Monday, March 12, 2012

Keeping a Roof Over My Head

I try to make a point of not dwelling on the weather here.  Given that I live near Lake Michigan in northern Indiana, it's kind of pointless to whine about the cold.  I actually love the climate here - four distinct seasons, not too hot or humid in the summer.  But I'd like to mention one feature of the weather that is a mixed blessing - it's windy around here!

I'm feeling a bit too lazy to do any real research, but I do remember reading that the average prevailing wind here is 10.5 mph out of the southwest, and that we average 4 days per year of 50+ mph winds. Otherwise, it's pretty breezy here on a normal day, even during the heat of summer, and I enjoy that aspect of our weather.

After some recent windstorms, however, I've begun to think of our pleasant cheek-caressing breezes as more a slap in this homeowners's face, when our roof began to decorate the yard.

Day one of the windstorm occurred, like most other hilarious domestic emergencies, when Eric was safely out of town.  Shingles blew hither and yon, cracking and crumbling on impact, with yours truly valiantly cleaning up the mess that was my yard. Of course, when I reported on the problem, his helpful response was, "I can't do anything about it right now."

Not my real roof
Never having had this particular type of damage, I was unsure what to do next.  What I did was wait, through what turned out to be another 5 days of high winds and lots of debris cleaning in the yard.  Helpful neighbors looked at the bare spots and pronounced that it would "probably not leak much unless we get snow or torrential rain."  Wow, what are the chances?  One fellow said I should tarp it as soon as possible, but I may want to figure out some way to anchor it besides nails, since that leads to leaks. As I said, helpful advice, and my thanks to my concerned neighbors.

There is just one problem.  I have all the grace and coordination of a week-old puppy, and fifty years of accidents and injuries have taught me that I don't belong on high structures or uneven footing, at least if I want to keep my basic skeletal integrity. This easy fix of "tarping" was not in my job description and I didn't need a fortune-teller to predict what would happen it I tried to learn this particular skill.  Eric said to wait until he got home, then we'd figure out what needed to be done. Fine by me!

Turns out Eric had some grandiose scheme to star in his own home improvement movie.  From the ground, it appeared that only a few shingles needed replacing, so he thought he'd do that himself. But with more nasty wind and rain in store, I was insistent that we call our insurance company and get the claim process going. Even though we knew we'd be pretty far back in line, since southern Indiana and several other states had suffered true devastation from tornadoes, we still needed to file a claim and get it inspected.

Someone else's roof
The Claims Adjuster got a bird's-eye view of things, and it turns out that the whole southern side (front) of the roof has got to be replaced. We quickly got a man out who put a tarp on, and started reviewing the damage estimate.  Eric seemed unnaturally gleeful about the prospect of a new roof. Turns out, he and a friend were discussing doing the job themselves to save some bucks. This discussion, not surprisingly, was conducted while drinking beer, away from the wives, which explains why it got beyond the fantasy stage.

Eric told me of his plans to tear-off and replace the roof with his buddy.

Him: "So I'll buy the materials with the insurance money, the me and Bubba will re-roof the front and pocket the extra cash. Bubba just needs a steady beer supply for hydration on the job, and a bottle of single-malt as a completion bonus. Genius, huh?"

Me: "Genius - yes! Before you start, will you go shopping with me for my funeral dress? I need to look extra nice as a widow, since we are woefully under-insured. Something veiled for the graveside, that can transition to a clingy sheath with a plunging neckline for the distraught scene back at the house."

Him: "What funeral? You didn't mention anyone dying..."

Me: "I'm planning your funeral, and I didn't mention it before because I didn't know you were planning to die."

Him: "I'm not following you. I was talking about the roof, you are talking about funerals."

Me: "If you and Bubba think you can roof our house, you are insane. It would be the death of one or both of you."

Him: "Why do you say that?  You are always bragging on my ability to fix things around the house. That's all I'm talking about."

Me: "No, what you are talking about is two middle-aged, flabby guys with desk jobs doing the work of young, experienced professionals. It's not happening."

Him: "I've replaced shingles before and there are plenty of middle-aged, flabby roofers, so I don't see your point."

