and then it rained.

18 01 2011

So now we have rafters.  No one fell to their death from 20 feet, and I managed to avoid having a panic attack by going home and burying my head in the sand… I mean, pillows on my bed.  The next morning, the house was still standing, the sun was shining… and it was time for DECKBOARDS!


I love all of the light shining in… too bad it couldn’t stay like that!

While I like the tree-fort feel with the sun streaming in… we were racing against the clock and the calendar to get an actual roof on before the weather got bad.

And it did.  Get bad.

[Disclaimer:  there are no pictures of this part] I was working a double the day that Eric and his friend Eric and his employee Eric [hilarious, I know] were laying deckboards–sheets of plywood nailed to the rafters that create a base for the tar paper and shingles to be fastened to.  We had dodged the nasty weather bullet for almost a week, but we knew the rain was for sure coming that day, and they were trying to balance hustle with safety–it takes a lot of balance and awareness to move around on a roof that’s only rafters, hauling up 40-lb pieces of plywood through a 16-inch opening without plummeting to your death… let alone when the boards are slippery and wet!

Anyway, the guys got done what they could [which ended up being around 2/3 or so of the house, front to back], and once the rain started they called it quits and pulled plastic over the open area in the kitchen.  They were counting on the new subfloor to keep the rest of the house dry… but, no such luck.  The rain started coming in through the cracks between the boards, soaking everything.  Eric found enough plastic to cover up his TV and stereo equipment, and called it a night.  He put the dogs in the garage, grabbed a clean set of clothes and headed for shelter at a friend’s a couple of blocks over.

And the next morning, came home to a flat tire on the van.  So, we inflated it with Eric’s compressor and hurried on over to Wal-Mart, apparently the ONLY place on a Sunday morning to get a tire fixed.  After an hour there [and being yet again reminded why I HATE that place], it was back to the house to assess the damage by the light of day.

It was hard to walk in and see everything soaked and dripping wet, but the sun was out again.  So, we dragged the mattresses and couch cushions out onto the deck to dry, threw a load of wet stuff in the washer, and got back to work… and by the end of the day, the house was decked and all was back to normal.

Let’s just say Eric wasn’t exactly looking forward to having to paper and shingle the whole thing in the three-day window we had before leaving for Ohio for his brother Garrett’s wedding.  Luckily, the phone rang out of the blue the next day: another contractor from church had some tile work he needed to have done… so Eric and his guys did the tile while Jesse and his guys did the roof!  WIN-WIN-WIN!

After all of that, we finally took a giant deep breath, heaved a sigh of relief, and got the heck out of Dodge.  I mean, packed up and headed to Ohio.


and then we came back from the dead [or, the roof: part everything else].

2 01 2011

Hello, world… we’re back from the blogging black hole.  Sorry for the long absence, but the good news is that we’ve got plenty to talk about, right?


Back to the topic at hand:  our lack of a roof.  We did camp on the new subfloor the first night… but that lasted about 3 hours.  Eric woke me up out of a dead sleep to tell me that he couldn’t sleep on the super-hard plywood [being the gentleman that he is, he had given me the Thermarest sleep pad for under my bag and was trying to make do with a blanket].  It took me a minute [or 5] to make sense of A–what time it was, B–where we were, and C–what words were coming out of his mouth, but once I got my bearings, we packed up our campsite and crept back down the ladder.  I headed back home to my warm, cozy bed… and Eric wrapped himself up in blankets and a sleeping bag in his bed to try to keep warm in a house with no roof.  [Yes, I felt guilty.]

The next morning, we were back at it, ready to finish tearing off the last third of the roof decking and rafters.  This was quite a bit more dangerous [in my scaredy-cat’s eyes, at least], though, since the back portion of the house is going to be vaulted all the way up to the new second story.  Which, for those of you playing along at home, equals LADDERS AT FREAKISH HEIGHTS.  And not just climbing a super-high ladder to stand there and take in the view, but to actually DO STUFF…*shudder*.

Exhibit A: tearing the slats off the rafters

Do you feel me, people?  I was FREAKED OUT.  But I kept my mouth shut [for the most part] so that I didn’t make Eric uptight or jumpy.  Not that I really had much to worry about.. it was like watching a spider monkey.  With a hammer.  [Ooh, that’s a funny mental picture!]

Exhibit B: creeping out to the corner of the house to pop off the boards on the overhang.

Careful, careful.

Exhibit C: removing the most difficult rafters and getting ready to knock out the back rafter wall.

Look closely… the back wall has been sawed through [just to the right of the ladder] and is leaning out toward the backyard [TIMMMMMBBBBBERRRR!].  This was probably one of the scariest parts for me, because the power lines to the house connect at the right-hand side of this wall, so we had to be very careful with the cutting and the toppling.  I, of course, stayed perched a good distance away from the danger zone… but at the perfect vantage point for picture-taking!

Exhibit D:

The mighty conqueror!  [Actually, I’m surprised he’s still standing upright at this point.]


Sidebar thoughts:

Now we REALLY don’t have a roof… but the view is out of this world!  It’s kind of a weird feeling to walk around looking at things at a normal height, and then all of a sudden you look up and realize, oh yeah!  No roof!

Notice how we’re in short sleeves. In NOVEMBER.  No, seriously, praise the Lord that it was sunny and high 60s the first week of November!  It was amazafreakinsuperunbelievablywonderful.

And this hard day’s work was made possible by Monster and Gardetto’s.


Sorry, back to work.

Next step: get them WALLS up!  ie: it’s not going to be sunny and 60 forever.

That’s better!  [Never mind the giant lumber pile in the front yard…]

Still a little way to go… one wall at a time.

Brace that corner, baby… can’t have the new walls come crashing down.

The precarious slot in which the world’s longest and heaviest board [ie. the ridge beam] had to be placed.  The top of that ladder is seriously like 20 feet off the ground.  *double shudder*

The beginning of the rafter-setting.  Also, note that it’s almost dark outside… and it was like 6PM.  Thanks for that, winter.

By now they’re getting a system down… two ladders + three guys [+/- one jumpy onlooker/amateur photographer].

Now they’re on to the rafters over the kitchen.  Which means… THE LADDER.  When Eric took the 20+ foot extension ladder and started whacking it against the ridge beam [to make sure it would hold him, I guess], I decided it was time to pack it in for the night.  Ignorance is bliss.  Plus, I think they were getting tired of my inability to keep my gasps of fear to myself.

When I came back in the morning:

BUM BUH DAH BUUMMMMM! [Yes, the wood pile is still there.]

Side note:  None of this would have been possible without the talent, expertise, and strong backs of our friends Larry Eldridge [roof demo Yoda-ness, new wall construction, humble awesomeness is general], Jeremy Clay [rafter-hanging skillz, spider-monkey wall-scaling skillz, and ability to cut rafters despite a general lack of night vision], and Jeff Reichanadter [rafter-hanging assistance, willingness to stick hand in dog poop in order to keep from dropping the SUPER-heavy ridge beam while scaling a ladder, and ability to learn the finer points of roof-building on the fly]…  seriously, you guys.  I might have curled up in a ball in the corner had we actually had to undertake this part on our own.  Because you know I’m NOT sticking my hand in dog poop to keep a ridge beam from falling.

Up next:  We’ve got rafters, but no decking or shingles yet… will the weather hold?  Or will we be left out in the cold?