Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I Shall Protect This House

I was up early this morning to hit our BodyQuest gym with Rachel, and it was a terrific speedwork session with leg weights and core training. "Focus on supreme fitness," Coach Andrew Kastor, the coach for our ASICS LA Marathon Blogger Challenge, told me on the phone last Friday. "Think one day at a time." It was exactly the workout I needed on another day when snow was falling yet again in the NYC area.

What I didn't expect was to basically work out much of the day. The same snow that has posed such a challenge in training for a beautiful Southern California marathon course on March 9 has caused serious problems for people in our area, and on this day I was in position to be potentially a victim.

We have a flat metal roof covering half of our deck behind our house, attached to the back of the house and supported around the edges by upright poles and braces. Last night, the Winter Advisory warning on my Weather.com app suddenly mentioned that "flat roof collapses" are likely. Then the most respected meteorologist who I follow on Facebook reposted a list of symptoms for a possible flat roof collapse, and I saw at least three symptoms that applied to my deck roof. We were in trouble with wet snow on the way.

The roof was bulging in spots, with a couple of leaks. I told Lisa and Rachel to not walk under it, under any circumstances. The roof had nearly two feet of ice and snow covering it, bearing as much weight as possible. Someone walking under it could be crushed, pinned, a disaster waiting to happen. I returned from BodyQuest to defend my house. I didn't want to see a collapse, insurance claim and so forth, but most of all I wanted to make sure we have a safe home. That's my most important job as a homeowner.

Because I NEVER STOP IMPROVING, I went to Lowe's to buy lumber to make a T-frame for support. I got five 2x4x8s, could have used a couple more but time was of the essence, plus I had to get down to the city for work. I knew that temperatures were forecast to rise into the 40s in the second half of this week, but this was an emergency. I took the boards home, measured the distance from deck to roof in the center area. I nailed two of the 2x4s together so they would form the beam that goes longways against the roof, and the other three 2x4s would be the legs. I cut those with a hand saw in our dining room, went out to the deck and wedged the new T-frame in snugly so there would be no way it could collapse in the center.

With some assurance now in place, I then proceeded to start shoveling the exposed deck area, which had at least 2 feet of snow and an ice base. That was a long job and the second part of my workout, heaving shovels of ice and snow over the deck railing. Once I cleared out enough room to place a rug and my stepladder, I got onto the top step and began shoveling snow and ice from the top of the roof. What I saw made it even more surprising that the roof had not collapsed yet. I awkwardly hauled off seemingly a ton of snow and ice, clearing the gutter area, and that was just the left half of the roof. I have more to do tomorrow, but this seemingly has removed the crisis and prevented at least one more collapsed flat roof in our area.

Are you affected by the big snow this winter? Is the drought out West a serious problem for you?
19 days to the LA Marathon. Stay tuned...

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