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.