For the last five months, I’ve had approximately 1,380 pounds of roofing shingles weighing on my soul.
Now, I didn’t know the exact weight of this project until I had to carry all of those shingles up a ladder over the weekend, but I did know that 1.) I have never roofed anything before, 2.) I hate being on roofs, and 3.) It had to get done. (Why? Because the bank said so.)
I thought long and hard about hiring this project out to a professional, but the fact is I’m reserving all the money I have set aside for “professional help” for a therapist, when this house sucks out the last bit of sanity I have left. Or else for the guys that are going to rebuild some sashes for my 150 year old windows. (Sanity, windows, windows, sanity… it’s a toss up.)
Anyway, since I decided against professional help, there was only one thing left to do… suck it up and climb up on the roof.
It doesn’t look so bad from the ground, but here’s the real story once you get up close and personal.
Yeah. Super fun to walk around on.
If you’ve been around this site for more than five minutes you know that I’ll normally take on any project without hesitation. Even if I know the project is going to suck, I still get pumped at the opportunity to challenge myself and learn something new. But this? But the pervasive feeling I had going into this weekend can only be described as grim determination wrapped around an unmistakable sense of dread.
Luckily I had a friend willing to stop by Saturday morning and help get me started, which gave me about zero minutes to dwell on my paralyzing fear of standing on the roof because I only had a few hours to learn everything I needed to know about roofing. And it only took about an hour for my body to produce enough adrenaline so that I could actually install shingles with my eyeballs open.
This was my view for most of the day. Not at all disconcerting.
But well worth the difference it made.
I had help for the first four hours of the day, then spent the next six hours tackling the rest of the back and starting on the (even more nerve-wracking) front on my own.
After ten hours on the roof I was so desensitized to the fact that I was on a roof, that I totally laid back and “rested my eyes for a minute” which ended up being a half-hour nap.
On a roof.
You can imagine the endless amusement I provide to my neighbors…
“What is she doing now?”
“It looks like she’s…. is she sleeping on the roof?
“Oh, god. Is she at least wearing pants?”
Okay, actually, my neighbors are awesome. Not only do they seem completely unfazed by my antics and the three foot tall weeds in my yard, but they totally came over Sunday morning to help me haul the last few 60-pound bundles of shingles up this ladder.
Also, that board you see on the roof jacks? That’s a 12 foot long 2×10, and I could not have done it without that thing. I didn’t actually use it except for climbing on and off the ladder, but it was the mental safety net I needed to get over my way-too-high-up-without-a-railing paralysis.
And around 3:30 Sunday afternoon, something happened for the first time ever in my 8 years of big DIY house projects…
I finished one early.
I know, right? That never happens. I definitely thought I’d be up on that roof for the better part of the week, but it’s amazing how intensely focused a girl can be fifteen feet up in the air.
And, I would like to state for the record, I did not fall off the roof even once. There was a point where I was working off of the ladder that was resting on the gutter and I realized the gutter was not, in fact, attached to the barn in any discernible way. So basically I defied all laws of physics for about 20 minutes while holding a nail gun and about 25 pounds of shingles, but you know what? I’m not going to argue with gravity.
I think the most amazing part of the weekend for me, other than the fact that I finished the roof largely on my own and early, was how much I learned over the course of two days. Saturday morning I knew nothing about installing shingles, and by Sunday afternoon I feel like I could absolutely take on another roofing project on my own. I can’t even explain in words how awesome that feels.
And even better?
Check. This. Off. The. List.
Hell yeah. Just one more big project to go. (I’m looking at you, garage siding.)