Hail Holes

Let me preface this story with a well-known fact: I’m afraid of heights. I am scared about something on most days, but I don’t let that fear stop me. Heights stop me.

Enough said.

The insurance adjuster came to the ranch the other day to assess hail damage from last week’s storm. I have a high deductible so I didn’t think my broken windows would be enough to make a claim, but I wanted him to look around.

I showed him the windows and he climbed up to check the solar panels on my shop roof. Then we moseyed down to Grandma’s House to look at those broken windows.

I rent out Grandma’s House, but nobody lives there right now. I love its style and airy feel and the ranch heritage it expresses.

Grandma’s House was built right in 1906, but everything is old. I can tell when sheep prices were high by the improvements to the house. The linoleum is from the 1950s. In the 1960s, just when Pepto Bismal pink paint went on sale, the kitchen got a facelift. The 1970s brought new ceiling tiles. The roof was bad enough to be replaced just before we bought the ranch in 2006.

The roof needs it again.

The insurance adjuster and I discovered fist-sized holes on the north side mostly, but hail had punched through the west and east sides, too. About 40 or 50 holes scatter-shot through the roof sheeting.

I’ve laid shingles before, but that roof had a 30-degree slope. The main portion of the roof on Grandma’s House is closer to a 75-degree pitch.

It’s steep.

And high.

And scary.

I called a roofing contractor, knowing full well that many other people had hail damage, too. It might be a while.

Then I woke up in the night thinking about the rainy forecast. I couldn’t leave those holes exposed.

Geez! I would have to climb up on that roof.

My brother, Roger, said he would help.

Roger brought a ground crew who would document our effort. We all hoped it would be a boring video, with no exciting skid marks to add to the heritage of the house.

I brought the skid steer and a pallet to the edge of the roof so we could stand on it to nail 1 x 4’s over the blue tarp, but Roger thought a ladder would be more stable. Roger always has good ideas.

An addition to the house offered a flatter staging area for our tools and the tarp. Wind gusts buffeted us as we looked up at the peak of the roof. I was such a chicken, I was almost cackling.

“I’ll climb up the ridge to nail the top down,” I said, surprised at my own words.

Roger held the flapping tarp close to the shingles as I scooted up the ridge, slowly, my eyes glued to the peak.

The ground crew pushed a 1 x 4 up and we nailed it over the first tarp edge just as the wind caught the tarp.

The ground crew found a couple of ropes in Roger’s truck. The wind some of the grommets out, but they pulled the tarp tight across the north face. Roger crawled to the peak so we both could nail the top 1 x 4 over the tarp. Then he tucked the bottom of the tarp under the eave while I nailed the last side board.

I hope nobody ever watches the video of my backside as I skidded my way, frog-hop by frog-hop, down the roof ridge. It won’t be pretty.

But we got the job done.

Lisa Schmidt