Friday 26 November 2021

The Roof And Other Things

We had a wind and rain storm a couple of days ago. Some parts of Nova Scotia received torrential rainfall in a short period of time. We had ample warning but that wasn't enough to save some roads from being washed out and some homes from being flooded. As in other regions, climate change is bringing our province unusual weather and damaged infrastructure and dwellings. To the east of us, the province of Newfoundland has also suffered.

On a personal level, I was lucky to avoid flooding, but I did lose a number of shingles to the wind. I've been trying to get in touch with a roofing company, with no luck so far. I imagine they are busy.

In the meantime, I had a "duh" moment when discussing the roof with my big brother. He advised me to contact my insurance company. Well, of course that's what any normal person would have thought of first. Why have insurance in the first place? Sometimes I wonder where I've parked my brain and if I'll ever remember how to get back to it.

My husband and I always had what we considered to be an efficient and effective division of labour in our household. He took care of things like house repairs, vehicle maintenance, and financial stuff. I took care of things like meals, housekeeping, and gift giving. It's not that we couldn't have done a lot of what the other person did; it's that we chose not to because of our individual strengths and because we each enjoyed the jobs we took on.

Now the gaps in my base of knowledge and experience are showing. 

Because my husband worked long hours at his job, at least I learned how to clean out a sink drain, unclog a toilet, shut off the water and electricity, maintain the air exchanger, paint a wall, mow the grass, and shovel snow. It's not much, but it's a start.

Did you ever have a point in your life where you suddenly realize you had gaping holes in your knowledge base for everyday life? Or have you always been an adult, even when you were a child?





Anonymous said...

I don't cook or clean, but I can and I can clean well, cook well not so much. I have no reason to as R cooks much better than I would. We to divide what we do into our areas of what we do well. But then one day that will all change when one of the experts in their field will no longer be around. Which of us will be angry with either of us because we left the other person alone.

Frankly I am terrified it will be me left alone.

Safe to say, you've been there and are surviving.

But what is an air exchanger?

Charlotte (MotherOwl) said...

Good that it was only some tiles flying off!
When bad things happen, I often look for an adult, only to discover that I AM the adult around here - scary.
I often feel like I'm still the child, listening to the grown-ups talk. I see simple idealistic solutions where they see unending problems. They use strange words and names, I never heard before. I can feel older, grumpier, but grown-up? no. And I am the handyman around here, repairing, drilling etc, with hubby mostly cooking and baking (I can do, but don't like to). We share cleaning, and shopping. He handles money issues, as numbers and I do not go together, and I handle the 'not running out of supplies' issues.
We all have those holes, I suspect, only some are better at covering up.

Elephant's Child said...

I am frequently appalled by the gaping chasms in my knowledge base - and fear I don't have the time or the memory to fill them.
That said, my inner child is often the happiest and healthiest part of me.
I am very glad that you escaped the worst of the storm - and feel for those who did not.
Hugs dear friend.

Lisa Southard said...

I've always been pragmatic, which translates as willing to try and get it wrong, although would rather someone else got on the roof. Hope you get your house lid sealed soon x

Mike said...

I read the about me pat that said "mother, grandmother". Get one of those lower beings over there on the roof. Unless your roof is a high pitch roof. Mine is 5/12. I can get up there and walk around with no problem. High pitch roofs require roofers.

Joan (Devon) said...

I'm sure I would cope on my own (without the disability) as I had to cope on my own when my husband worked abroad. Getting major jobs done satisfactory is a wonderful feeling and I wish you well with your roof tiles.

My comment on your last posting didn't go through, so I hope this one does.

Take care Jenny.

dinthebeast said...

