Season’s Greetings Everyone!
I hope everyone had a great year. I received three promotions and a huge raise this year, Alissa has been named regent of a small European country, and Mac, although only two, has discovered a perpetual source of energy using our gas furnace and dryer lint and will be honored by the Nobel board in February. Goober (our cat) finally obtained his black belt in Tae Kwae Do, and is now throwing his energies into gourmet cooking. I am writing from our second home, a small chateau in the Swiss Alps – I just flew the private jet in yesterday (Did I mention my pilot’s license?…)
You get the point. We are sure you are sick of the typical holiday letter, – especially since this card is late and you have probably received everyone else’s already – so we are going to tell you about our roof instead.
Last spring, when we thawed the house for the summer, it seems we neglected to clean the gutters. We never actually owned gutters before, so it is no big shocker that we neglected to clean them. Heads up for all you new gutter owner’s out there. If any of you have never seen our home, we have a large family room that has a flat roof built off the back of the house. If we were told once, we were told a million times that we would have never have problems with the roof over the family room because it was covered with a rubber membrane.
Anyway, we were spending quality time in our family room – the TV is in the family room, but I’m sure we were having an intellectual discussion or doing a craft or something – when suddenly it started to rain. In the family room. Just so you know, if you have a rubber membrane roof and a gutter clogs so that the water begins backing up and you have a small breach in the roof the rubber membrane fills up with water and acts less like a rubber membrane and more like a waterbed. Then, if the waterbed is sitting on top of your family room, it begins to leak onto the rug. Mac delighted in showing all guests the gaping hole in our ceiling. Pink insulation adds a nice touch to any décor.
Since we were unable to liquidate our asset – a 1986 gray Volvo station wagon – we decided to fix it ourselves. Perhaps “we” is a strong term. In actuality, Alissa’s camp was filibustering to get me to hire somebody to fix it, but I felt I was certainly clever enough to fix a simple roof. Our good friend John T. Longo offered to give us $500, no strings attached, if we would just hire somebody. I decided that simply replacing the flat roof with another flat roof would just delay the next disaster, so I was going to build a new pitched roof, ignoring the 8 professional opinions that a pitched roof was not feasible. (Code, schmode.)
I read a few books on roofs, called anyone I could think of that could even spell “roof” for advice, then carefully measured the roof and calculated how much stuff (wood, nails, duct tape, bandages, etc.) I needed to construct the new roof. I placed an order at Home Depot and it was delivered. Mac loved watching the men deliver the wood and Alissa loved watching it sit in the driveway for a few months. My first problem was the old tar and gravel roof under the rubber membrane roof. I cleverly shoveled it off the roof into the back yard, effectively killing all existing plant life. After endless phone calls I have discovered that it is non-trivial to have 4 tons of gravel and rotting insulation removed from ones property. We are now considering building a deck over it.
Once the gravel was out of the way, my brothers and some friends came over to help me frame the roof. My first order of business was to rent a truck to return most of the wood I had delivered and replace it with wood of the correct length. Once it was framed, I then returned the sheathing wood as it was too heavy to get up to the roof. The jaunts to Home Depot got easier once they assigned me a parking spot. The replacement wood turned out to be a tad shy of proper thickness, but the light trampoline-like bounce one experiences while walking on my new roof is kind of neat. At this point “we” reevaluated and decided to hire somebody to shingle the roof and do the finish work.
My contractor spent his first day re-cutting and nailing down the sheathing and the remaining days doing a beautiful job shingling and doing the finish work. (Not bad for a guy that got stoned every morning in my driveway and had the munchies by noon.) When he was done I had a great looking roof that looked like a professional did it. In fact, I keep telling Alissa that it was just like we hired someone except that we had to buy all the supplies ourselves (three times, in fact), rent a truck, kill the shocks on our asset, wait four months for the job to get done, and destroy the back yard indefinitely. I do have in my favor the fact that I was able to replace the phone line we cut without hiring anybody.
Anyway, we truly hope you had a great year. Happy Holidays!
ps. Ally’s dead. (The other cat.)