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Murphy’s Law

          I might as well add Saint Murphy to my pantheon of Saints of the Fifth Dentist, the way everything that could go wrong has, and at least three times at that. Even Cap’n Nemo noticed it. He said that I was the most unlucky person he’d ever met, and I have to agree with him. After all the life lessons I’ve had to date, I have yet another to contemplate: my roof leaks. Can you top that? Can you believe that? It’s a situation so unthinkable I think I’ll just not think about it. I don’t want to think about it, anyway. Even so, it just keeps popping up in the ol’ noggin unbidden and pesky, like a herd of Jehovah’s Witnesses constantly trying to gang-save my brain.

          On New Year’s Day I was recovering slowly from the previous night’s exaltations, nursing my grievousness with a book and tea, enjoying the sun streaming in my big, beautiful windows, reveling in the snugness of my cozy home and occasionally letting my gaze drift to the swirling snow being blown from the trees and scattering on my windows as if to say “Hello in there, you cozy person in jammies! Watcha reading?” It was the first time since moving in that I was home during the sunny part of the day. That’s probably why I hadn’t ever noticed the drips. Back when the heat first got going I had seen one drippy part, but decided that it was just condensation forming on the angle iron that holds up the second story as the room warmed up. I was wrong.

          Sitting in my comfy chair I saw not only that one previous drip, but a whole line of drips, all along the angle iron that holds up the second story, on the sunny side. Even though my heat system wasn’t working properly, it was working, and the house was steadily warm, so this was no case of condensation. The Jehovah’s Witness Effect made it impossible to continue in my comfy chair, so out I went to investigate. I shoveled the snow away from the wall of the second story, and peeked under the Tyvek, where I saw wetness. It seemed that the blowing snow had insinuated its way under the Tyvek, and in the warm sun, melted and did that which water is destined to do: flow downhill. Under the elaborate, multi-layer waterproofing that seems to work on military ammo bunkers just fine, but get it even close to this bad-luck kid, and it fails. Even this has joined the conspiracy to let me down relentlessly.

          I devised plans to ameliorate the problem, but before I had a chance to implement them, it got worse. The next day, when I got home from work it wasn’t just the one, sunny wall that was leaking; it was all four of them. There were puddles in my kitchen cabinets. My favorite antique kilim from Avannos was soaked. The glue lams in the bathroom were sodden. This killed the snow-under-the-Tyvek theory, since the north-facing walls had siding on them, and the west-facing wall was tar-papered. Although it could be that the sunny side was leaking, and the water hit the angle iron and then did what it does so well: ran downhill. The angle iron is not level, but holds the rafters up for the roof, which is not flat. So the snow-under-the-Tyvek theory could still be valid. Maybe the sided and tar-papered walls were not leaking.

          Having reached, if not exceeded the paltry capacity of my carpenterial thinking skills at this point I did what I have been learning baby-step by baby-step to do so well throughout this Learning Experience: call for help. I know that Roger has discharged his duties as home builder by now, and there is no legal or even ethical reason for him to take responsibility for this problem at this point, and it is abundantly apparent that I’ll not be able to pay him for further services,  but I thought he’d like to know. His son Tell wrote in carpenter’s pencil all over the house, in places he thought no one would ever see, stuff like “Tell built this.” He even drew pictures.  So they obviously have some pride in their work, and certainly they must have a sort of forensic interest in how well all that whack-job, tree-hugging, pinko-commie alternative energy crap played out. Oh, and I’m sure there is no small element of glib, smug I-told-you-so-ness, since they’d prognosticated leakage ever since the Jurassic age of this project. Only they thought the roof would leak and not the seemingly simple joining between upstairs and downstairs. That part is no different from any boring old, predictable stick-frame house.  Roger promised to come by tomorrow to investigate. Pray to St. Murphy for me.


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