So, you may have noticed that TastyTreks is landlocked (in addition to being seemingly quite lazy) of late.

In fact, it might be more appropriate to call the blog “VegetarianHouseArrest.com” for the moment. Though I haven’t yet given up entirely on my next prodigious trip-planning exercise (am clinging stubbornly to the idea of returning for further basking in New Zealand over the holidays or some other yet-to-be-explored locale), the infinite joys of home ownership are making their presence known in what threatens to be a particularly wallet-draining fashion. To wit: I appear to need a new roof.

Now, most of you know I can and do throw myself with fervor into various home-improvement projects (as my almost totally redone house interior will attest) but nothing in the world is less sexy and satisfying – yet infuriatingly necessary – than a new roof when the existing one starts to give up the ghost. In multiple places, no less. Ruining ceilings, moldings, and carpeting I previously paid good cash money to have redone. Hovering unpleasantly over the extensive technology components arraying my office.

ARG.

It is hostage-taking of the most insidious and un-ignorable kind.

For those of you familiar with the vagaries of the central Florida climate, you know summer is our rainy season. Therefore, we can typically expect a deluge damned near every single day. In fact, if there isn’t a torrential afternoon thunderstorm, it’s often because there’s a hurricane or tropical storm hovering nearby, sucking up all the regional humidity just to spit it out on us with even more flagrant force in the following days. So not only does leakage patching become unbelievably necessary, it becomes nearly freakin’ impossible. Thus, for the last two and a half weeks, my daily project has been attempting (with frustrating inefficacy) to turn this:

… into this:

The snowy landscape you see here is a silicone polymer coating that must be applied to a perfectly clean and dry surface (no storm-blown leaves, no residual puddles) that must then be allowed to dry, unmolested by precipitation, for a 24 hour period. Even with my extremely rudimentary grasp of mathematics, it’s easy to see the conflict when it reliably rains every day, and the surface needs to be bone dry before application, then left alone for another full day at least (constant high ambient humidity notwithstanding).

With the initial roof cleaning and subsequent application process —raking of branch debris, followed by sweeping of leaves, deploying my anemic leaf-blower to coax off the last of the intransigently lurking vegetation, then bleaching and scrubbing, thorough rinsing, extensive drying, followed by hasty trips up and down the ladder to tarp over the treatment area when the sky turns ominous and the rumbling begins, then untarping and sweeping off the largest inevitable water accumulations in the hopes of capturing the evaporative effects of fast-drying breezes once the storm passes— I’ve had a second full-time job on my hands.

A little over two years ago I laboriously scraped off several tons of loose gravel from my tar-and-gravel roof (a surface no longer allowed by local building code) and did the whole rake-sweep-scrub-dry process in order to apply this leak-defying goo to the entire roof and try to eke a few more years from its useful life. That took a couple of months to complete during our *dry* season (note: raking piles of gravel across distances of up to 40 feet = serious ab workout). 15 year guarantee notwithstanding, it started turning a blind eye to impertinently intruding streams of water late last year.  My very kind neighbor Bob experimented a couple of months ago with applying the first patch job over my kitchen ceiling, where the leak had gotten bad enough to start raining down bits of plaster and sheetrocking tape into the buckets I carefully positioned under the worst areas anytime it stormed. He was done in one afternoon – after applying several heavy-duty fans of his to speed the drying processes – and that leak has since stopped.  (Hurrah!)

He promised that if I decide to do a re-roof myself later this year he’ll help me with that nasty ordeal, so, not wanting to burden him now with grunt work I can handle alone, I undertook the second patch job over the office without assistance. I was sitting peaceably in my office after I managed to successfully wrangle down the first coat of goo and get it dried before our PM showers (in a lucky stretch of 30 or so hours without torrential downpours) when I heard a familiar plink, plink sound. Leakage. In the new patch area. Curses. Well, it was only the first coat; though I’d tried to be scrupulously thorough, it was a highly uneven surface of large pebbles, so sure, maybe a few pinholes escaped my notice as I was bent double over the heavily goop-sodden, long-nap roller. A second coat would cure it, to be sure [she thought optimistically].

I managed to get a second coat on and dried just in advance of the approaching Republican-smiting tropical storm/hurricane Isaac. It poured like bejesus the following afternoon, and I left off the tarp to glory in the undoubtedly now watertight fruits of my handiwork, and nary an errant interior drop appeared.

Beavering away a few hours later on the news, I reclined for a moment to proofread my work and leaned my arm into a mysteriously damp office chair armrest. I was momentarily mystified: was it drink condensation? elbow sweat? cat drool? I looked up in a moment of dread epiphany and saw a ballooning latex paint bubble of a barely-restrained rain deluge, emerging heavily pregnant from my pinkly-moldering ceiling. FUCK. So all this work and weeks of tool-laden ladder scurrying has resulted in this:

And yes, we are waving the white flag: the roof is staying tarped for now, and the first onslaught of roofing contractors is slated for arrival and estimate formulating later this week. >:-/

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