The landlady’s husband (She ran the business. He helped maintain their properties around town.) did some patching when the leaks were still minor. I think he did more damage walking on the roof than he solved with fiber tar. Whichever—it still leaked. And it got worse with each rainy day.
The landlord added a dehumidifier. The machine was not small. Not too big to use, but really! Is that a solution? He drilled a hose size hole in the floor, stuck the drain tube through the floor to let it run out under the shack. It was a house with holes where shingles should be protecting above. Now it had also had a machine supposed to keep the air less damp inside while a drying machine increased wetness underneath.
The dehumidifier did not keep rain water from dripping on the bed. I could find no place in that room where the old double bed could avoid the drips. It is kind of hard to sleep well with cans catching rain water around and on you. Lemme tell ya.
I had read somewhere, sometime, about a system that a tribal culture somewhere in Asia used to keep rainwater away from sleeping family. I can’t recall what groups did this—may have been Mongolia, maybe Afghanistan, or somewhere in between. I hear there’s lots of territory and different cultures out there that we call Asia.
I hoped my plan would work, but was doubtful. I’m a pessimist that way. I had to try something, so off we go. I put some hooks at corners of the ceiling and tied my ugliest well-worn sheet to them. If you’ve lived as long as I have you know this sheet. It’s the ugly one with the green diamond design to look like square sides of cubes, the squares in yellow and white. Well, I took that lovely artifact and strung it across the ceiling with a deliberate sag in the center. With a bucket on the bed, I watched the sheet dampen and then drip from that low point. I next fastened a string to the sheet at the low point, near the center of the sheet and also of the bed.
So, we come to the risky “this’ll never work” part, the feature I was most skeptical about. I ran the string to a coffee can propped on the bed’s metal headboard. But, by golly, it worked. The rainwater ran down the string and into the “bucket.” As long as I didn’t allow saggy places lower than my contraption, all was well. When a corner of the sheet came undone from its ceiling hook one afternoon, I was lucky to be at home. I should have been at the library, of course.
My father visited me as the time of rain was beginning to wane. So, the sheet and bucket were still hanging, just in case. I tried to foist the crappy folding back sofa on him for the one night of his visit (after we’d attended the annual Nā Haumāna O Hawai’i Luau which had given us the good fortune of coinciding with Dads travels).
On the way back to the shack I stopped at a dormitory and picked up the sleeping bag I’d arranged to borrow. This prompts a little side trip. We got the bag and took it to the shack. As I unrolled it the aroma hit. Pastures of plenty! Dad would not want to sleep in the room with that strong aroma of marijuana. I slept fairly well on the ratty sofa in a sleeping bag that made it quite pleasantly mellow. When I think about it, I don’t reckon Dad would have been comfortable anywhere in that shack. We agreed that Mom did not need to know details about the quality of my living accommodations. Hey, the rent was cheap. The night’s rain shower went to the coffee can bucket. The happy weed sleeping bag was for just one night.
Since that time my roofing experiences have mostly been at Camp Mimanagish: fiber tar filling holes on the Half Moon Dining Hall (named for the curved roof); nailing down the ridge roll and shakes while straddling the peak of the steep chapel roof (a painful job); helping lay rolled tar paper on lodge roof. Otherwise, I try to keep my feet on the ground. The Half-Moon was fun, with Ralph D aiming his powerful flashlight from inside, while I watched and attempted to plug holes as they appeared in the his beam.
Add it all up and it isn’t a roofing career, only enough to claim limited experience. But how many “run down the string” solutions have you seen in the USA. I’d really like to kno