Friday, August 27, 2010


Since we last saw the roof job came four days of steady raininess ~ which means a half inch one day, then drizzles the next, followed by a good inch of nice rainfall which splashed up the river a notch, juiced the gardens, grew the grass, and kept us off the roof.

By Tuesday we figured we could play between the rain drops. Overcast all day, ideal for hunkering up at the chimney where I could tear out the old and rebuild new flashing and lead escarpment, and with Greg slide on two more sheets specially cut to work around the chimney. For awhile there it was Greg on one side of the roof where I had built in roof brackets so he had a landing to perch. And from there, the letterpress man could hand me hammer, drill, caulking gun, metals with the same grace and delivery of handling his type, fonts, ink and special papers. All with a certain deckle edge, graceful. I made the chimney water-tight. Sweetheart was up on the scaffold tending to any loose ends, checking the guys' work, putting that ever wondrous woman's touch to things. I wouldn't want a house without it.

A day off for another rain day Sweetheart and I got many town errands done. This means two weeks of groceries, two weeks of laundry, paperworks for printing at Longhouse and, an ice cream cone (shared).

Thursday was pitch perfect ~ not hot, not cold, not real windy, but a breeze ~ Sweetheart and I started the day and finished it building the rest of the scaffold across the face of the house and it would be one we think Michelangelo would have climbed up there with us. Had a look around.

Now we have 42 feet wide scaffold and we can walk like a stroll in a park (almost) down the whole edge of the roof eave and get at everything. Put up the ladder and hook and climb to wherever. Work either side of the roof.

I still have a day ahead of me to level off the old roof and set in the last of the spruce purlins for screwing the steel into. I'll work that alone with my one board helper who holds one side of the long and flapping sixteen footers.

When the purlins are anchored, we go with more steel.

Mr. Nonchalance up there has actually gone to the trouble of building all this wood scaffold because for once in his life he's doing a roof job with complete safety in mind. It must come with age. I'm also a traditionalist and remember as a boy working on hardy work crews where guys in simple cars and trucks arrived at a job and nothing stood in the way — need to get over an impasse? grab some 2 x 4s and build a bridge, a scaffold, a tower. Take it all down later, use it again, or bury it into something else. Plus I'm wanting everyone dear to me, and helping out, to feel safe. Plus halfway across with the steel, and a closer look at the chimney, I've gotten it into my bandanna skull that maybe it is time to rebuild the chimney while we're at it — either stucco and fully seal it, or maybe even rebuild the outer frame in slate. Yes, slate. I know, I've never seen one either, but no one gets anywhere interesting without first a dream. Or two.

So far we have found two damaged sheets and await two new ones from the lumberyard who awaits from the steel supplier in Pennsylvania. Everything connects. It's a map.

Our wedding anniversary is on Saturday.

photos © susan & bob arnold