ROOFING AND SIGHTING
(Or—A VIEW FROM THE TOP)
I want to make a few things clear from the beginning. This is not a how-to article on home repair. It’s just the reflections of a woman going where few women will boldly go—on the roof.
My husband wanted to replace our leaky shed roof. I agreed to help. What a job! I had no idea! But in spite of the hard work, aching bones and a sore thumb the next day, it was great!
From the shed roof I could see our house from a different vantagepoint. I realized what a good job we did when we remodeled the house.
My flowerbeds looked absolutely beautiful. The weeds that I worried about while I stood on the ground were insignificant from about fifteen feet in the air. The picket fence stood with military precision around the dogs’ play yard while the daisies and black-eyed Susans lolled lazily on the lawn around it. Yellow, white, orange, green, pink and purple swirled together in a Monet painting.
Lovely fragrance from the flowers caught the breeze and drifted by. Leaves turned up their silvery undersides as we hurried to finish the job before the rain began.
The scent from the giant Blue Spruce behind the shed reminded me of the smell of cotton candy. Being this close, I could look up inside the tree and see the needle-less branches and shiny ribbons of sap on the trunk. Deserted birds’ nests were wedged in the crotches of some of the branches. I constantly battled to keep the falling needles out of the tar as I glued the gravel paper in place.
As I drove the 8-penny sinker nails into the OSB I could hear musical tones like a tiny xylophone. When I asked my husband if he could hear them, he looked at me as if I was hallucinating. Probably not a guy thing! The sound of the hammers came back in an echo, so we were hammering twice.
Occasionally a bird flew around me, the foreigner in its space. I became familiar with lots of bugs, including some bright green, shiny ones I hadn’t noticed before.
The pleasant mornings turned into downright hot afternoons. The gravel paper bit through the knees on my jeans so I found a piece of foam insulation to use as a cushion. Ice water in our jug tasted like the finest wine. Muscles I never even knew I had began to ache. My thumb was like a plum from hitting it when I missed the nail, and my index finger throbbed. Forget about having nice fingernails!
Unlike lots of married couples, we work well together. When things aren’t going right, we both know when to offer sympathy, shut up, or yell back. We laughed a lot and talked as we nailed. Our names were “Bob Vila” and “Norm Abrams.” I was Bob; Bob was Norm.
It was quite an experience. Besides learning the very basics of roof construction, I developed an admiration for people who do this every day. I don’t want to do it, but I’m glad someone does. And I learned a very important lesson—when hammering, keep your fingers the hell out of the way!