By this of course I mean that it was extremely hot while I attempted a home improvement project.  There is some evidence that I’m a smart guy but tackling a project outdoors this time of year would be one example of evidence to the contrary.  Still, a little sweat is good for me.

Maybe.

This spring I discovered a sad state of affairs regarding the eaves across the back of my house.  It seems that years ago when the patio was built, the roof was not finished quite properly and a situation arose in

which rainwater would dribble down into the fascia (behind the gutters) rather than into the gutters.  Trapped rainwater in wooden things is never a good idea.  I discovered this months ago but couldn’t bring myself to deal with it until this weekend.  Part of it was the fact that it has been a wet spring and summer and I needed to wait until everything was dry (including the muddy patch of ground right underneath the area) but a lot of it was general wimpiness.  I was afraid I would rip off the eave fascia and find a wholesale roof disaster. Go ahead: click the photo for full disclosure of the horror.

Luckily, it wasn’t all that bad.

I pulled the gutter off easily.  The nails pulled right out since the wood underneath was so wet and rotten that it wasn’t really wood any more.  Underneath the guttering was a piece of rotted cedar fascia, most of which I could pull off by hand.  It was disgustingly wet, moldy, and rotten.  Underneath that was the usual 2X6 board that covers the rafter tails and ties the whole thing together into a rigid structure.  That entire thing was rotted into a sodden mass.  I hooked the claw of my hammer onto the nails and as I tried to lever them out, the wood gave way under the hammer and squished up and broke like styrofoam.

It was pretty disgusting.

And that old wood really stinks in the trashcan.  After pulling all that down I found that only a few rafter tails were messed up.  The rest were solid and dry as was most of the roof decking.  Some of the soffit was ruined but that is made up from some pretty cheap stuff and is for looks only.  It’s easy to fix.  I consulted with my brother-in-law as I always do and we took off for Lowes for some wood.

All this time the temperature was climbing into the high 90’s.  It turned out to be the hottest day of the year thus far.  Still, this part of my yard is in full shade and there was a bit of a breeze.  I made sure to have plenty of water and things weren’t too bad.  I know my limits now and know what it feels like when I’m getting dehydrated and exhausted so I just quit before that.

By the end of Saturday, I had everything ready for new wood.  But I was tired so I filled up the wading pool.

Earlier in the year, Mel bought one of those plastic inflatable wading pools so that she and Erin could get some sun before summer camp and not have to just sit and be hot.  I thought it was the silliest thing imaginable when they can go to the city pool for $3 but on Saturday afternoon with several hours of sweat on me it was starting to look like a much better idea.  In fact as soon as I finished up, I doffed my sweaty garb and jumped in.  Or rather, stepped in.  I must say that although taking a shower is my standard cleanup procedure, when I’m terribly hot and nasty, jumping into a pool is much better.  I felt almost normal after getting out.  Almost.  I still went to bed early.

On Sunday, it was even hotter.  The dog usually stays outside with me but even she decided it was too hot to be outside wearing a fur coat and spent much of the afternoon watching me through the back door.  I thought that I could still work though if I budgeted myself.  There was no particular reason I had to finish everything; it was only important that I get the new 2X6 up there to enclose the roof so that wasps and squirrels wouldn’t start living in there.  This I did quickly because if I’ve got anything, I’ve got tools.  I’ve got what it takes to cut pieces of wood to fit.  The bad rafter tails got some extra pieces that I screwed onto the old ones – new pieces of wood with good ends that I could attach the fascia to.  All went well.

Almost.

Whoever built this roof didn’t extend the roof decking quite far enough so that the problem before – and now – is that the eaves extend a little beyond the roof deck.  Whoever put the shingles on did his best to overhang them but the way all this is going to work out, I’m going to have the same problem as before.  Except that I bought a pieces of “drip edge”; a metal lip that is specially shaped to stop this very problem.  Water should run off this edge and into the gutter now as long as I get everything back reasonably straight and even.

After enclosing the eaves, I decided to cut the pieces of trim to the right size while Mel and Erin were out shopping and I was free to wheel the table saw out into the garage where I could swing a whole piece of plywood around.  This I did and even primed them all with Kilz before giving up and taking to the wading pool again.  By this time, the wading pool water was about like a warm bath but it was still better than most alternatives.  I spent some time there and then went inside.  Again:  no exhaustion, just fatigue.  I figure if I can do this more often, I can be in a bit better shape, keep ahead of my projects, and things will be better in general.

Still, I really love those weekends where I do nothing but sit inside and catch up on my reading.  I love sitting with a good book and occasionally looking outside and thinking “Boy, I’m glad I’m not out in that!” If I can hold on to my productive outlook, I can maybe get some landscaping done too.  Here’s hoping.

More than that, here’s hoping I fixed the eaves properly.  I’d better sell the house before it happens again.

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