Tuesday, September 24, 2019


Little Man, the most recent addition to the Highlands Bangor household does NOT like the rain, does NOT like the waterfall descending from the gutterless roof, does NOT like to step in the puddles where the bricks are missing from the back path.  But since he is pacing around the house, picking up household objects and double-dog-daring me to do something about it, I put a leash on him and drag him outside, through the waterfall and onto the path, and then I stand there in the rain cackling and blocking his flight back to the house until he has done what his misbehavior told me he needed to do.

At least I am laughing.

The house is quieter since Zaphod, Trillian and the little people have moved south.  Not only are there fewer footsteps and voices, but there is less banging.  Not so much whirring of power tools.

Maybe the silence is what made me think a greyhound puppy was a good idea.  Unlike Butterface, he's a howler, and he's taught her to sing with him.  He's also a barker: often at inconvenient times in the morning; always when he wants to go out and IT'S RAINING.

The rain has been something of a theme of my last year.  A wet fall.  A wet winter.  A wet spring.  A wet summer.  My general outlook may have made it seem like there was more rain than there really was, but there was enough that it found its way between and around and through and into the house.  What I had hoped were old stains have found new life.

And every time I called my father - "Have you found anyone to fix the roof yet?"

Unlike painting or tiling or refinishing floors, roofing is one of those jobs that does not lend itself to evening and weekend DIY.  Neither does gutter repair when the gutters in question are integral to the roofline of the house and lined with metal which must be bent to the correct shape and then welded.

"Have you found anyone to fix the roof?"

One roofer passed away.  The next was too busy and had health problems.  The third came recommended by a friend, but he clearly didn't want the work and inflated his price.  I think he was disappointed when I didn't hang up on him.

I called a real estate agent.  She came and looked around, at the wires hanging out of walls and ceilings, at the water stains, at the missing dining room ceiling.  She asked for my minimum selling price and then shook her head.  "Stop the water.  Cover the old damage.  Call me again next year, if you want to."

I spent more time in the dark yard with Little Man on his leash as the summer rain came down.

"The house has been here for almost 200 years.  It's not going to fall down this winter." I told my father.  He threatened to climb onto the roof with a tarp.  I went to Facebook for advice.

The man who eventually responded to calls and came to see me is surprisingly young and seems in good health.  He claims he is excited to take the job and that he can do it this fall.  If it doesn't rain.

I debate whether the cost is worth it; whether I can make it another season; whether copper snowguards and gutter lining are investments or vanity.  But I remember lining a window sill with mugs.  And I remember the ceiling that came down on Trillian's Christmas tree.  And I remember the snow crashing off the roof to melt and re-freeze on the driveway.

And I remember when I loved the sound of rain and when I thought this house was beautiful.  Is it possible to buy those back?

Little Man doesn't care about any of these things.  He knows he does not like the rain.  It was too wet today for a walk or a trip to the dog park.  But the house is dry and I am home and so he works off his extra energy, zooming with enthusiasm through the kitchen and family room - back and forth - while I curl up on a couch with Butterface to keep both of us out of his way.

At least I am laughing.