Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Going Topless

For the last few years, every time it’s rained, I’ve cringed because I knew we’d have to cover our furniture with plastic and place buckets around the house in order to preserve our belongings from the all the leaks we had in our roof. This was bad enough but it really put a damper on having friends over or throwing a party. I mean, how do you explain to your guests that the shower coming in shouldn’t last long, and please ignore the water dripping down from the ceiling? Oh, and by the way, did you bring an umbrella?

We had a flat roof over the front and east side of our house, and as I’ve learned, this is not good. Flat roofs have a tendency, over time, to hold water. Certain spots will droop and allow water to pool. This means, by default, they eventually leak. Which ours did. Big time.

So hubby and I decided to put a new roof on our house. Being an interior designer, I set out to get us the most bang for our buck. Because of where our house was located on the property, we couldn’t add a garage, so the next best thing was to have an attic that would allow us to have tons of storage. So I designed it.

I talked to the roofer and structural engineers, and let them know what I wanted; a 6/12 pitch with a queens attic, one that allows you to easily walk around in the area. This raised some eyebrows, as it would take quite a bit of wrangling. But I had faith in Wayne, the engineer. I told him, “Hey I designed it, work your magic!” He grinned, and came through for me. Now everything was in place to begin.

The roofer, Mike, checked the weather reports and felt he had enough of a window to make this happen. The only problem was, so much time had passed that now hubby and I were set to go off on our 6th honeymoon (October 31st) less than a week after Mike was scheduled to start. He didn’t think that would be a problem. Four days, he said, we’ll have it done by then. And he began removing our old roof. So we'd be topless for a couple of days.

Now I’m not sure how many of you have ever done remodeling, but nothing ever goes according to plan or budget. The very same night Mike removed the old pitched roof, it rained. Of course. Luckily, for us, the old insulation acted as a sponge, so we heard it hitting above us, but it didn’t leak through into the house. We breathed a sigh of relief.

The next day the new roof began. Since hubby was at work, he tasked me with taking pictures to send to him, as the process went on, at least until he could get home. So I crawled up the ladder he’d set up and documented everything that went on. It was amazing what this crew did. They had to bring a crane in to lift the trusses into place. I watched as the crane operator skillfully lifted each truss from the street, brought it over around our neighbor's house, then gently bumped the truss against our Queen Palm. This started the truss to slowly turn as he lowered it into the exact position.

As each truss came over the house, Mike’s crew secured each one. They worked like a well-oiled machine, as they scampered and moved around, then gave the thumbs up for the next truss to come in. I took pictures until it became too dark for any footage. By then, hubby was home, and we sat out at the side yard with a couple of drinks and watched this amazing process. Even our neighbors got in on the excitement; they brought their chairs over and joined us in watching the magic happen.

The roofers got the trusses up, the plywood on, and the tarpaper and shingles in place. And just in time. All summer long we'd been lucky and not had any tropical storms come close. It was now the end of October, and as I said, Mike had checked the weather reports. We were good to go.

Remember me saying that nothing in home remodels goes according to plans? Well, Hurricane Sandy popped up at the last minute (October 27th) and skittered up the coast of Florida. Hubby and I didn't worry since we were now in the "dried in" stage of the roof. We didn't anticipate that having the flashing and gutters removed from the flat roof would cause any problems. Boy were we wrong.

I'm sitting in the living room, working on finishing up my second book, when I hear running water. I cussed, set my laptop to the side, and start hunting down all the known leak spots. All were dry. No drips, nothing. So I stood in the living room, scratching my head, wondering where the noise is coming from, when all of a sudden, I realize I'm looking at a 12' wide, wall of water in my entry area.

I hurried over and went into a panic. I had this waterfall cascading down the wall and into my house, flooding the area. There was no way could I just put a bucket out to catch it. So I ran to the laundry room and grabbed every towel I could find. I threw them down on the floor, hoping to at least contain the water. Then I began unplugging all the electrical devices from the outlet that was getting soaked.

I'm in the middle of taking care of this emergency when I hear running water coming from somewhere else.

Oh boy, I thought, where now? I checked our antique dining room. And sure enough, over the door, is another sheet of water coming down. The main problem here is the room is carpeted, so putting towels down won't help. And all of the wooden legs on the antique furniture will swell up from sitting on the wet carpeting. I'm home alone and there's no way I can lift the furniture myself.

So I texted hubby and let him know. He always has a solution to any problem, but this time, he didn't. Needless to say, he left work early so we could address this together. He lifted the furniture, and I placed towel-covered bricks under the legs.

We managed to save the furniture, used a wet vacuum to soak up about 3 gallons of water out of the carpeting, put a dehumidifier in the room, and kept our fingers crossed, as we were leaving for St. Maarten in four days. Luckily we didn't get any more rain, and Mike finished our roof while we were away.

The moral of the story? If you're going to remodel, expect the worst, keep your sense of humor, and go with the flow. The end results will be worth everything you go through. So stay tuned for more of our continuing remodeling saga. I'll let you know if we've kept our sense of humor, if we've gone with the flow, and if we're ready to kill each other.


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