Thursday, December 20, 2007

Damn Ice Dam

"All this trouble over a fat little man in a red suit!"
-Voldar (Santa Claus Conquers the Martians)

So let us now add to the list of things I do not love about my house right this minute. First, the furnace (which seems to be working fine, and the kitchen, and front of the house are comfortable... unless it is 11 degrees out and then it's kinda chilly). Now, there is a huge ice dam on the roof which is now melting, thawing, leaking and destroying the interior of our house.

Thank you house and mother nature. Your tag team of malicous destructiveness sure makes me happy. That's awesome. Please stop it. I'm sick of this crap and it isn't even officially winter yet.

Tuesday night we went to Geoff's elementary school band and chorus concert (a mighty fine performance it was too, I might just add here). When we got home, I walked into the dining room to see the ceiling just completely soaking wet, the picture window filled with ice and water, and the wood floor covered with water. When it is a little lighter out, I'll take some pictures and show you.

We couldn't exactly see where the water was coming from down on the first floor, in between the first and second floor. There was no water coming in above the window on the second floor, and no sign of water coming in through the attic. We cleaned up, stood and scowled at the spreading mess on the drywall and ceiling, and figured we'd assess the situation come morning.

Yesterday we went out and saw the dam on the roof, and the sheet of ice that had built up on the exterior back side of the house and the giant icicles (insert Ralphie's mom here saying "be careful out there, those icicles can kill!")

I talked to my buddy Wayne and checked online at a few sources, receiving conflicting advice on what to do about the dam. Long and short of it is we should clear as much ice as we can on our own to reduce the amount of water that will be rolling down. That's kind of hard, seeing as we don't have hoverpacks and can't get up there to clear the dam... we kind of have to wait until mother nature (that ruthless bitch) clears the dam via thawing/melting/warmth. I guess right before Christmas it is supposed to hit about 45 degrees, so hopefully it will clear. Problem is, the water is going to flow ... that's right. Right into my house. Right through the walls. I'm so excited. Horray.

So yeah, I'm thrilled right now. Horray for homeownership.

The funny thing is that Doug took this a lot better than I thought he would. Doug's usual defense mechanism with anything that he can't quite deal with is to retreat, curl up in a ball, and hide. He gets a bit sullen, well... more than a bit. And he's hard to deal with. This time though, he was very pragmatic, accepting, and realizes that there isn't much we can do but clean up while it does its thing.

He said "this has obviously happened before, and the house has been standing since 1774, so it survived a lot and will survive this..." which kind of made me proud of him. I expected a total "oh woe is us" flailing of arms in dramatic fashion that I usually get with him and home improvement and repair projects (long time readers will recall the Good Friday Plumbing Incident a few years back... check the archives and find it if you are truly interested in reading about that one. I don't want to dig back into that history right now...) We can't really afford for someone to come and fix things, which makes me nervous. We would need a huge list of crap done, according to Wayne. So I'm stressing this right now.


Anyway ... we've got another little snow storm today and it will kick up about four inches of snow here. Nothing to French Toast Alert about really, four inches is nothing. It is old hat. Par for the course. Four inches? Give us that every day. We can handle it.

But seeing as there is precipitation falling from the sky, there are school closings round and about the region. And as usual our kids have school and EVERY DISTRICT AROUND US has the day off. Every single one. It pisses my son off to no end as he sits there and yells out the names of all the neighboring districts as he watches the ticker at the bottom of the screen. They get close to us... it goes... Pelham NH... closed. Pinkerton Academy... Closed. Where the hell is Pentucket?!?! And then he starts ranting. Look! There's Newburyport! There's Georgetown, Boxford, Topsfield, Haverhill! There's Whittier! There's Essex Aggie! And I have to listen to him go nuts for about a half an hour (which he is doing right now).

The only consolation this week is I can tell him that after tomorrow he's on vacation and doesn't have to go back to school until NEXT YEAR! When I was in elementary school, that used to always make me laugh. "See you ... NEXT YEAR!" everyone would say as we'd leave for the holiday break. Oh, how easily amused I was then, and am now.

Geoff thinks it is funny too, but obviously not as funny as I used to think it was.

I also keep telling him that we only get three snow days worked into our school schedule. Anything above and beyond that pushes the school year back further into June. One year they were in school until June 21st. It was ridiculous. Kids were signed up for summer camp and missed the first week because they had seven days to make up to get to the end of the year. Some districts had school on Saturdays to make up for those snow days. It was sad. So I ask him... do you want to be in school later in the year just to have a day off today where you lounge around the house eating oatmeal and playing video games all day? Is that a trade off you're willing to make, or ... can you make it through Friday, December 21st, 3pm. Ask yourself. Is it worth it (do you feel lucky, punk? Well?)

Eventually he sees it my way. I just wish I didn't have to have the discussion with him daily.

Anyway. I have to get ready for work now. The boy is getting ready for school even though he doesn't want to. I want to take some ice dam pictures and get to work on time. More later.

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