Up on the roof. A Fiddler on the roof. Happily, the roof was not on fire. They did manage to tear the roof off that sucker. They tore it off and then, happily, they put it back on.
To be specific, we had a crew come out and tear off four layers of very old roof and replaced it with nice, new braces, plywood and shingles. It was a project that had been our to-do list for a decade or two, but it always seemed way too intimidating. Having strapped myself to a ladder and, with the aid of my wife and a hundred gallons of paint, I was able to make the old homestead a different color. Three of them, to be exact. And the scariest part of that project was the part where I had my wife on belay as she put the finishing touches around the gable at the topmost corner of our Victorian. She made it back to the ground, and that little flash of yellow is the lasting tribute to our do-it-yourself mentality as homeowners.
This past summer, when my son and I constructed a new fence on the north edge of our property, we congratulated ourselves on our speed and precision, bringing the project in under budget and in only three days. But half of the roof over our heads? If you told me back in June that a group of six men would find their way to the top of our house and replace half the roof in one day, I would have looked at you sideways. We have had various contractors over the years give us bids and looks at the challenge of all that pitch and the narrow space between us and our neighbors to the south. To a one, they came away shaking their heads and finding ways to excuse themselves from the job. A few years back, the last guy assured us we had at least another ten to fifteen years left on what we had up there now. It was an odd piece of encouragement, but since our ultimate goal was to get solar panels placed on top of that new roof, we were anxious to get to that next phase.
The future is here. After so many years of waiting and imagining what it would take to get any one of us to find a clever or safe enough way to make the work of replacing all that wood and shingles ourselves, we were the lucky recipients of the flurry that was the crew who stopped by last Friday. I have replaced faucets in the bathroom and the kitchen. I have installed cabinets and counters and toilets. Most of the plants we have put in the ground have flourished, but it took a bunch of pros to come in and put a lid on it for us. And now, the rest of our lives.