Well, Crap

Overnight New Orleans got pounded by heavy, heavy rain for several hours. Also some serious gusts. We lost power for a while during the night and there was of course some street flooding throughout the city.

The weather has caused our fumigation to be postponed. They were set to tent the house this morning, but during the storms the tarp got ripped. It was on another house at the time. That house has to be resealed and pumped full of more fumigant. So we have to aim for another date.

Meanwhile I’ve got a new worry to preoccupy me. This is by far the heaviest rain we’ve had in a while, and sure enough we sprang a leak. It appears to be in the area where the addition joins the older part of the house. Observant readers will recall a leak in this area was amongst the deficiencies we discovered in our inspection. But that was in at the other end of the addition; at least that repair appears to have held.

Roofers

I passed by PJ & Andrea’s old house in Broadmoor to see if it had been demolished yet. I was surprised to see roofers at work.

Roofers

It’s sad that PJ & Andrea aren’t here, but I’ve had a year and half or so to get used to that fact. They recently bought a house in Indianapolis where they seem quite happy. So for the most part, I just feel good that their old house doesn’t have to be demolished after all.

I was also gladdened to see sign of progress in the surrounding neighborhood, however slow it may be. Some houses are being gutted only now. There seems to be a bit more activity there than in our little pocket of Mid-City.

De-Clicked

The roofer came back and fixed the clicking whirly-fan. Hooray. And they only charged $400 total for the two-fan job. That included the hardware, the labor, everything. They took a looong time to get to me, but once they got to me, they proved to do be both competent and honest. I don’t know if they’re licensed or insured, but they have a fun name: When It Rains It Pours. And the main roofer guy’s girlfriend is from Bloomington, so you know they’re OK. Plenty of people still need roof work in New Orleans. So give me a holler if you want a referral.

Fans

The roofer I’d been waiting on for weeks finally arrived Monday. He critiqued Quickdraw’s work and gave it a big thumbs up. He was a little surprised that “a guy from the neighborhood” had done such a good job.

I couldn’t leave well enough alone, though. I wanted better ventilation for our attic. It’s almost 1,000 square feet with only a single (powered) fan. After some discussion, I asked him to install a couple “whirlybird” style fans on our roof, one in back and one in front.

Fan on Roof

The job was done yesterday, while I was at work. The front fan is barely visible from across the street, but the back fan is easily seen from the back deck.

And now I’ve got a case of roofer’s remorse. I’m second-guessing myself. I’m a little alarmed at the appearance of this big silvery thing erupting from the surface of our roof. But more importantly: Was this such a smart idea after all? I just had two more holes cut in my roof. I’m nervous about holes in the roof after my old fan was ripped out by Katrina. Isn’t adding more fans just asking for more trouble?

The idea, of course, is that by exhausting hot air from the attic, it will help keep the whole house a little cooler and cut down on our AC bills. The fan pictured here is installed over our kitchen, which always was the hottest room in the house. Hopefully the fan will make a difference. But our AC bills were never that high to begin with. Why did I bother?

And shouldn’t it be installed a little higher on the roof? Hot air rises, after all.

Whirly Fan

Another misgiving: the lack of adequate intake. We have no intake vents at all. I discussed this with the roofer too, and his opinion was that, given the structure of our roof (no soffits), our only option was for big frog vents (I think that’s what he called them) which would be prohibitively expensive. But he also observed that old roofs like ours are never airtight, so some air would always be drawn in through the numerous gaps.

Also, the damn thing makes a click as it rotates. I’m sure that will annoy me when I’m trying to sit out on my back deck and read a book.

Maybe I’m worrying too much.

Quickdraw’s Back

I had a roofer lined up to fix the hole(s) in our roof, but after waiting for six weeks or so, I was starting to get worried.

A couple friends asked me if I would be enlisting the services of Quickdraw to fix my roof. They remembered the fiasco of the past summer. Quickdraw will go down in legend as “the roofer without a ladder.”

I hadn’t seen Quickdraw since the storm — until today. He was working on some of Johnny’s properties. When he saw me, he asked if I needed some roof work done.

Next thing, I’m on a mission to get shingles and roofing nails and a replacement roof vent.

