So, our roof-framing expert swung by the Possible New Home this morning. I haven’t talked with him yet, but I chatted with our tireless real estate agent, who met him at the house.
She’s been great. She’s patiently sent me listing after listing after listing of houses, realigning her search each time I say something different. Which has been quite often. First, we were looking for an older house, with high ceilings and wood floors, surrounded by a cool neighborhood full of open-minded urbanites. Kind of like East Nashville.
You must understand, however, that this has been an recurring theme for us during the past several years. Tired of suburbia, we long for the rich colors, lush courtyards and ceramic doorknobs of Fatherland Street. We begin to drive street after street.
D: “Ooooh, check out that one.”
Me: “Ooooh, that one’s nice!”
D: “Wow, look at … WATCH OUT, THAT’S A FIRE HYDRANT!”
Like many grand old dames, these homes are infused with great character. We picture ourselves sitting on the big wide porches, watching dusk descend and waving to our neighbors.
Then we picture ourselves both trying to get into the tiny box they list as a “closet.” Or we read a particularly nasty account of a particularly nasty robber doing a particularly nasty thing to a resident two blocks away.
That last scenario is particularly hard on D, who often travels to murder trials in farflung cities and testifies about just these kind of particularly nasty events. She thinks of my sweet innocence, alone in a big ol’ house, in great jeopardy.
(Most people, of course, think more sympathetically of the poor burglars who might happen to chance upon me after a particularly nasty day at work.)
Either way, we’ve always gone back to our suburb, where we can throw Chase’s ball a long way, splash around in the pool and have room to spread out when we have a dozen friends over for a Saints game.
So, our Realtor here in Dallas has gotten caught up in the Laurie-and-D seesaw. We like this cool old Kessler Park area. Funky! Beautiful! Dicey! We love the M Streets’ stone Tudors! Wide, treelined avenues! Aaack, expensive! So, after many false starts and do-overs, our Realtor has led us right back to the suburbs.
Her determination is unflagging, though. And she’s a gamer. And I was sitting in a soulless, airless conference room today in training, so I couldn’t go “help” the framer. (Damn!) So she climbs right up into the attic with the Zen master of roof-framing, so she could tell me everything he said. I can see her now, her elegantly dressed, high-heeled self stepping out onto the stuffy eaves. (It’s 93 degrees today.) Go, J!
Now, she’ll be the first to admit she has no knowledge of roof framing. But I’m the kind of literal, logical person who likes details. So our phone conversation afterward went kind of like this:
Me: “Hi! What’s the scoop?”
J: “Well. It’s, you know, good. I mean, I think. It sound like it might be. I couldn’t really tell. But I think so.”
Me: “Uh, OK. Does he see a problem with the framing?”
J: “Yes, kind of. He says he sees why they did that they did. It’s not connected quite the right way. Something wasn’t quite wide enough somewhere, so they did something else. It’s not what he would have done, but it’s not something he’s never seen before either. It’s something some people might have done.”
Me: “The support beams? What about the cross-braces? And the 2×4 shim?”
J: “Um, yeah, that might’ve been what he said. Probably. Those things. Or some other thing. I can’t really remember.”
J: “Ha ha!”
Me, again, after getting a grip: “So, does it need to be fixed? Is it going to fall onto our heads one unsuspecting night?”
J: “Well, maybe. I mean, you could fix it. You might want to. But some people wouldn’t, and it’ll probably be fine. No, it’s not going to fall down. I do remember he said that, for sure. I mean, not that way, but something almost like that.”
Me: “What language is it that you speak?”
J: “Ha ha!”
Me: “So where do we stand now with him?”
J: “Oh, he’s going to send me over an estimate tonight. He says it’ll only be a few hundred dollars. I’ll send it to you and we’ll talk about what kind of concessions to ask from the sellers.”
Me: “I’ve got to be pretty sure that this house is sound before we proceed. I don’t want to be sitting there in one of these mad Dallas storms, and have the roof lift off and fly away like a UFO.”
J: “Well… a real bad storm could always rip off your roof, no matter what, even if it’s in great shape.”
J: “Ha ha!”
Me, again, after getting a second grip: “But it’s much more likely that a roof that’s structurally unsound will fly away, then one that’s attached securely, wouldn’t you say?”
J: “Oh. Yeah! But it’s really fine. That’s what he said. I’m pretty sure. Almost certain. Probably absolutely for sure. But I’ll send you his report tonight. And you know what? You might want to call him yourself. I think that’s a good idea! Then we’ll talk!”
J: “Ha ha!”
So… it sounds like all will be well, and that the Possible New Home might move tomorrow into the Probable New Home category, with the Actual New Home on the horizon somewhere but easing closer.
I’m already looking at paint chips. And tumbled tile squares. And picturing myself running the table on D, dropping the 8-ball solidly into the left corner pocket with a satisfied thunk.
And did I mention the closet?