Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Little Bribery (not Flattery)...

First of all, important announcement: The Roof is Finished! The weather cooperated with the holiday and Troy managed to get the ridge vent installed on the roof on Thursday. Yes, we were thankful. We still are.

Also, Troy has rough power to the shop. The new electrical box in the basement is functional and when powered, the supply lines to the shop are live! There is nothing to receive the power yet in the shop, but all in good time.

As for bribery, that refers to Troy's [successful] tack of trying to get me to help him more. Apparently is it possible that I could park in the shop once we have accomplished certain things, including prep for installing the overhead door. This is great news after the disappointing realization that all hope of parking in the garage this winter was folly. I should say that the bribe was successful last night as I helped unload his drywall for the ceiling. It is not successful tonight as I sit in bed typing on my computer. I am exhausted. I expect a full recovery by tomorrow and I think we will be doing the first of the Tyvec.

Wish us luck and Godspeed,

Monday, November 24, 2008

Out of Chaos

This is a shot of a piece of our basement.

You really do have to make a mess to get things more organized. Three of these thick black cables were pulled through the conduit to the shop way back last summer. The other end has sat wound around the spool waiting all this time. And now finally its time has come. The other night we strung the loose ends along the ceiling ready to be hooked into the new electric box. That's Troy's next project: getting power to the shop. Somehow this is all for the larger goal of getting things ready for the garage door installation. It also happens to be able to be done inside; just a coincidence I'm sure as the weather is so cold and wet.

One more gratuitous shot:
Yes, the horror of icicles on our house. I'm very curious which way the wind was blowing to get one of the icicles to lean right and its neighbour to lean left. Seeing these out of every second story window is very motivating to get work done on the house!

Take care,

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Winter's First Assault

The scene Monday evening before more snow fell overnight and on Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Passed inspection, and public thanks and recognition

This morning, we passed our second to last inspection (from the building inspector) with flying colors. I now feel almost invincible.

Furthermore, I would like to publicly thank my wife for helping out so much with the very time/weather sensitive shingling. Not many wives would be up there slogging away with tar paper and shingles in cold wet inclement weather. She did. Even when things did not cooperate. There are very few things she would not attempt if she thought it necessary. She is a jewel and I try to remind myself periodically how special she really is. Remodeling a house while you live in it, as a couple, is famously stressful. Christina makes it look almost easy. Maybe I can get her to blush.

Doing things that are difficult and/or unpleasant can have an "up side". Here's a quote that summarizes my feelings on this matter.

"Thank God every morning when you get up that you have something to do which must be done, whether you like it or not. Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance, self-control, diligence, strength of will, content, and a hundred other virtues which the idle never know." - Charles Kingsley (1819 - 1875)


Monday, November 17, 2008

Just in Time

So as of 6 pm EST yesterday, all the shingles were attached to the roof! Hooray! All we need now is a good sunny day in the 70s or 80s to glue them down and we'd be all set. (Ya, fat chance.)

I gave Troy the priveledge of finishing it up, especially as it included cutting shingles for a whole row and that is a pain in the keister. Plus I had other things to do. The "just in time" is because we woke up to a good 4-5 inches of snow that had fallen overnight. And although I have talked about shingling in the snow, it has never been anything that added up.

There is still an opening at the very peak of a couple inches, but the roof vent is on order to finish it up.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Git 'Er Done

Wow...reading through the "shingle countdown" pounds home the fact that we've been hitting the shingles pretty hard and steady. I was out again today while Troy was gone all day for CE. I had a half-hope that I could surprise him by finishing the north side but it didn't happen. For one, I ran out of shingles on the roof. I considered bringing more up by the 1/2 or 1/4 stack (not being able to wrangle 80 lbs up the ladder at one time) but then it started raining too hard and I guess I ran out of steam. Things were going smoother than last Wednesday though...that was an exercise in frustration.

