervals to take some of the heat out of the attics. The only whirlybirds I've seen are silver and I don't like them. I'm afraid that they will also detract from the look of the house. Adamant that they cannot be placed on the front. Ugly things. Back to the center. Eugene and brother take them to the car while I pay. Terry, who runs the contractor's desk, wants to know what color they are because the computer wants to know. Have no idea. The computer says they're brown. At least they aren't silver but brown is just as bad. Get home and check the box--burnished or antique bronze--or some such. Up one goes. Hey, not bad. It is so dark in color, it almost blends with the roofline. I can live with this. I know, it is a woman thing.

The brothers had intended to work until dark, making every hour count. The sun won out. They promised to return (at the crack of dawn) the next morning. Good thing I'm an early riser. Sure enough, they're back and have picked up another worker. Blond, blond, almost platinum-blond young man who seems a little uneasy. Could it be the color of our skins? Eventually he comes around. And everybody spits. It must be a male thing. A southern white male thing? Y-U-C-K!

Mike has brought his son, Little Mike, who had asked for a job to earn money. I like this kid. Work for pay? Drag out two wrought iron chairs for him to paint. "Where's the spray paint? I'm not used to using a brush." Uh oh, we're in trouble. "The brush is all I have, sorry." Worked with him on repainting the chairs; I think I did more than he did. Definitely had to go over them the next day, reminding myself that he was only ten and couldn't do the "perfect" job I'd envisioned. Bernard let him use the power washer for a minute and I found articles from the fireplace that he could spray paint. Ladies and gents, I haven't been around kids in a coon's age and I believe that kids have a place and need to stay in it. I soon realized that he was a little too grown, a little too mouthy, for the kid. To top it off, the parents have gone on to another job and left him behind. Not only am I paying him but babysitting, too. Something was definitely wrong with the picture. I was only too glad to see them return for their offspring because he had definitely worked the mother's nerves.

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