I got checked!

Several weeks ago, I gave myself a grade of “B-” for doing all the home improvement things I did this summer. However, I’m going to upgrade myself to the “Honor Roll.” I didn’t get to that elevated status solely on my own. I got there with a little help and verbal nudging from a friend.

I was talking on the phone with a friend, and running my mouth about certain things, when she told me I definitely should handle my roof. Earlier this year she had let me use her handyman and he had mentioned to her that my roof was in bad shape.

Both of them were right.

I knew I had a minor leak and it was really starting to affect everything. I had been putting off the repair waiting to see if my house got chosen for the free roof program. It didn’t, and the once minor leak had evolved into a major problem when it rained.

The roofer came and gave me an excellent price to tear off and put on a new roof. When he sent me the pictures of the existing wood, I was totally in shock. All along the top of the house, the wood had rotted. That wood had been installed 21 years ago when I had my second story addition added. In my mind, it should still be brand new. But that wasn’t the reality.

I had already contracted with a gentleman to tuck-point my house. Because I don’t walk on the south side of it, I wasn’t aware of just how badly the bricks had eroded. I think part of the reason is that my neighbor didn’t originally have gutters on her second story and the splashing of the water had eaten away at my brick. But no matter what, the brick was crumbling. The tuck-pointer had to actually chisel out the outer row of brick and put in new ones.

The brick walls to my stairs had begun to bow from needing tuck-pointing and water getting into them. The contractor gave me a price to fix it, but he was unaware of how my stairs were built. Some of the original bungalow steps are made from stone, and they literally sit on a brick that extends out. So once he began to remove the bricks, the step began to give way. He called me immediately and I acknowledged I needed new steps. So I could not blame him for causing a problem I had not addressed. I was able to find a brick mason and they came and rebuilt the column walls with new bricks and poured cement stairs.

Within the course of four weeks, I was out of a lot of money. But that’s the reason we work. And that’s the reason we save. Because if you own a brick bungalow like I do, it’s 100 years old and putting off the expensive upkeep only makes the problems worse.

So thank you, my friend, for calling me out and making me take care of what I needed to do. That is what a real friend is for. Not to make us feel good but to keep us on our toes and, at times, step on them to get our attention.