Wednesday I got prepared to go out (which not only includes changing into many layers, but also getting the woodstove going steady so you can leave it unattended), laid out a row of shingles, got the gun, hit the roof, and...nothing. The gun would not work. When I pulled my earplugs out I realized there was a much louder than normal hissing coming from the air hose and sure enough, the hose had burst apart at a taped up connection. I went in the house feeling that I was defeated. But then the part of my brain that likes to work on shingles (it must exist) nagged the rest of my brain into remembering that there was another connection in the hose and long story short, I managed to hook up the air without the part that was leaking. Ok, back in business...

I nailed down the row I had laid out. Next was more tar paper because we were at the end of the tar paper and metal edging. Troy even left a roll on the roof so I was set to go. First roll went ok. Then I realized I had to roll out at least 3 more so that the metal edging could go on (it's 10 feet long). I carry up a roll up from inside the shop and as I roll it out, a few feet from the end it sticks to itself at the edge and starts ripping. I don't notice for quite a few turns and by then the rip is a good 8-10 inches from the edge. Crap! So I rip it off of the nails I had put in the end and go down for the last roll we have. This roll goes down fairly trouble free, but it's a little short (like the one brand has been). The only scrap left on the roof is 4 inches too short. :sigh: I go down to the ground and scrounge the strip of tar paper that had blown off by the wind. It has some nail holes, but with some creative placement, it patches the last bit that I needed. So now I've got one more roll to go and only a ripped one to do it.

I keep thinking, I have to get this done. So I look at the space that's left, and it's narrow enough that I can use most of the roll that had ripped. So I cut a clean edge, start unrolling from the other roof edge, and it does it again! Oh how frustrating. But I catch it a little sooner this time so the rip doesn't move too far up the roll. ("Git er done...git er done," I keep saying to myself.) By the end of that last run, I have patched together three other short pieces and finally end with one last 36 inch section and just a piece of the blown off tar paper with too many holes. I can't get the holes covered up so I finally leave it for Troy to decide. We went through a lot of nails with all that patching!

So then I think, well I can put the metal edging on the other end and start some shingling from that side. I measure the length that I need, and go down to a piece that was left over.'s a foot longer than I need. I bring it up to roof, put it in place, and it's 1/4 inch too short!! I don't know what happened to my tape measure while I went down the ladder, but that and the rain was the last straw and I quit  for the day. But meanwhile I got one row of shingles and all the tar paper laid down for Troy to work on that night.

One bonus of working in the rain is getting to climb the ladder and look across the lower roof line and see the rain running off the roof. It's like magic, so gratifying.
Here's a recent pic of the inside of the shop. The floor is slowing drying up. It has a nice echo too.When I was in the shop, I noticed this bag hanging from the rafters. I'm not sure if it's garbage from the roof or Troy hanging the white flag in surrender one day.
Troy should finish up the shingles tomorrow. (If he's worth his salt, anyway.) Then just when I'm thinking we're ready for winter, Troy talks up about insulating the foundation and putting up Tyvec...but I think we're way past getting this done "by winter" cause it has snowed a little too often for that.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shitty weather and the Kingdom of God

So, saturday night I'm slogging along nailing shingles down in neat rows. I knew a couple of months ago that it would be a close race to get the roof done before the weather deteriorated into nastiness. The nastiness was asserting itself. It was cold. It was damp. It was windy, it was raining, it was dark and cloudy and foreboding. In a word, it was shitty.

Nobody really likes working out in weather like that. I don't either, but it had to be done. So there I was, slowing grinding it out. It was miserable.

However, before I went out, I made a nice cheerful fire in the wood stove. Our woodstove needs care and feeding about every 45 minutes to an hour. So once I got the fire going, out I went into the cold wet gloomy weather to do battle. But while I'm out there freezing my fingers off, and feeling the rain soak through my pants, I know the fire is blazing away in the living room. In a little while, I will go feed the stove, swap my wet gloves for dry ones and soak up the heat for a few minutes. The knowledge of the existence of a hot woodstove makes my present experience up on the roof far more tolerable. That radiant heat soaks right into your marrow in a way that nothing else can. The cold and the wet have no real chance when faced directly with the power of fire.

