“What would like to do with the day?” she asked.
It was a perfect Saturday. The sky was blue and warmer than it had been in weeks. I’d done a little tidying and made breakfast. She read aloud the first chapter of a novel we were sharing. We planned dinner, and some chores afterward while we listened to a podcast: nothing too strenuous. I’d have to go to work for a while in the late afternoon, but in the several hours before then we decided to have an adventure.
We’ve been doing a little shopping on-line, looking for an apartment in NYC (or at least closer than we are now), and have found what appears to be a wonderful neighborhood. Friends of mine, and relatives of hers, even live there. But so far we’ve only been virtual house-hunters. Now, we had time, and decent weather, for an actual reconnaissance mission. We’d drive to Yonkers and walk around to see the place for ourselves. We could have lunch at a little café before driving back.
In that moment of calm after the decision was made but before the activity of getting organized to go, she froze.
“What’s that sound?”
I didn’t hear it. Then I did.
Well, sure. It’s sunny. The ice is melting outside.
Except the drips were inside.
Ice dams had formed over the gutters. Now starting to melt in this bright sunshine, the water was forcing its way in. There were drips along the windows, and a huge blister above them where wall met ceiling.
Where the freshly painted wall met the just refinished ceiling, that is.
We threw out our plan for the day and spent it instead on the phone trying to find a roofing company to remove the ice and repair the damage, filing a claim with the insurance company, washing and drying all the linens that were lying on the quilt rack and had been soaked by the drips, hooking up a dehumidifier, and re-organizing the spare room so we could use it as a bedroom during construction.
I cleared the deck of snow and slush and ice so that it would be safe for a roofer to place a ladder there. I couldn’t reach the roofline at the front of the house, but I could lean out a landing window with a shovel and push snow off the porch roof, clear the resulting snow and slush off the front stairs, and get most of the frozen crud cleared so the trash can and recycling bin would sit level for the first time in weeks.
She called me in to lunch–a pasta dish she and her friend had talked about when they were at dinner on Friday–and, sitting comfortably while we ate, we saw more water.
There were stains and blisters on the living room’s just refinished ceiling, too. Which meant that there was also damage to the bedroom’s brand new flooring.
The contractor has been working on the powder room–laying pretty new tile and installing a new sink. From there, he was going to lay new tile in the laundry closet and the front entryway and we were going to be done. Our search for a buyer for the Country House could start, and our search for a new City House could begin in earnest.
Not yet, apparently.
It’s just a setback. Setbacks happen. Nobody was injured. Lots and lots of homes in New England have ice dams and wall and ceiling and floor damage.
Just a setback. A disappointment. An unexpected turn. A different story. Our intrepid hero and heroine will carry on.
Turn the page.