May 03, 2007

The Tale of the Long Fall

It has been quite some time since I'd last posted; and with good reason.

Thanks to my ernest desire to discover exactly how hard it is to shingle a roof, I discovered a nifty way to ellicit the loving and doting nature of my wife.

What?

Yeah, buddy, you read it proper.

After an extreme amount of cursing, sweat induced halucinations and cursing that will surely send me to the land of hotness, I was almost done with my roof. The shingles were mostly removed. And that's saying something, cause the previous owners, in their most anti-zoning rebellious behavior, decided it is better to have two layers of shingles separated by a thick, tarry layer of bitchathane (u either know what I'm referring to or u don't), followed by another two layers of shingles that were about 30 years old. Let me tell ya, I wanted to strangle the former owners cause there isn't a roofing shovel made that can tear that kinda shit up. Nope, it was all by razor knife and hand. In short, it was a fucking nightmare to get about 7 squares of this crap off my roof.

And what do I discover under this mess, but, hard insulation. No 5/8" plywood or other such sheething to properly nail the shingles to, not even any furring strips to act like sheething. In short, no fucking wonder my roof leaked.

So, here's what a typical roof should look like:
shingles
bitchathane or some other water barrier
sheething or furring strips...preferably sheething
insulation
interior roof, otherwise known as the ceiling

And, here's what mine looked like:
shingles - 2 layers
bitchathane
shingles - 2 layers
1.5" hard foam insulation
interior roof

Notice something missing? Yep..and definitely one of the most fundamental of layers. There's this crazy concept of fixing a shingle to the roof so that it fucking stays affixed when there's inclement weather. And let me tell ya, we get our fair share of inclement weather here in New Hampshire. So, when you try to nail a shingle to some foam, guess what, that shingle is gonna move all over the fucking place...hell, it might even grow some wings and fly the fuck off your roof! But, even if it doesn't make like a crazy chicken, the whole time it's moving around, it's creating a bigger and bigger hole in the bitchthane and the foam insulation. Before you know, you've got a leaky fucking roof. The previous owners, in there infinite wisdom, thought, "Hey! Let's save some money and just put a new layer of shingles down." I bet it cost them three times as much money and the roof still fucking leaks. Now I have to deal with it. Can you tell I'm pissed at the previous owners?

Ok, ok, so I got the shingles off, but, on one of the few weekends I have left before the truly cold season starts to hit, the weather turns decidedly....gloomy. Of course, water starts to drip into our lovely log home...creating nice little stains on the ceiling. Great! Something else I'm gonna have to fix. My wife, being the concerned little lady that she is says, "Is there any way you can put a tarp up there?" I respond that it's a little too slick to be safe up there on the roof. But after a few more minutes and a quick inventory of our bucket situation, I decide I have to do something about the water coming in the house cause we don't have enough manpower, nor receptacles for the beautiful torrent of rain inside our home. I get dressed and grab the tarps.

I shimmy my way up the ladder..a solid 25 feet in the air and commence laying the tarps. Now my roof is a two slope thing. Near the edge, the pitch of the roof is quite shallow so it's easy to walk around up there. However, midway between the eave and the ridge, the slope changes to, "wow, I almost need crampons" to climb around up here. I managed to lay ALL the tarps down, ending with the last one at the ridge. So there I am, blue shingle all the way to the eave and I'm at the peak of the ridge. Those of you that have roofed, or have an excellent ability to visualize my decidedly cryptic writing can virtually tell me the rest of this story.

There I sat, and I thought to myself, maybe I should get down on the other side of the roof; it's only an 8 foot drop to the ground and there's no tarp over there, so I should have some decent footing to get down. But, hell, I've been doing this for the better part of a month and I've climbed up and down that ladder and climbed around this roof, that surely, nothing could go wrong. So, I decided to go down the way I came up. But, just to be safe, I'll s t r e t c h down to the transition from steep slope to shallow slope while holding onto the ridge with my right hand. My feet are just mere inches from the transition. So, surely I must be safe?

A moment later I discovered something I wish I'd know as a child: Tarps make damn excellent slip-n-slides when wet.

Upon letting go of the ridge, I picked up speed quicker than a Jack rabbit in a humpin' contest. I went flying off the side of the house, flapped my arms as best I could, and landed in a somewhat parallel position to the ground. And. Man. Did. That. Fucking. Hurt.

I broke my wrist. I broke my back.

I spent the next day at the hospital, all jazzed up on Morphine. And let me say, I was a little disappointed with the drugs. I'd rather smoke weed before taking any of that shit again...well, at least if the intent is to alter my mind.

It is now a good time since that occurred, way back on September 23, 2006. My back is fine, and I'm even a bit sketchy on telling people I even broke my back, cause it's an insult to people with broken backs to say that I broke my back. It was a simple compression fracture and I just had to wear a brace for 8 weeks. Needless to say, I was back up on the roof the following weekend trying to get that damn thing zipped up. It wasn't easy, but I had two of my good buddies helping me since I couldn't bend over, and only had one chicken wing that worked properly. In the end, I had to hire a contractor to come in and finish it up. That's a whole other story too. Let's just say that I hate contractors. Low life, thieving bastards, the lot of them.

In any case, I'm better now. I had a plate and 10 screws installed into my right wrist. It was kinda cool to set off the metal detectors at the airport. And then had all the hardware removed because my right hand constantly hurt. Now, it's all good. I made great friends with my left hand and learned that my wife takes really good care of me when I've taken a flying leap.

There's one really good lesson here and it was posited by my best friends and mentor, Kirk S. Gillis:

"Jerry, for as long as I've known you, every time you've stopped to ask yourself a question as to the best course of action, if it was you and only you involved, you've always made the wrong decision."

So, I guess for some reason, I feel that I can take excessive liberty with my own person, but when it's others safety, I take no risk. Maybe I should treat myself with a little more respect.

Nah, fuck that.

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