Archive for December, 2009

Ice Dam(n)s

December 31, 2009

I wish I had taken pictures. Christmas Eve found my brother, my dad, and myself on the roof, in the rain, armed with a shovel, an ice blade, a tank of propane, and, essentially, a flamethrower.

But how did we get there? (this is not my beautiful house…)

Getting ready for church on the previous Sunday, my wife let me know we had water leaking through the light fixture in the baby’s room. Water inside the house is never a good thing, but water in the winter is a particularly frustrating thing. You know, cause it’s really cold out an all. Regardless, I spent the day going up on the roof, shoveling off snow, and discovering ice dams. I climbed up in our attic and searched for a hole in the roof but things were clear. I did, however, find the water pooled under our insulation between a couple joists right above the baby’s room, water that found a way down in the light fixture.

Once the back of roof was cleaned off, the water slowed down and stopped, and things seemed good. I figured I’d just need to keep shoveling the roof, etc.

Two days later, another warm day, and we found water leaking in our kitchen. I shovelled off the other half of the roof, and it dried up. I noted the ice dams were getting thicker on the roof. I discovered that above the walk-in closet (that was added on) there was ice that was about 7 inches thick. I am not making this up. The water would flow down the roof and pool behind the ice…and flow back up underneath my shingles.

Did I mention I wish I had taken pictures?

My brother arrived in town for the holidays, and it snowed. Having mentioned the ice and water, he and my dad volunteered to help me shovel off the roof.

Once they arrived and saw what we were dealing with, it was determined we had to get rid of the ice, or it would just keep piling up all winter. Which brings us back to the rain, the shovel, the blade, and the flamethrower. The weather was in our favor that day, raining and sleeting in the midst of December. We were able to slightly melt some ice and get water running off the roof to melt underneath it and break the seal to the roof. It still took lots of chopping and flaming and scraping. I’m wondering how much damage we did to the shingles while up there.

Reality and perception

December 12, 2009

I’m lately finding myself wondering “where my time goes”. Not that I don’t know–despite being part-time, there’s plenty to do during the day. I think back to a desire I had in college to be a “renaissance man.” I think of Pascal, or Decartes, or any of the thinkers who contributed significantly to mathematics, spirituality, philosophy, and science. Human beings didn’t used to be so compartmentalized in their knowledge. Sci-fi writer Robert Heinlein wrote:

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

I agree with this perspective.

I want to be able to fix the cars I have. I want to be able to hold a conversation about people’s lives. I want to sell some recorded songs I’ve made. I want to be able to grow a garden and identify the plants and animals around my land. I want to know the geography of where I live and the people around me. I want to be a better shape than “sorta doughy”. I want to be able to cook a great meal.

All these things I desire but I’m not sure if I’m working towards them properly-this is not a new problem, this is something I’ve struggled with my whole life. I think deep down, in the back of my mind, I really believed that once I moved, once I would go part time, I would really make some progress on these things. As if I somehow would start my Real Life on a particular day. Or, if not Real Life, the life of the man that I wanted to be.

And yet, each evening, even though I am part time and not exhausted from a day’s work, I still find myself usually watching TV. Granted, I have a newborn, and have not been sleeping well. And, to be fair, TV itself is not evil-it can be truth, beauty, humor all in a half-hour. Particularly when the commercials are out the mix. My daughter should be (and is) my number one priority with a bullet. But somehow I don’t feel like I’m heading towards where I should be. The question that remains for me, is what does it take to grow in the direction that I want to be? What does it take to be satisfied with who I am and the progress I’m making?

The Truck Saga (epilogue)

December 11, 2009

It snowed roughly a foot a few days ago. The truck performed admirably. I plowed snow like Mr. Plow.

Except now the brakes aren’t working. Put the parking brake on and brake fluid dribbles out of the driver side wheel well, and well, there’s not a ton of stopping power.

But you can’t win ’em all, right?