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Respect for roofers

It's been a busy week. We got a new roof put on the house. It was long overdue. The black shingles had turned to a light grey-blueish color from fading (not attractive), and storms were taking its toll. It was time.

Right at sunrise, it began with thumps and thuds of men walking above our groggy heads. The man-boys were on their way back from New Orleans and a Rolling Stones concert, so they did not get to experience the joy of being woken up by the racket. If you've never had a roof put on your dwelling, let me tell you, you cannot sleep through this. Luckily I'm an early riser due to mid-life (see previous post), but coffee and quiet time on the patio was not going to happen on this day. The crew of around twelve guys had taken over our home. Objects were flying off the roof onto tarps, there were ladders everywhere, electric saws were buzzing, men were yelling instructions to each was loud.

The critters that reside here did not appreciate our home improvement. Roxy the cat ran under our bed and didn't emerge for hours. The kittens dove under the couch and peeped out from time to time to see if the monsters outside were coming indoors. Zelda, the miniature dachshund, burrowed into the pillows on the sectional to hide. Although my heart went out to them, it was quite comical to watch them hunker down and prepare for war. Disclaimer: As I write this, all is well, there is no permanent damage, and normal animal activities have resumed. There is no need to over dramatize and send a rescue party.

Here in the Deep South, the afternoon summer sun can be grueling. Combined with high humidity, the heat index often rises well above 100 degrees, and outside activities become nearly impossible. Roofers do not get the luxury of air conditioning. Those unsung heroes were sweating profusely to make my abode a safer and more aesthetically pleasing place to reside. They had enormous amounts of water to rehydrate, but my heart went out to them. I had to do something to show my appreciation.

The supervisor informed us that they would be taking an extra long break for lunch in the middle of the afternoon when the sun was at its peak. That made me feel better, but it wasn't enough. We moved the football fan to the carport to provide some relief during their lunch, but it was still a sauna out there. Then it hit me. We have a pool. I suggested that they take an afternoon dip to cool off before they began the second shift of work. I received bewildered, confused, and hopeful looks in return. I made the request again, with a little more urgency and a stack of freshly laundered beach towels, and it was accepted. Success!

We did not have swimsuits for these gentlemen. They did not care. They threw off their shirts and plunged into the refreshing waters in their clothes. There were shouts of jubilation as they dove in. My man-boys came home to a dozen grown men jumping off the diving board into floating hoops, going down the slide with squeals, singing songs, laughing, taking was as if I was hosting a summer party for kids after they'd finished VBS. I was elated. They were more than grateful.

After an hour, they piled out and got right back to work. There was music. There were smiles. There was a lightness in their mood. They stayed and finished the entire roof in one day. One day! I don't know if the act of kindness had any part in their efficiency. They were extremely hard workers and would've probably completed their task without the afternoon's festivities. It did, however, make the heat a little more bearable, and we made some new friends.

Roofing is a job I'll never have. I do not have the skill set, and I'm not as tough as they are to endure the scorching sun. I have a new respect for these laborers. From now on, I will offer up a prayer for their safety when I see these craftsmen on someone's roof. It is not a job for the weak or the lazy. I am truly appreciative of what they do everyday. They have my R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

The calm after the pool party.

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