25 November 2010

Drip Drip

After the dryest autumn in memory, we are in the midst of 2 days of solid rain. I love to hear the rain on the roof and the tinkle on the window panes. I even enjoy a walk in the rain now and then, but this is only enjoyable if we have a warm dry home to which we return. And tonight our house is warm and moist from the stock pot which is bubbling on the stovetop.

In 2002, we put a new roof on our house. Before that, it was vacant and the water had infiltrated and done much damage. The wood softened, plaster crumbled, bricks eroded. One interesting thing about the bricks in Over-the-Rhine is that the bricks were made at local kilns from local clay, and the bricks that sat closer to the center fire, got harder. When the masons built these walls, they could tell the hardness of each brick with their hammer, and they placed the harder bricks on the exterior wythe so as to repel the elements. The softer bricks were used on the inner wythes and on interior brick walls. And these softer bricks can last centuries... until they get wet. If the water gets the soft bricks, they can just melt away back into the mud from which they were made.

For a few years in the 1990s I had a job in which I was responsible for the stability of some vacant buildings down here. And nights like this I would go crazy thinking of the damage that was occuring with every drop of rain. I would go in these buildings and the water would be pouring down the inside. Each rain washed small particles of the buildings down into the basements and into the sand floors, until.. sometimes they would collapse. And today, that process is still happening all over this city, but especially in the northern reaches of Over-the-Rhine, and it just breaks my heart.

Anyway, this was all going through my head this evening as our eight year old roof sprang it's first leak. The water is dripping down in the attic, over wood rafters that have been in place for 135 years. This is dry, dry old growth wood. And the water is trickling in, and soaking into that rough hewn wood, and marking it and washing away small particles. For now, the stained water is collecting in buckets I have arranged up there.

Hopefully the Roofer's Wholesale will be open tomorrow, and I can get some seal coat.

ps: as I finish this at midnight, I notice that the rain just changed to a beautiful snow.


Jason said...

I can feel the love you have for the neighborhood in every word. Kudos, friend.

Poker School said...

Beautiful writing...

Must be nice to have snow come Thanksgiving day,...down here in Texas we are still looking at 85degree weather :(

Hopefully by Christmas we will drop into the 50s!

Poker School