Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Way the Asphalt Roofing Bounces

Since our house started leaking like a sieve, I thought I should probably fix the problem, or abandon the sinking ship.

One morning last week when it was pouring, I decided to stick my head out the window and play with our window air conditioner (that helps cool the second floor). This thing was causing water to not drip inside, but actually trickle (big difference). This trickle, in turn, was working its way down the wall and out through a first floor light, just three feet from the otherwise leaking living room ceiling.

I originally had thought last year that water just wasn't properly draining out of the air conditioner. I climbed up on the roof, and checked that it was not level (should drain the right way), and that its drain hole was clearing the plywood shelf it's sitting on. Everything seemed fine. So, on this rainy morning last week, I got to see the leak at work. I realized that nearly an inch of water was sitting in the body of the air conditioner! Duh...maybe the drain hole just wasn't working. A few screwdriver pokes later, and water was pouring out the designed drain hole, rather than the improvised one in my wall! One (major) leak down, several to go...

I was (optimistically) sure the tape-popping leak in the living room was coming from a section of flat roof directly above. The roof covering had some nasty cracks, so I didn't need to use much imagination to figure out where water might come from. Yesterday morning, I climbed up on the roof with some mobile home roofing stuff. It comes in a paint can and is a nasty mix of an oily substance, and a very thick silvery / sandy substance. It's so messy, that I actually don't try to clean the paint brush when I'm done (I'm normally quite anal about cleaning and reusing brushes). Of course, this was not the first time I've used the stuff, so I started with a partial leftover can. I painted the whole roof section, and then went and finished off the newly opened can on our well cover.

Last evening, Kimberly asked why I hadn't painted the whole roof...strange... I took a look, and guess what, the old can and the new can did not look the same! Now we have a two-tone roof. Kimberly was quite gracious and said it didn't matter. Then I mentioned that I had painted the little piece that hangs down and can be seen from the ground. I'll be buying another can and paying another visit to the roof. On the positive side, we've gotten 1/3 inch of rain this morning, and no leaks (fingers crossed, knocking on wood).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ducks Gone Wild

Easter morning was a little crazier than usual at our house. Perhaps it was because the boys woke up at 6, or maybe because we started out the day by watching Bolt. Regardless of the cause, the carnage was almost too horrible to look at:

Good thing we had Super Aidan around to clean up the mess:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ode To The Ladder Climbers

Here's to all those who climb ladders for a living - roofers, painters, gutter installers, illegal underpaid handymen, and most of all, firefighters. These brave individuals go to work every day knowing that they will prop a ridiculously tall, ridiculously flimsy (given the altitude) ladder against a building, climb the ladder, and only then proceed to actually do their work. I salute you!

For those of you who don't know, heights and I don't get along well. This is why I haven't been down the seven story slide at the City Museum - I can't climb the seven flights of steps. Ethan doesn't quite get that.

I decided to start fixing our roof leak on Saturday. That involved getting out the ladder and climbing onto a section of first story roof. I actually don't have much a problem with that. However, since I had the (tall) ladder out, I decided it was a good time to inspect the second story gutters that have been overflowing. So, I wrestled the ladder up to the second story gutters (25-30 feet?) and proceeded to climb up to the most-overflowing area. To my surprise, the gutter was clean as could be. I thought "Perfect, the downspout is just clogged." That was the case, but I was not so lucky on the other half of the gutter. So, the back gutter required 3-4 dreadful trips up and down with a bucket full of gutter gunk. No big deal...

Then, the overly responsible homeowner in me took over and decided the front corner of the house should be inspected as well. No problem: Wrestle ladder down, drag to front of house, wrestle ladder back up. Gulp. The ladder had to be raised two more notches to reach these gutters, and it was on the corner of the house (which I really hate). Of course, by the time I got to the top, the breeze decided to pick up. Sure enough, the downspout was so clogged and packed it was difficult to clean. Especially one handed while the other hand (on the end of the arm wrapped lovingly around the ladder) clutched desperately to the ladder rungs. I also did this at eye level to prevent having to climb just one more rung to a point where I could probably work efficiently. I think it only took 15 minutes to clean out the 2 foot stretch. I'm sure this would have been amusing to watch.

Needless to say, I was glad to drag the ladder back to my shop and come inside. Why don't we own a ranch house?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Ode to E.R.

Goodbye old friend...

As some of you may know, the last episode of ER was on Thursday night after 15 (?) years. Kimberly and I stopped watching it a few years ago (I think around the time that Carrie was leaving) because it was too depressing. But we felt inclined to watch the last episode of a show that we had followed since it's beginning (around the time we started dating).

Sadly, all the show did was remind us why we stopped watching it -- too many depressing and rehashed story lines. Lost (Kimberly's favorite Lost blog here) is much more fun.

My final tribute to the show when they played the theme song at the end was one last "Peter Benton punching the floor move". This was a scene from the show's opening when he was still a regular character.

Maybe now we won't have to work so hard to find a different network to watch on Thursdays after the funny shows are on.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Days That Try

Yesterday was one of those great days that try our collective patience with our house. Between the time I got home, and 3:00AM, here are some of the issues that popped up:

  1. Our trash service is dumping us. They won't come up our drive anymore because of unspecified safety concerns. I can't imagine how we would get our trash to the end of our long driveway.
  2. Our beautiful living room ceiling sprung a leak that has popped some of the drywall tape. I think this is a simple roof fix. But, now our ceiling is going to need to be fixed.
  3. Water pooled in our basement. This always happens when it rains. I think I've narrowed down most of the problem to a window. It doesn't cause any problems, but it's annoying.
  4. Daphney woke me up at 3:00 when she wouldn't stop barking. She was barking at (but wouldn't go investigate) the garbage can that had blown across the yard. I almost had to go outside in my robe to solve this problem.
  5. The entire first floor smelled like sewage. This is an occasional problem when it's really windy from the north. The smell (but not materials) comes up through a basement floor drain that's connected to a field tile that's supposedly connected to our septic tank. This is easily solved by putting a bucket over the drain, so the smell was gone by this morning.

Ahh...the times that try...

On the positive side, our home theatre now has rear speakers for the first time since we moved into this house.