Monday, March 23, 2009


Went to Columbus yesterday to check on/visit my mother. A good time was had by all. Well, maybe with the exception of your truly. Mom's house is in a mild state of disrepair due to about 20 years' worth of neglect of upkeep, so my brothers and I are piecemeal trying to arrest any future decay so we can, at some point in the future, implement full-scale renovations (or a facsimile thereof).

Yesterday, I patched the roof. That roof is in serious trouble. Two huge old live oak trees were allowed to grow over the years without any pruning, the result being that heavy branches rubbed sections of the roof for years. In those sections, not only are the singles gone, but so is the underlying tar paper, exposing the wood underneath. This is not good when it rains. There were other sections where individual or groups of shingles were peeling up and away. Individual nails popping up. Lots of places where rain can seep in. Unable to afford the full cost of a new roof, I climbed up there with a bucket of liquid asphalt and a broom. I think I spent close to four hours working up there. My back and shoulders ache today to no end, and my hands have black smudges on them from where no amount of scrubbing could clean the asphalt away. But I'm amazed at how sore my feet are. Had I not been there and seen the shoes on my feet, I'd have sworn I worked up on that roof barefoot. It's like I walked around on that rough surface unshod for the entire time. Weird.

What stinks is that despite my efforts, the patches are temporary at best. And I know I missed smaller leaks that simply aren't obvious to the eye. Every single shingle is in a bad way, with dime- to quarter-size holes forming in their surfaces. A few more years, and the elements will have it stripped bare.

After I finished with the roof and caught my breath for a bit (hey, I'm pushing 40. give me a break) I went around the side of the house with my ax and chopped up a bunch of aggressive poison ivy that'd taken to growing up an old, dying sycamore tree. I did this a couple of years ago to positive effect, but poison ivy's persistent. Then I spent the remainder of the afternoon stacking dead limbs and branches that've been falling from the sycamore. My family'd already begun a pretty big pile of dead limbs, but more had fallen in the interim. Fortunately, even thick branches lose a lot of weight after they die and dry out in the sun. That whole tree needs to come down, but that's a project for another day.

Now Playing: Earth, Wind & Fire The Eternal Dance

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