Me: "My point is, you are the sole support for this family and you cannot be spared for some toughness contest on a high, uneven surface. If you are so confident in your roofing talent, and don't think it's too dangerous to risk the future financial security of this family, I have a little wager for you. Sign an agreement that says you want me to use the death benefit to buy an Jaguar XJR convertible and have a face lift and liposuction. I want to be an eye-catching man magnet to help me transition to my lonely future. If you are sure you won't die, then you have nothing to lose by signing."

Him: "Ha! As if. You know, Bubba's wife wouldn't forbid him from helping me. She has more faith in him than you have in me."

Me: "Are you kidding me?  Mrs. Bubba already bought the handcuffs and sedatives, the minute she got a whiff of Bubba's exciting plan for a virility contest at high elevation. She won't even let him do the bungee bounce at the mall! Why would she let him go to a 3-day keg party on our roof? Do you think she's any more capable of replacing her husband's income than I am? You doofuses are all that stands between we women and children and the homeless shelter. So stay off the roof, or start dreaming of me in my Jag."

Him:  "This is harsh. I was looking forward to the exercise, working outside in the nice weather, fraternizing with Bubba and some of the gang who wanted to help. You ruined my male-bonding fantasy. What else am I supposed to do until football season?"

Me: "Keep your shirt on, literally and figuratively. I've got plenty of projects you can do that don't involve heights or steep slopes. You can build some shelves in the sewing area, dig up the tree stump, replace the wood where we ripped out a cabinet or paint the kitchen.  Take your pick.  These jobs are so manly, I feel the Jag fantasy receding, being replaced by a painting fantasy.  And you are the star."

Needless to say, Eric and Bubba are disappointed that they were robbed of an opportunity to display their macho handyman talents for the neighborhood, all because of the silly worries of their nearest dependents. I, for one, am relieved to have resolved this matter, because I wouldn't have a roof over my head if it wasn't for Eric, and I'd like to keep him around awhile. And if we are forced to hire a crew of young, good-looking roofers who work shirtless and need lots of Gatorade and water delivered, well, that's just the price I'm willing to pay to keep Eric safe...and out of trouble.


  1. Priceless--what a wonderful sense of humor and reality.

  2. Oh, you've outdone yourself! This is fantastic and I can totally hear you and Eric having this discussion. Sadly, I was unable to win this argument at my own house and watched fearfully as my 50-something husband got on the extension ladder and climbed up where he was only about 36 feet off the ground (with the two story house on pilings...I am proud of you for standing your ground!

    1. We don't want Eric to get wind of that! I think your hubby may be a little better balanced than mine...

  3. I love this picture of the 2 of you!! You really need to write a book or get a job with the newspaper as you truly have a gift!!

  4. Will the real Bubba and Mrs. Bubba please stand up? This was so funny, as it could be any one of a number of middle aged, macho husbands in the "hood". Fortunately for me, Mark has realized that endangering his life to save a couple of dollars isn't worth it. He may also be afraid to bare his midrif to the ladies of the neighborhood! Well done Michelle!

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  5. Haha. I love your sense of humor, Michele! :D Aww. You just love your hubby so much you don’t want to put him in danger trying to fix your roof. Hehe. Anyway, roofing experts guarantee that they will use reliable and safe methods to repair a roof. In fact, professional roofers undergo training and licensing to work legally. They are experienced and trained to handle all kinds of roofing problems. Hiring one is definitely a wise decision of you. ;)

  6. That conversation was hilarious! Give your man some credit! Kidding aside, roof repairs are much harder than they look. That is why it is wise to seek the help of a professional roofer to assess the damage. If you are on the lookout for a trusted roofer, you can ask your nearby neighbors if they can refer someone. If you still want other options, you can search the net to look for a reputable roofing company. Remember to do a background check on the company. Look for feedback and consumer reviews on the said company.

  7. I would like to commend Bubba and Eric for trying! But I guess you made a wise move to seek professional help with your roof repairs. Roof repairs and replacements are serious business. Even though it may look like an easy job, it entails accuracy and precision. That is why it is best to hire a professional roofer to do the job.

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  10. Repairing and replacing your roof is not an easy job. Good thing you were able to prevent them from doing the roof repairs themselves. Hiring a roofing contractor is the best thing to do. What’s a little money compared to the safety and quality service that expert roofers can bring?

    -Joann Winton