This makes for an excellent analogy for a Christian's current experience in life, and the expectation of things soon to come. The world is broken and sinful. Anybody with eyes to see knows that things are not "right" with the world. There is injustice, pain, starvation, war, cruelty, random violence, hurricanes and earthquakes. It's a long list of problems. Without an accurate view of the redeemed and perfected world at the end of time, it could make for a pretty miserable experience in the midst of so much suffering and unfairness. But Christians know better. Things will get better. My current plight is temporary.

In my view, there is no long term injustice. When God fixes things, He does a good job of it. There will be no halfway measures in the end. When the paralyzed man is made to walk again, I feel confident that he will not walk with a limp. Whatever wrongs we suffer in this life will be made right. Whatever wrongs we commit in this life, we will have the opportunity to make amends with God's help. Of course, this gives excellent reason to live an obedient and holy life, to the extent we are able. Less stuff to fix later on.

This all assumes you are a Christian. If you are not a Christian, I am merely throwing gasoline onto your personal fire. By definition, you do not have access to the One who makes everything right. For some reason, obvious or obscure, you have chosen not to trust the Master of the Universe who will right all wrongs. You could trust Him, for He is the most trustworthy thing in or out of the universe. You should trust Him, for you will be relieved of the burden of living in a broken world with no apparent solution. And I pray that you would trust Him. Why would you not? There is no down side.

Finest regards,


Singles and Sleet...and then Snow

Saturday night we were determined to get some shingling done. The south face was finished the day before and that gave us enough sense of accomplishment to spur us on to continue the work. The weather decided to deliver a wet night of intermittant light rain and sleet. First step was to determine if it was safe to be up on the roof. So we got changed into our work gear (which is sometimes the lionshare of the effort for some unknown reason) and tested our footing on the wet plywood. Ta-da! we were both very off to the races we went.

Step one: lay out two rows of the moisture barrier. It's adhesive on the back and more than a little awkward to handle on your own. So Troy would roll it out, make it straight and I would hit it with the nailgun. We got lucky when a scrap piece finished off the last 3 feet of the final row so Troy could return two unused packages: woo hoo!

Step two: nail the metal edging along the long low edge of the roof.

Step three: lay out 4 rows of tarpaper. Troy bought two different brands; one is too short and one is too long, but again we were lucky when the part we cut off from the one made up the difference for the short one. 

Step four: nail the metal edging along the side sloped edges of the roof.

Step five: nail on the "half shingles" you had cut previously to the bottom edge of the roof.

This is as far as we got on Saturday. With enough layers and my flannel lined rain coat, I stayed mostly dry and pretty warm, excepting my hands which were wet and frozen, but not frost-bitten. I'm glad we have an excess of working gloves because changing them often makes a world of difference.

Troy noted that he reread the instructions on some of the roofing supplies and it said to prevent the bed (right word?) from getting wet at all times. Well, we didn't have a lot of choice so we pressed on anyway. The next day when we went out we discovered one reason why: all the tarpaper had done what paper does when it gets wet: it was wrinkled up and very bumpy and lumpy. So when we were shingling on Sunday we had to use a lot more nails (25-33%) to get the shingles to lie flat and spend a lot more time to make sure they were in the right place. But it fit with the quilting analogy because it was just like when some of your squares don't come out to exactly 6" but you have to sew them to other squares that are 6". Pin down the ends and then work from the middle out to make sure you're working in the excess bulk evenly.

Sunday was a lot drier because the rain turned to snow, but not real snow. The little dry pellet kind of snow that doesn't really ever add up to anything. It was nice to be working in daylight at least, and we kept the fire going so a little break inside cured whatever was ailing you.

With some luck and determination, I will be out there again tonight so I can get the tarpaper that's out there covered and give Troy a head start for his big work day tomorrow. It's wonderful to be inside the shop and see how dry one half of it is!