Glad the damage wasn't too severe. We seem to be settling into another "La Nina" winter, which means not nearly enough precipitation, and have only had one real storm so far. That one was a doozy, though, an "atmospheric river" that dumped five inches of rain on us.
Zsuzs has been working on the roof for months. She was up there this very morning, replacing parts of it and installing some skylights to brighten up the upstairs a bit. It's tricky work since the house is a geodesic dome, and on a steep hillside beneath big trees.
Every time I talk to her about the weather she just says "Just don't snow yet, please..." She has had some help from her friend Zac, but she is more than capable of most construction work herself, thank you very much...
I sort of feel like if I'm the designated adult, something went wrong in the planning, although before my stroke I was right there for most maintenance and repairs.
I kind of have a good sense of when a task is beyond my means, though, and have found that quite useful over the years.

-Doug in Sugar Pine

jenny_o said...

Andrew: You clearly know where I'm coming from, then :) An air exchanger is a ventilation system to bring fresh air into a house and expel "used" air (is that the right term?). Many homes here don't have fresh air intakes via central air conditioning because up until a few years ago we didn't need air conditioning. And our house has electric heat so there is no fresh air intake for a furnace. After we built this house, with its modern code requirements, it was so tight that the first year while the lumber was drying out our windows ran with moisture. That led to some mold but also just a lot of stale air. We had the air exchanger put in to counteract that.

Charlotte: Yes, shingles seem minor compared to flooding and being cut off from services by washed out roads. Although, if my roof is leaking due to the loss of shingles, it could lead to water damage in the interior, too. I don't know yet if that's the case; I can't get into the attic to see. I know what you mean about still feeling like a kid in a grownup's world. I feel less like that than I used to, now that I've had to face more stuff by myself.

Elephant's Child: I'm glad I'm not alone in this feeling. I've had some very panicky moments/hours/days since my husband died, trying to cope with claims and repairs beyond my scope and the fine print in everything. I'm glad I have my family to help but I try not to bother them too much. I know I need to learn stuff but sometimes it makes me very anxious. I'm glad you have that inner child to experience joy. And yes, I do feel for those worse off than I am. Somehow, in the middle of my own panic, it's hard to focus on that.

Lisa: I need to be a bit more like you - willing to try and get it wrong. I can get frozen into inaction by fear of getting it wrong. And the roof is definitely not the place for me. I can barely climb on a chair without feeling like I'm being somehow pulled over and down.

Mike: My grandkids are 7 and 6 and the house is two and a half storeys at the back, so no thank you :D Now I have to look up what pitch our roof is. Something else I have no idea about. I envy you for being able to walk around with no fear of heights.

Joan: I didn't get your last comment in moderation or I would have published it. Blogger seems to be acting up lately. I can imagine that you would develop a lot of competencies when you were basically living on your own with no one to immediately fall back on. I hope I get that sense of satisfaction you mentioned. It might help motivate me to get the rest of my To Do list done.

Doug: Good on Zsuzs for being able to do major construction work! I know where my limits are, too. You and I can sit on this bench here and watch the agile people climb on the roof, okay? :) As for that rain you got, that's too much in one shot. I wish we could even out the extremes in weather but that will take more commitment than we got at the COP26, won't it?

River said...

I have many gaping holes in my knowledge. Having lived in rental properties most of my life, anything that went wrong was fixed by the landlord. I do know how to cook and clean although you might not think so if you dropped in right now and looked around, but at least the bed is made. Where I shone was working within my budget, we never had bill collectors threatening us with "Final Notices", and we always had enough to eat and clean clothes.

e said...

I'm sorry for all your worries and hope the roof is sorted quickly. Sending hugs from me and Lukas.

messymimi said...

Some people here still have "blue tarp" roofs because of the last hurricane, and we've had leaks and troubles, too, so i understand. My hope is your insurance will cooperate and help you quickly.

It was Erma Bombeck, i believe, who once said that if she had to take all her stills with her when she went, she wasn't going. It's that way with me at this house.

And no, that doesn't mean i am a competent grown-up, it means i've learned to do what i have to do to get by, kicking and screaming all the way!

dinthebeast said...

Yeah, it does kind of seem that way. I kind of figured we would be in for this kind of future when Bush v Gore was decided. Two decades ago we had a real chance at changing the things that are causing the climate to go off balance, but instead we installed a government full of oil men, and we'll never get that lost time back.
Although there are some really encouraging developments in the field of renewable energy, so it's not exclusively doom and gloom, getting them up and running is an entirely different subject.

