finally it was happening. after years of talking about it, and then last fall actually getting a few roofers to come and give us estimates, steve and i were finally replacing our roof. it all started because his skylights were leaking. he wanted to get them replaced and thought i'd share in the cost, but his window guy told him we should replace the roof instead because 1) it was old and 2) even if the windows were replaced it'd still drip water if the roof was leaking.

my day started early, basically as soon as i heard steve rumbling in his kitchen at 6:00. by 7:00 ranch roofing had arrived. bob was our contact person, with his 9 member crew consisting of a brazilian foreman and 8 hondurans. according to the contract, this was the work they were going to do:

we hereby propose to furnish and perform the labor necessary to strip and dispose of existing roofing material down to roof boards, inspect roof deck and nail off all roof boards, as needed. replace all damaged roof boards, up to 64 sq./in.ft. add $2.25 sq./in. ft. thereafter. install shingle vent II on main house, install ice and water shield 6' up from bottom edges, around dormers, a full 36" width throughout the entire valley length, at low slope transition areas, around all protrusions to include, but not limited to, pipe and/or plumbing protrusions, skylights, and a full 13" around all rake edges. the rest of the roof shall be covered with grace triflex 30 HP underlayment, install 8" mill drip edge on all edges of roof, remove lead from base of chimney, replace with new lead and seal with high-grade tremco dynomic caulking. install 30-year certainteed landmkark/woodscope architectural shingles, replace all pipe boots. price: $8960

i don't even know what most of that stuff is. i hope it isn't all phooey, and just some salesman tactic of throwing out a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo that sounds really fancy and expensive but when in fact it's pretty much standard roofing practice.

i went outside when i saw steve chatting with bob. the crew wasted no time in raising ladders and putting down canvas tarps on the houses next to ours, before they began stripping off the old roof shingles. bob left his guys while he went off to do another job. luckily there was street cleaning on our side of the street today, so the roofers parked their vehicles right in front of the house, including a large commercial dumpster. when the sweeper truck came around later in the morning, the guys simply moved everything before moving them back.

for the rest of the day the house was under siege, filled with the non-stop sounds of thumping, stomping, crashing, hammering, and sawing. at times it felt like living underneath a dance club, or being inside a dryer tumbling with sneakers. i had all my blinds drawn so it was dark inside the house. i took the opportunity to back up some files and photos on my external drives.

all the local networks were still broadcasting marathon bombing coverage. is it insensitive for me to say i'm sick of hearing about all of it? i must've seen those same explosion footages a thousand times now. and there's no real news as of yet, they're just rehashing the same tidbits over and over again. one thing i did notice was all the new anchors were wearing black to mark the somber occasion - everyone except WCVB's bianca de la garza, who decided to go with an inappropriate red, with an equally inappropriate display of décolletage. i also never noticed this before, but all the women anchors are blondes for some strange reason.

around 9:00 i got an e-mail from steve letting me know they found a lot of rotten roof boards, which needed to be replaced. i had a feeling this was going to happen, so i was already prepared for the bad news emotionally. i figured at most it'd add a few hundred dollars to the final cost. later he sent me a few photos one of the roofers had sent him showing large gaps between the boards - boards that hadn't been replaced since the house was built in 1903, and were even held in place with old-school square nails. the one good news was the exposed attic space was at least dry. some of the workers went out to get some replacement roof boards.

the only time the roofers stopped working was around noontime, where they all paused to have lunch. i wondered they went to use the bathroom but they must've been using steve's place because they were also working on the inside to replace his 8 skylights, so his front door was open the whole day.

i went out briefly in the afternoon to get some groceries. since all the news were just non-stop marathon bombing coverage, i hadn't heard anything about the weather since sunday, so i didn't realize it was in the 60's outside when i went out wearing my jacket layers. it was too much of a hassle to take them off so i kept wearing them. i talked with the general contractor guys working on the harris street condo. they were on their lunch break and asked about my motorcycle. i told them i was temporarily sidelined because i broke my collarbone. the guy sitting in the truck told me he broke his 3 times: twice in motorcycle accidents, one last time in a fistfight. the other guy - the rastafarian dude - said he broke his one time when he walked into a pole. we got to talking about the marathon bombings and everyone had their own opinions. the trucker was a bit of a racist, and made some disparaging remarks about muslims, and said mayor menino should be fired for incompetence, although i'm not sure what the mayor could've done to prevent the tragedy. i told them i personally thought it seemed more like domestic terrorism.

market basket was unusually empty for some reason. maybe people were too freaked out to go outside. i bought 13 items so i couldn't check out in the express line.

in the late afternoon, while half the crew were still up on the roof nailing shingles, the other half were busy cleaning up the mess. i tried not to think of the collateral damage; at the very least i knew plants were trampled, but even if i warned the roofers before hand, i don't think it would've made any difference. half of any roofing job is about demolition, and there's nothing meticulous about it.

by 5:00 the cleanup was done, like magic. you wouldn't know what a mess the place was, other than a few missed shingles hiding in the plants. the crew all filed into a van like a single unit. the foreman walked steve and me around the property, pointing out a few spots where they damaged the houses, the most glaring of which was a shattered storm window on renee's place. i had another screen window ripped and a piece of the frame had been chipped off.

bob came back around 7:00. he went upstairs to talk to steve, then later steve came down to get me. "bring your checkbook," he said. my share came out to be $3657, about $300 more than the original estimate due to the additional roof board replacements. whatever i had to pay was nothing compared to steve's share. since we split our condo bills 40/60%, he ended up paying about $6000 for the roof, but then an additional $5000 for his 8 new skylights. sucks to have so many skylights!

later i brought bob around the house to show him the damage. he was very contrite and said he could have somebody come by tomorrow to fix everything. he said something about coming by and picking up the roof shingles. i was confused at first, until i realized the roofers actually finished the roof. i thought the stacks of shingles meant they'd be back tomorrow, but those were just extras. bob ended up taking them in his prius, i was surprised he managed to fit them all.

the weird thing about having a new roof is since all the homes are so close together and the houses themselves are kind of narrow and tall, we hardly ever see our roof. so all that sweat and tears for what? but i guess i'll never have to worry about a leaking roof ever again. and a new roof does increase property value, although i'm not looking to sell anytime soon.

for breakfast i had a yoplait, for lunch i had some granola with more yogurt (plain), for dinner a sandwich. i forgot to buy cheese so quickly ran across to star market to pick up a package of sargento's aged swiss ($3.99, 11 slices).