After our weekend work: the north face with 14 courses applied:
Our inspiring south face (inspiring because it's done!):
A view Monday morning of the snow that fell overnight:

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Shingling from a Quilter's Perspective

So as we're about to begin shingling, Troy is explaining how it all works to me. (I think he likes to use me as an audience just to talk things through out loud, but I just patiently listen...) As he's talking, this is sounding more and more like quilting. The pattern is like a strip quilt except the pieces overlap a little more than in a strip quilt. Even the scale is similar as the shingles show 5" for each row and a very common quilt square size is 6 inches. What is not similar is the area which needs to be covered. In quilt terms, the south face alone is about 17 king sized quilts. Pretty big. In quilting, your tools are the rotary cutter and self-healing cutting mat. In roofing, your tools are the utility knife and a spare piece of shingle. Of course what you don't get in quilting is the pneumatic nail gun. Shingling might be more cool just on that difference. (Of course, I think my new Husqvarna Viking sewing machine is pretty cool so maybe it's still a matter of opinion.)

But enough of that...on to the pictures. First we have the south face as Troy is preparing the first layers of moisture wrap (there's $400 I'll never spend on shoes, thanks to Inspector BS), tar paper, and fussy cutting (another quilting term) the first row of shingles.
Then the south face as the shingles are about half done. The last two rows were put in by yours truly, aka Rosie the Riveter.
This pic shows a piece of the house and you can see that the new shingles match pretty well in colour. The pattern is a little "livelier" on the shop, but I can live with it.
And finally, the north face, all swept off. But I will say I swept it in the dark, so I'm really not going to guarantee the quality. Of course, if we don't get the tar paper down quickly, we'll just have to sweep again anyway.
Troy and I worked quite diligently on Sunday after getting home from church with a break for the rain around 4:30 and to visit with Troy's uncle and aunt who stopped in. Apple pie is good for lifting spirits so we went back out until almost 8. The weather being so nice is encouraging and the threat of snow by the end of the week doesn't hurt for motivation either.

Monday I went out (yes on my own, since everyone asks that) after work and put in a hour or two. It was all worth it when someone drove up the drive to ask if he could put up a political sign in our yard the next morning for election day. I didn't really think about it until later, but in retrospect he was very surprised to find a woman working on a roof on her own. I was just happy he hit the cycle when I was using the nail gun! ::grin:: He commended me for working so late, and all I thought was, "It's not even 8:00 yet." I'd better watch it...I think Troy is rubbing off on me!

Still grinning,

Monday, November 03, 2008

Aerobic shingle hefting

We have commenced shingling. Once your plywood (or God forbid, waferboard/OSB) is all nailed on nicely to your trusses, it's time for tarpaper and shingles. Prior to nailing the tarpaper on, you should sweep the roof off to remove detritous, stray nails, seeds (maple helicopters for the most part) and anything else that would make a bump under the tarpaper. That would cause a stressed spot in the paper and then the shingle, potentially leading to a leak. It wants to be smooth and flat as far as the eye can see. Double check for the third time that there are no nails sticking up.

We have finished about 20% of the shingles. Each row of shingles goes on in about 15 minutes (pneumatic coil guns ROCK!), but each row only marches up the roof 5 inches. So, fast yet slow. So, we keep plugging along and will eventually overcome the roof and the rain and the snow. Somehow I had it in my mind that each bundle of shingles weighed 60 pounds. After I hefted the first batch from the pickup truck onto the roof, I decided I was either really getting old or they weigh more than that. So of course, I weighed one. 80 pounds. Well, that was a relief. I'm not quite ready for "old" status.

I used to fly airplanes with a guy who ran a construction company. Even back then, he was older than dirt. At least that's what it seemed like to me, a 16 year old at the time. I suppose he was 60. He was a pretty astute business guy, and more than anything else, he outworked the competition. When he carried shingles up the ladder, he carried two bundles. Holy CRAP batman, that guy was tough. I think he did it to make sure the young guys stayed motivated. Jeez, if the old geezer boss can run up that ladder with two bundles, I guess I better do it too. He eventually gave that up after his second hernia surgery.

Since I have no employees to impress or motivate, I'll stick with one bundle at a time. Steady pace wins the race, and no hernias. We only have 85 bundles to heave up there. To save you the math, that's 6,800 pounds of shingles, not counting tar paper and moisture barrier stuff, nails, etc.

It's a good thing I'm doing this for fun, because you could never pay me enough to do it for a living.

Finest regards,


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