The view from down here


July 09, 2008

Next to our detached garage is a small covered patio. I think it was probably thrown together by the desperate-to-sell former owners. In the two years we have been here it has gone from somewhat cozy and cute to dirty and dilapidated.

I have been thinking of taking it down, and yesterday I decided would be the time. I really planned to spend only ten minutes or so getting a feel for what I was in store for. What's the situation?

On the wooden ladder I looked down on the top of the fiberglass corrugated roof. There was a miniature forest of maple saplings growing from the collection of dirt, leaves, and seeds. Nails with rubber washers holding it down. I can do this.

I had my mini crowbar and hammer. Work gloves and goggles over my glasses.

Tap - Tap, I nuzzled the crowbar in to pry out the nail. Okay - lever back this way where there some wood under it. Good. Pull - a little more - and POP! the nail head folded up like a set of bug wings. Okay. I can deal with that. Tap tap again from the other side, wedge it in, pull ... and the head popped off.


Ok, but that's one. The dirty fiberglass lifted right off the headless nail. The next one came out just fine, so I climbed down the ladder looked through the fogged goggles and found the little blue tub to hold all the nails.

Back to the ladder! After another nail decapitation I was able to lift the edge up a bit, but it was still attached under the roof of the garage where I couldn't quite reach it.

I rolled it back and the fiberglass began to rip. Okay, that'll work. I moved the ladder under and pried some other nails up, or levered the brittle covering right over the nail head. Move the ladder - still all very prim and more or less proper. Goggles fogged completely now.

I rolled the whole sheet back, dirt, treelets and all, and popped it off. The little ripped section under the garage roof came right out. Excellent!

One sheet down, but now I was blind, so I replaced my glasses and foggles with some over sized safety glass. Fuzzy was better than blind.

Cool, now I could swipe some of the dirt pile off before working on the next sheet. It turns out if you just give the fiberglass a good whack, most of the time it will pop right off its nail. If not, that's what the long end of the crowbar is for.

I pushed, punched and dislodged the nails of the second sheet and bent it in with much crackling and snapping and a sprinkle of seed dirt.

Actually, you don't really need to pry. If you just smack the flimsy sheet with your fist you can knock it out pretty well. The next one got folded, and stuck, and One Stupid Nail would not let the fuck go! I pulled, and I think that's wen the pile of dirt went down the back of my neck. But ok - second one - Folded and broke, but down.

Actually, there's not much use for the ladder. Fists and a wild crowbar will usually knock the sonofabitch loose. What you can't whack off, you can rip, and if it doesn't rip just put a shoulder into it. Bend it, smack it down, and don't mind the flying bugs, dirt, or the maple seeds in your mouth!

Tiny trees flew, spiders ran for their life, dangling and scurrying. Run! Run from the man storm. Ants! Big mothers! Crawling out of the rotted wood! On I slashed. Actually, the crowbar pretty much just gets in the way. Just reach up, punch it, grab it, twist it, punch it again, grunt, pull it, snap it, and thrown the dirty mother down.

Sheet after crap-clad sheet snapped and popped and bent and got taken down.

Melissa came back from mowing the lawn and saw me standing in a pile of broken fiberglass, three inches of dirt covered with twigs and tiny maple trees, and a blue bucket with a single nail in it.

She brushed some spiderwebs from my brow and then threatened to hose me down with the sprinkler before letting me in the house.

Copyright 2008 Daniel LaFavers