new roof (october, 2007) 
Ah, the joys of home ownership: if you have a house long enough, you'll need to replace the roof. Joni and I decided to save some money by doing it ourselves, and our neighbors were kind enough to help (and to show us what to do). We put off starting the work until the beginning of October--we figured that the weather would cool off by then. WRONG. Indian summer was still in full swing, and, of course, it was even hotter up on the roof. 

If you ever get the opportunity to do roofing work, pass it up. Roofing is hot, dirty, exhausting, and dangerous. 

Click on each thumbnail to see a larger version.

The roof before we started; Joni overcame her fear of heights to help tear off shingles

Look! Two guys who know what they're doing--one is actually getting paid for this crap 
My neighbor Mike (the guy on the left) and his brother Jeff. Mike was kind enough to volunteer his time;
Jeff, a professional builder, was our foreman. Here they are building up part of the roof.
Jeff says that Joni and I put the "unskilled" in "unskilled labor"

Woman of the Year Betsy Harkema, Mike's wife. She stripped shingles, too--
and it's not even her damn roof! Our daughter Beth helped, as well

After we pulled off the shingles, we laid down black tar paper, which made the work 
even hotter--think egg in a Teflon pan. All that bending and squatting reminded Joni of "back labor"--
if you've given birth, you know what that term means

During this project, Mike and Jeff kindly gave me the nickname "Pedro." And they didn't razz
me at all about being a middle-aged, out-of-shape, desk jockey government worker who's as good
with a hammer as monkeys are with brain surgery. No, not at all. 
Here's a view of the part that Mike and Jeff built...

...and here's another look, from the ground. Once the shingles were off
and the paper was down, it was time to put on the new shingles

Next, we hauled up bags of new shingles. Each bag was slightly less heavy than a Buick. 
My neighbor Andy and I carried some up, but Mike brought most of them.

Thanks to Jeff's nailguns and expertise, it was surprisingly easy and quick to put on the shingles 

Et voila: a new roof, which should last 30 years. By the time this roof needs to be 
replaced, I'll either be dead or too old to do the work myself. I'm looking forward to
never doing this again. Thank God for neighbors nice enough to help. And for beer.

Posted November 2007