Thursday, September 22, 2011

And the roof goes on....or not

Yes, I know, I haven't been exactly diligent in posting stuff. I've been busy. After taking myself off for a week sailing in the North Puget Sound, I was forced to return to my chores at home. Largely through guilt setting in, but mainly because of impending deadlines.
Karma rules.

Our building permit is set to expire in September and we still have not finished the roof. I rented some scaffolding last week so I could install the soffits and get the trim painted before the roofers came back to install the gutters. The material for the soffit is something called Hardiboard, which is made up of fiber and concrete. They come in 8ft by 24" lengths. All appeared straight forward, so I set about erecting the scaffolding.

Day 1
This is where I noticed my first problem. I have come to the realization that me and erections are, how should I put this.....well, lets just say they are not as effortless at 56 as they were at 26. The first stage was easy, the 2nd not so easy, but by the time I hauled the 3rd stage up to the appropriate height, I was already wishing I was back on the boat.
I finished off some window trim and siding that had been left undone for about mufflemufflemuffle years and celebrated with a beer. Progress was made and all seemed hunky dory.

Day 2
This was definitely the day when everything started to go to hell in a hand basket. The overhang was supposed to be 24". It is 24" in the plans, so I automatically assumed (how naive of me) that the construction would meet the requirements. I hauled the 1st piece of Hardiboard up the scaffolding and agonizingly lifted it above my head, or at least that was where it was supposed to go. No F***ing chance.
The wind wasn't helping mind you, but it dawned on me this was not a one man job. Not only that, but the overhang was only 22". I climbed back down the scaffolding clutching the hardiboard and set up a saw table to trim off the excess. Suitably attired in a respirator and safety glasses, I trimmed off two inches off the width and scouted around for any passerby to help hold the thing in place so I could use the nail gun. The whole area was deserted (que the tumbleweed rolling down the street). I called a few friends to help, but they were all washing their hair or something, so I gave up for the day, after painting some of the trim wood ready for installation.

Day 3
My next door neighbor, who is built like the proverbial brick shit house, took pity on me and stopped his own work to help. He hauled the HB up to the top and lifted it into place while I fired the gun. Success. I was just about to trim the next piece when he asked if I'd measured the next space. No, I indeed had not. 21.5" was the answer,  so I cut the next piece. To cut a very long story short, every piece of HB had to be trimmed to fit. There wasn't one piece that met the requirements. Not one.

Days 4 through 6
With muscles aching in places I didn't even know existed, another day's help from superman (Thank you God) and an assortment of equally inept friends, the HB was trimmed installed and nailed to the joists (which were also supposed to be 24" on center, but were not, adding more farting around to process.)
The scaffolding went up and down more times then a bride's nightie. I had to stop adding the trim as I wanted to meet the scaffolding rental deadline thinking, quite wrongly as it turned out, that I could come back later with a long ladder and put it up myself.
I took it all back 6 hours later than required and faced a hefty excess, but I was so miserable by this time, they took pity on me and waived the charges.

Day 7 and ongoing.
If anyone had been watching my antics with a 24' extendable ladder, they could have been forgiven for thinking I was auditioning for a Laurel and Hardy film. I would be laughing too, if I hadn't separated some muscle tissue from my rib cage trying to stop the ladder falling through the roof of a parked car. In retrospect, I should have let it go, as the bill for my treatment (no insurance now) is more than the repair of the car would have been. Breathing is painful, coughing is worse, but laughing feels like being stabbed in the chest. So, no more Hestia and Blighty for a few days then.
The rain is falling and I still have not finished painting the trim. The roofers will be here tomorrow. If it stops for a while this afternoon, I could get it finished. A few painkillers will help and maybe a few crossed fingers.

Wish me luck.


  1. Blimey, it all sounds like deadful hard work..... get back on the boat I say....

  2. Bloody hell Legend! I'd take Lou's advice and head for the boat, pronto!

  3. Well the 8' length would have given anyone pause. I say pay someone to do this for you, then take all the credit if you wish. It's Murphy's Law. I live by it. And, btw, we were just in Seattle to board the Holland America cruise up through the inside passage. I've never seen a sight more beautiful than sailing out & back into Puget Sound. I've already told you, I wish I could live in Seattle, but I would be a starving artist who knew no one. Big Texas hug for all this hard work. Marsha

  4. Get back on the boat, man!

    And stay AWAY from ladders. If God had meant us to work 10ft in the air, he would have given us longer legs.

    Ali x


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