Saturday, November 20, 2010

Character was built

I'm way behind again all of a sudden, so I'll just write a few posts and catch up...

I hate heights. I'll go a couple months without having to climb on a roof and I'll think I'm misremembering my wussiness, but then I'll get to the top of the ladder and freeze. It's this huge effort of will for me unpeel my monkey fingers from my comparatively safe ladder and stretch precariously over the gaping chasm and get on a stupid slanted roof. Sometimes I just can't do it - if the roof is too high or the pitch is too steep, sometimes I can't physically force myself to get on the roof. A couple times I've gotten on a roof and just frozen there, trying some deep breathing til I can screw up the remains of my courage and get back on the ladder. (The only thing worse than falling, in my twisted brain, would be the humiliation of being rescued by the fire department like a tree'd kitten.)

It's weird that it's just the move from the ladder to the roof. I can climb a 20' ladder carrying a bundle of shingles to the guys on the roof. I can carry up one end of a board, or a gallon of paint and a paintbrush clutched in my teeth. I just freak out getting on the roof.

This is a mostly irrational fear, so it doesn't matter if I'm climbing on a 1:12 pitch roof that's only 10' off the ground. I still hate it. When I set out to fix the run-in roof, I probably spent 20 minutes adjusting my ladder and kicking the run-in and yanking on the decking to make sure it'd hold me. I was like a restless dog trying to figure out exactly where to lay down and snooze. Except I didn't get to snooze!

Here's why the run-in so desperately needed roofing:

I don't think I've ever seen such a complete failure of a roof.

It took me quite a while to rip off the old roof - it was nailed down with more nails than I've ever seen in my life, and I went very slow so I didn't lose any into the pasture.

My new roofing doesn't look too hot.

It's all wavy - the decking underneath is HORRIBLE. It's still solid enough to serve, but you can see it's not nice 4x8 sheets grooved together - it's just all the scrap plywood the previous homeowner could find, cut to any size that would fit between the rafters. I'd love to rip the decking off and Fix it Right, but that would tempt me to rebuild the whole damn run-in. All I need is a dry shelter option for Dixie for the winter - I can do it right later.

Climbing up and down over and over with various tools and supplies made the ladder pretty blase. I cut the roofing to fit in the barage, then rolled it back up and carried it up in perfect lengths - bruised my poor shoulder doing it. Rolled roofing is substantially heavier than a bag of feed! I tarred the edges of each strip, so it should theoretically bond to the decking better and not leak. I only tarred up a pair of ratty gloves and my least favorite pair of jeans - no disasters there.

I ran out of daylight (and energy) that night with only one more strip to go. It was heartbreaking - I really thought I could finish in one day. The next day, I navigated I-80, did a half-day job, navigated the Highway of Death (no commuter traffic and no bikes, wahoo!!!), then got home and got the roof finished. The gentle Nevada breezes had been blowing all day at an entirely moderate 30 mph or so, so I was glad to be done, yay!

I threw all my tools off (except for the box of nails) and took this picture for yall:

I stood proudly at the edge of the roof, having conquered my stupid paltry fear of heights yet again. Another job well done, or done well, or something! My precious angel of a horse would have a dry area to hide from the wicked driving snow! Then I noticed the whole bottom row of roofing was rippling in the wind. Shit!

I spent another hour up there, adding more nails along the south and west edges of the roof. When I'd pulled the old roof, I'd noticed that the previous roof builder spaced his nails like 2" apart. I figured he had a nail gun and got excited or something - I always space nails maybe 4" apart. The more holes you put, the more chances you'll get a leak, etc. But being on that roof in the high winds Thursday really showed me WHY there were so many nails...

Another job done. Another irrational fear beat down. Another pair of gloves consigned to the dustbin.

PS - Dixie, of course, stood out in the snow all night. But it makes ME feel better, and the goats seem to like it...


  1. Well *I* am impressed. Good job!

    (and no, the horses never seem to care much. The more it costs in time/effort, the less they care. Unless it's food...)

  2. Well done!...You`ve got the bugger done!..Its not easy doing roofs, I should know, broke three ribs and a wrist, 4 years ago, when? I had finished the job, stood back to admire the work, and......fell off the bloody roof! Landed on a pile of old posts, and some fencing wire.

  3. Aarene - Alfalfa is much cheaper than grass, and it's easier to find. I think your theory continues to hold up.

    Chey - OMG DUDE! Don't tell me things like that! That's the kind of horrible Funder-esque disaster that run through my head all the time. I was very careful when I backed up to the edge to take that last picture...

  4. Funder I have the same issues you duo - that move from the ladder to wherever I am supposed to go just freaks me out. In fact it freaks me out so much I think I've actually only made the move twice in my life. There are days when I can't get past the 3rd step on a ladder. I HATE ladders!!

    Cheyenne - your story just reinforces to me why I avoid ladders, roofs and the works. I'm positive that would happen to me!

  5. Geez, will you please come here and finish my barn roof?

    I'm not afraid of heights, but I hate ladders. I'm clumsy. I'm not too fond of stairs either. In college (a long time ago) I fell down an entire flight of concrete stairs. No, drinking was not involved, but my pink fuzzy slippers were.


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