-Doug in Sugar Pine

Bonnie said...

I'm sorry to hear you've lost some shingles but I'm sure glad it wasn't worse for you. It sounds like you know how to do most of the really important things around the house and I know you are a very smart lady and can take care of more than you think! There are areas where I am not good at taking care of some things but I seem to get by for the most part. My mother was sick a lot when I was growing up so I took care of many jobs around the house at an early age. Now the past couple of years my husband has not been well and I am taking care of almost everything here, so good or bad we are dealing with it. You have been under so much stress the past year and despite that you are handling everything very well and should be proud!

Mary said...

Hoping the roof situation is sorted soon--by the insurance company and not you.

Think from my mid-teens, when my father had a heart attack, I became an adult. Thankfully, he had taught me many skills not typical for young girls back in the early 1960s (e.g. mixing cement, laying brick, putting up drywall, painting). Hated to wait for anyone to do something I thought I could do putting up a ceiling fan, moving heavy furniture, etc., etc.. Stood me in good stead as a single mother of four for many years. But, of course, being in my eighth decade means that my body isn't quite as happy to see me do these things now. Try to use reasonable judgement about what I will and won't do anymore. Climbing on the roof is definitely out of the question, but I haven't quite given up moving furniture. :)

Steve Reed said...

Well, I was single for the first 43 years of my life, so I learned to manage most things pretty well. Now I tend to handle financial things and housekeeping, and Dave does food and shopping (as well as being our main breadwinner). It makes sense to have a division of labor but I think it's important for each to know what the other is doing.

jenny_o said...

River: Financial capability is a huge skill and you can be proud of what you've done in that regard. Too many people of all ages can't say the same.

e: Thanks - and I hope you and Lukas are doing better after his crappy night not long ago ...

Mimi: It must be awfully hard to get people to work on new roof problems with so many still to be done from before. You sound like a competent grown-up to me, by the way :)

Doug: I wonder how much different the world would look if Gore had gotten in. Wishful thinking at this point, but I still wonder.

Bonnie: You're always so encouraging; thank you. I'm sure it was hard having your mother be sick so much when you were growing up. The other side of that is that you did gain those skills. I'm sorry your husband continues to be unwell. This has to be a hard time for both of you. Sending you good thoughts, Bonnie.

Mary: Wow - good on you AND your dad for teaching you all those skills. You were young to take on those things after your father's heart attack. And yes, using good judgement about our capabilities is a skill all its own :)

Steve: Exactly. Unfortunately, in busy day-to-day life, somehow we never got around to actually switching roles. I think I did absorb some things from watching my husband, though. I fixed a toilet recently after it started running. Baby steps :)

Diane Henders said...

I'm sorry to hear about your storm and flooding. Seems both coasts are getting hit with this crazy weather.

I think gaps in our knowledge are inevitable - nobody can know how to do everything, all the time. Every time a new "situation" comes up, we gain another handful of skills we never wanted to have. ;-) Hang in there...

Cherie said...

My family all seem to look to me to be the adult/fixer of things.... and I don't want to be..:-)

The Happy Whisk said...

I don't ever recall wishing I was any age then the one I was, at the time. But I'm not sure. As for gaps, that's what learning is for. I freakin' LOVE learning to do new things. It's fun to jump in an try a new thing, like building a table, or using a tool I never used before. So fun.

kylie said...

There are a vast number of things I can't do due to a knowledge gap or to disability or a combination of the two.

I grew up in a very traditional household and went to a girls school so never learnt things like how to use a drill or do "handy" type jobs.

My girls are pretty talented at all that stuff (the boys lack confidence) and have great intentions but are consumed by their own lives.

The house is overgrown, there are things I'd like hung on the walls, painting to be done etc etc

It frustrates me to no end.

My husband used to do some of this stuff, when he felt like it, which was better than nothing at all. Now he is working as a handy man but I can't afford to pay him :)

Your brain will come back, I promise!