What a pain that was. Nothing went smoothly today. For example, I could not find shingles to match our the color of our roof, which is a very light gray. But you can’t see our roof from the street. I guess it doesn’t really matter.

Quickdraw did the work, for which he charged $550. A bit of a gouge, I thought, but that’s what I get for not asking his price in advance.

And it’s worth it to stay dry next time it rains. Plus Quickdraw seems like he could use some cash. He doesn’t own his own home or a car or, apparently, a ladder. Maybe he blows it all on drugs or alcohol. I hope not.

Cold Front

Last night the sky was luminous. Even though there are no streetlights for at least three blocks in any direction, the city was still reflecting light off a thick layer of low-hanging clouds.

The light coming in our windows was brighter than the full moon. It was hot and damp. Spooky, unsettling weather.

I was awoken in the wee hours by a light rainfall. Soon I heard thunder in the distance.

A little later, we got a full-on deluge, and I discovered my tarp job wasn’t quite as good as I’d thought. Nothing sucks like scrambling for pots and towels in the middle of the night in a house without lights. I sure hope my roofer can get to us soon.

The rain was the vanguard of a cold front. Now it’s seriously chilled down, and tonight the clouds are high and thin, and it’s dark outside. I’m just glad our wall furnaces are working.

The Girlz Are Back in Town

A familiar blue car pulled up across the street from our house this afternoon, and I was overjoyed when Danielle and Donika and Crystal and Licia and Geraldine got out — our neighbors from across the street. I gave them all a hug and handed out N95 masks to protect them from the mold in their house. Turns out they evacuated on the Sunday before the storm, about five hours after we did, and they’re staying in Opelousas.

Then David and I climbed up on my roof and put a couple tarps on the damaged areas. I’ve never been on our roof before. It’s high and steep and mildly terrifying, but we did it. Thanks, David.

While we were up there, I heard Geraldine screaming at one of the girls, and it made me smile. The old neighborhood seemed to be back for a moment. But when we came back down they were gone.

Too Early for Drama

This day is getting off to a rough start.

See, yesterday I hired a guy named Quickdraw to fix up our gutter.

Gutter

This morning, we were awoken by a call from our next door neighbor, Craig. Seems Quickdraw had borrowed Craig’s ladder. Only in Craig’s estimation, Quickdraw was too drunk to be climbing on the roof. So Craig took his ladder back.

There was some confusion, during which time Quickdraw thought the ladder had been stolen. Eventually he spotted the ladder back in Craig’s yard and was about to get it. I had to explain to him that Craig had taken back the ladder because he didn’t think Quickdraw fit to work on the roof.

“It’s your roof,” Quickdraw pointed out.

“Yes, but it’s his ladder.”

I had to explain that Craig thought Quickdraw had been drinking. Quickdraw denied this. I don’t know what to think. He didn’t seem drunk to me.

He said he’d borrow a friend’s ladder and be back in a couple hours.

Update: This comedy of errors got even more erroneous. Quickdraw came back with a ladder all right. I assumed it was his friend’s ladder. Then I get a call from Craig, who informed me that the ladder in question was his ladder, the very same disputed item which he’d offered to Quickdraw and then taken back. Apparently Quickdraw just went into Craig’s yard and took it.

Quickdraw on Our Roof

Now, the gutter damage I mentioned was caused by a tree on Craig’s property, which was rubbing against our gutter and damaging our roof. (Houses are crammed really close together in our neighborhood.) So part of Quickdraw’s job was to cut back this tree, and he was doing so. (Of course he didn’t have a saw of his own. He borrowed mine.) One huge branch fell right onto the path from Craig’s front door, effectively trapping him on his property. He was trying to leave, but he couldn’t escape until Quickdraw sawed the branch into smaller pieces.

Anyway, our gutter is fixed, mostly, and the tree won’t do any further damage. As far as I’m concerned, Quickdraw earned his money. (I paid him $80.) It was a hot day. I was soaked with sweat just running around hauling some of those branches to the curb. I can’t imagine what it was like up on that roof, sawing.

And I don’t think he’d been drinking at all.

Quickdraw