When we were looking at the house on the hill for the first time, the two most obvious bits of it—from anywhere in town—were that the fake-rock siding was hideous and the roof was rusted through. The siding is long gone, and the house stands proudly naked in its original wooden clapboards. The roof, however, has remained a rusted tribute to the power of time and salt water wind.
Last week, as I towel-dried my hair in my bedroom, I heard the sound of the loudest can in the world being peeled back. This sound—of screeching metal—may not be one that would make your heart beat with joy. My heart, however, was thrilled with it. I called all the family in to listen quietly at the window. Some were not as thrilled as me, “Why are you making me stand here and listen to that obnoxious sound, Mom?” Naomi complained. I took hands and raced to the back porch and pointed delightedly: the can being opened was our new house, the roof covered with people ripping the old bits off. This was, of course, a thrill even for Naomi. We watched the roof—installed in 1988—get peeled back. Then the second roof—installed with the house in 1925 stood in its rusted glory until it too was peeled back. The house, proudly topless, faced the sea with the aging glory of a Mediterranean matron. And then the new roof went on, long sheet by long sheet. Rob and I, checking in on the progress, wondered when the roof with the lovely deep mossy green colour was going to go on as the house’s final proud topping. Alas, though, the pale undercoat finished, the roofers packed up their bags, leaving us to squint at the pale green thing they’d left behind. Could it be? No! Yes! The pale green thing WAS the roof. The tiny inch-square chip, translated to huge sheets of roofing, turned out to be quite a different colour than I had thought. Oh well, it’s only $15000 anyway, and we’ll only have to live with it for 15-25 years. No worries, mate.
In the week since the pale-ish roof went on, I have come to not hate it so much. It beats the rusted roof we’ve removed, and it blends in with other roofs nearby. We’re hopeful that once the naked wood is painted, the pale green roof will be highlighted in different ways and will look, er, better. (For the record, Michael likes it.) In the meantime, I have been practicing non-attachment to the colour I thought it would be, and non-attachment to my dislike of the colour it is. Not so bad, really. And, as I get increasingly agitated about all the sunsets we can’t see from our current house, I am increasingly excited about living in the new house, pale green top or not. (True, it’s only a 20 second walk to the beach to have a great view, which is a totally spoiled brat thing to complain about, but I am something of a spoiled brat about this view.) Our move-in date is early February, and there’s still this house to sell and a book to write and my friend Jane to welcome. I’m loving my Christmas in summer.
Hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday wherever you are, too.
(pictures today obviously of the roof: first, the label on the roofing material itself which should have given me pause: notice the warnings about my new roof!; one roof down; two roofs down and topless (new pink wood over the new Keith-room at the back of the house); final touches on pale green roof. Maybe it'll look better with skylights?)