my mother called me at 7:10am this morning. i already knew what it was about: the roofers had arrived and were already tearing down the old shingles. i packed up my things and left for belmont via motorcycle. i would've gotten their faster except there was some morning traffic. i'm never up at 7am so it was interesting seeing the world at that time of day. a lot of yellow buses and children going to school apparently. the sun had just risen and the sky was still bands of dawn colors. there was a chill in the air, and i wished i wore something more than my light jacket, though the windshield blocked most of the breeze.
i finally arrived by 7:30am. the sides of the house were draped in black tarp, 5 men were peeling the old shingles from the roof with special flat toothed shovels. the old shingles they'd toss down and slide gently to the ground. i couldn't get in from the front so i had to go around and use the back door. it was dark inside the house because of the tarps. my parents were just about to leave for work. i went back out again to set up the action camera so i could take a time lapse video of the roof work.
i stayed in the living room, listening to the sounds of shingles being ripped apart. one of the workers asked if he could plug his extension cord into one of the inside outlets. the manager arrived at some point, asked to see the attic space where one of the support beams was cracked. with the shingles removed, rays of light were shining through cracks in the roof planks. so hardly anything sits between the inside attic and the outside elements except a few wooden boards and a layer of shingles. the manager and another worker fixed the beam by cutting a square hole in the roof itself to move in a new beam after removing the old one by pulled out all the nails holding it in place.
my father returned by 9am and we went outside to take a look at the progress. all the old shingles were removed except for on the sunroom. they were in the process of cleaning up some of the old shingles (tossing into the dumpster) in preparation for the next stage which was laying down a sheet of moisture barrier. i finally saw the new shingles and they looked terrible, even more blue than i'd feared. it was already too late to complain about it though. maybe it will look better once installed.
my father went back to the cafe around 10:40am. the sounds changed by that point. instead of ripping, it was occasional hammering and thudding, as they began moving packages of new shingles onto the roof. later it was more hammering as they began to layer the shingles.
around 11:30am i went outside again to see the progress. 3 guys were putting the new shingles on the front side (north) of the house, starting from the bottom up. 1 guy was working on shingles on the back of the garage. the 5th guy was in charging of hauling up shingle bundles. every now and then i'd hear a very loud thud, like somebody taking a fall, but i know it's just the guy dropping off the bundles. every now and then i'd see a red truck outside, the manager returning to inspect the work. the new shingles don't look that bad, on this subdued overcast grey day, more slate than blue, sort of reminds me of the color of my own house. maybe under direct sunlight it will look more blue than gray.
my father came back home around noontime. i forgot to bring my power cord so only had a limited amount of hours on my macbook pro so i was being sparing with my computer use. the sun out for a little bit, and for a while the temperature felt warmer than the actual 59°F. one of the workers (the youngest one) asked me if he could use the microwave. i brought him inside where he heated some central america dish of red sausages, rice, and a puffy white arepa. it smelled pretty good and i was tempted to ask him what it was but didn't want him to feel pressure to share. my father made some pork-filled fish balls soup for lunch. i found out why my father picked blue as the shingle color, because he thought it'd match the blue of the solar panels. unfortunately he forgot that LG panels are actually black.
around 1pm there was a brief lull as the hammering stopped and the workers ate lunch. around 1:30pm work began anew, with 3 guys on the roof putting down shingles while the other two either brought up more bundles of shingles or were cleaning up. carrying up the shingles was especially strenuous, as each bundle easily weighed anywhere between 60-80 lbs. throughout the day every now and then i'd see the manager in his red truck pulling up to the house to inspect the work before leaving again, perhaps to a different job site. he reminded me of titus' construction worker boyfriend mikey (mike carlsen) on kimmy schmidt.
by 3pm they were mostly done. one worker was up on the top of the roof installing the shingle covered ridge vent. the manager came by one last time to pick up the check. one of the neighbors came by to admire the new roof and asked me how much it cost as he needed to replace his roof as well (35+ years). the workers spent the next hour cleaning up, including going around the yard with a magnetic wheeled sweeper to pick up any loose nails (mostly nails from the old shingles). they finally left close to 4pm, after working nearly 9 hours.
the moment they left, my father and i went out with gloves on to toss some stuff into the large dumpster still sitting out on our front lawn. the contract specifically said we weren't allowed to toss anything into the dumpster, but we'd paid for it, and figured it was our right to throw away some junk, which was mostly construction material anyway, like broken windows and damaged wooden fencing, nothing hazardous or chemical. but just to cover our tracks, we sort of tried hiding our additions with some shingles, but it was still pretty obvious, so we ended up not bothering with subterfuge. the workers also left behind an unopened bundle of shingles as well as a box of coiled nails.
just as my father and i were about to leave, my sister showed up. she saw the new roof and didn't complain, so that was a good sign. and why would she complain? it was partially her fault that she didn't make herself clear when she called the roofers to change the shingle colors and they never did.
even though i wasn't the one who was working all day, i still felt super tired by the time i returned to cambridge. after a shower i nearly fell asleep on the couch, and the only reason why i didn't was i was afraid my roommate would return home and find me asleep in the living room.
i forgot to feed the fish early this morning. i found them still hundled underneath the driftwood, still traumatized by the algae removal chemical i added sunday morning even after a did another subsequent water change. when i sprinkled the fish flakes, they were acting pretty jittery, dashing up to the surface to feed.
i spent the rest of the evening studying up for my technician ham radio license test which i've decided to take on wednesday night at MIT. i made that decision last night when i discovered you could take practice exams (35-questions multiple choice) online directly through ARRL, which helps tremendously with studying. the first few times i've taken it i got 8-10 questions wrong, which is barely passing, but that was without reading key chapters in the manual, and more just based on my own knowledge.