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It’s raining in our dining room

October 21, 2009

No way can I post a photo of the leak to end all leaks. It’s just too hideous. So, in the interest of adding imagery to all my blog posts, here’s a cool shot of something unrelated to the roof fiasco:

StillLifeWithToys Still life with toys in the Bisti

I adore rain. The fall light is messing up my equilibrium, but when the clouds roll in and everything is shrouded in pearled drops of water, I feel myself settle. Everything softens.

But then comes the inevitable sound of water on plastic.

We have this elaborate catchment system in place in the dining room. Chris has screwed a large piece of plastic into the ceiling to funnel the drops that appear along the seam of ceiling and “beam” into a Rubbermaid tub. Tonight, when the dripping sound threatened to overwhelm us all, he taped a length of black PVC pipe to the end of the funneled plastic, and the water was channeled quietly into the tub. Better but…overall, still deeply depressing. The rain started at dinnertime and by bedtime, the bucket (this is not a small bucket, mind you) was nearly full.

We bought this money pit of a house 6 years ago. Originally a tiny tract house with a one-car garage, the previous owners converted part of the garage into living space, creating a sort of sun room. Problem was, they used railroad ties as beams, and particle board in the ceiling instead of drywall. I’m not even sure there’s insulation in that part of the roof. Maybe.

The inspector warned us that the roof would need replacing at some point soon, but he didn’t predict that a small leak would spring over the couch (the space was once our living room) when the rains came. It wasn’t too bad, at first. Chris, who is infinitely brilliant when it comes to repairing and renovating our living space, patched the roof and solved the problem.

Then, a little more than 2 years after we moved in, a storm swept in that dumped 30 inches of snow on our house. The snow was so deep we could barely drive down our driveway in our burly 85 Landcruiser (The Moose…plenty more about The Moose in future installments).

The dog nearly got lost in our own backyard.

The snow was lovely, and record-setting, but it completely destroyed the roof in that spot. The drip started up again, and until everything could dry out, there wasn’t much we could do about it.

We mortgaged the house well before this in order to replace the heating system, redo the kitchen entirely, move the laundry room out of the kitchen, and put in all new flooring. We also converted the rest of the garage, replaced the bedroom carpets, gutted the master bathroom, and…then the money ran out. The market tanked. We got stuck in mortgage payments far surpassing the actual value of our home. I get queasy every month when I write out those payments. My hand threatens rebellion when faced with the checkbook…

Now, Chris’s job takes him away nearly every week, leaving little time and no energy for him to try to fix things on the weekend. We’re in super survival mode.

Consequently, we’re living in a weird limbo that means…we have to listed to the sound of dripping water in our dining room when it rains.

There could be worse things. We could still have horribly cold baseboard heaters that don’t heat anything up but cost a fortune. We could still have our nasty old fridge that sounded like it was about to lift off into outer space. We could still be suffering through the din of the washer and dryer in the kitchen.

There could be even worse things than those: we could be dealing with insurmountable medical bills or heartbreaking medical conditions. We could be bankrupt. We could be unemployed. We could be mourning the loss of a family member. We could be….so many other things that we are not.

I didn’t think I’d be raising four kids in a three-bedroom house with a leaky roof and only one bathroom, certainly. And though I worry about what blackness is undoubtedly growing between our dining room ceiling and the roof, at the very least we have one of those.

A roof, I mean.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Lynn Regudon permalink
    October 22, 2009 7:01 pm

    Ana –
    Your mom sent me the link to your blog. I have to say to YOU what a good writer you are, and how much I enjoy your special perspectives. Your imagery is wonderful. It is that, perhaps, that especially attracts me to a writer–I love mental pictures. And you write in such an easy, conversational style that I am right there with you in your moment.

    Your photography is right up there with your writing, too. Both you and your mom have a special eye for the right picture–and the equipment to capture it. Years ago I suggested to her that the two of you could make wonderful coffee-table books. I see books in your future, for sure, and would love to see a collaboration for at least one red-rock country book with her.

    Cheers! You have taken the Blog to a new level.


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