37paddington said...

Oh, gaping holes for sure. I remember my mother in law telling me she hadnt changed a lightbulb in 30 years, but after her husband had a stroke she found the ladder and now the job was hers. It's the small things that can hijack you, I imagine. Hugs, friend.

Susan said...

The most stupid thing I did as a child was let my brother tie some string around one of my perfectly solid teeth, tie the other end to a door and slam it shut. He needed money and thought the tooth fairy could supply it. Why didn't he choose to sacrifice one of his own teeth, I guess he knew a mug when he saw one. The tooth did not come out but snapped in half and I was duly off to the dentist. I am useless at practical things but have the gift of laughter, which I so admire in you.

jenny_o said...

Diane: I think BC is winning the bad-weather contest, although winning sounds like the wrong word. You guys just keep getting bashed, over and over. Stay safe there.

Cherie: It must be tiring always being the one who steps forward to take care of stuff. I didn't know how that would feel until after my husband died.

Happy Whisk: I wish I felt that way. Maybe someday, after I have a few wins under my belt ...

kylie: Maybe for the holiday season you could ask your kids to do certain jobs for you as their gift to you?

37p: Your MIL put into words what I've been feeling. It's not the big or little things, really - it's the fact that EVERYTHING is now my job.

Susan: Oh no! Your story made me cringe-laugh! My brother and I did some stupid things too. In my defense, he was four years older and should have known better :) A good sense of humour is one of my best defenses, and although it's been missing for a long while, it's starting to come back lately, which is a relief. Thank you for that kind comment.

Mr. Shife said...

For me, the gaping holes seem to be getting bigger, jenny_o. I am glad to hear that you only lost some shingles. Hope the insurance company takes care of you.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

There have been a few occasions when I have also forgotten that we pay house insurance premiums every year... like the time I tripped on the back doorstep and sent a full tin of gloss paint over the carpeted kitchen floor. Why did I feel guilty about claiming for a new carpet? I hope you don't get any leaks after losing those shingles.

jenny_o said...

Mr. Shife: Oh no - do I have bigger gaping holes coming to me too?? The insurance company sent out their contractor right away, which was great. The roof isn't fixed yet because the weather has been rainy or snowy ever since, but there were no leaks and that was a relief.

Mr. Pudding: Oh my goodness - what a mess that would make. Definitely good to have insurance for that. I'm glad it's not just me that had a disconnect between monthly insurance payments and actually having them be useful at some point ... The roof guy looked in the attic spaces and said they were dry and the roof should not leak, but they are going to replace the damaged shingles ASAP. If the weather would just cooperate now, that would be good.

baili said...

your current feelings to have gaping holes seems so normal to me dear Jenny as you mentioned your husband and you performed duties that varied mostly so when you encounter to some unexpected situation your first reaction is ooops what to do ,in such traumatic circumstances particularly your brain seems stuck at first until fog is cleared and you can see correctly. you will do just fine though i can see how fast learner you are .

your sharing despite of how much i love to read them make my heart heavy and make me think about those ladies who had to face such situations in life in really early age ,the sister of my mom widowed when she had little children and was forced to married with the younger brother of her late husband ,they say her cry and shouts had been reaching to sky when they marrying her with boy who she raised as mother as he was hardly ten or some when she had married to his elder brother ,i wonder about her pain and suffering then and the possible painful times she could have encountered if she had refused to marry him .

your part of land is very liberal and difficulties you face seem little less intense than women face here .
please stay strong my beautiful amazingly wise friend ! hugs and blessings!

jenny_o said...

baili: Yes, my friend, I am lucky to live where I have such freedom of choice, and your kind remarks have made me take a second look at that good luck and be thankful for it. How sad for your aunt to be put in such a situation, and I know she is not the first woman - or the last - to have lived through such hardship, in many parts of the world. Thank you for your always kind and generous comments; you have a deep understanding of the world and I am so happy to have gotten to know you through the magic of the internet.