Deep Dive: The of Neglect

I've come to learn that, even if I can't afford to do any major work, neglecting the house is the last thing I should do; otherwise, deterioration will accelerate—of the house, of my body and of my mind. And since the roof was damaged by one of our four nor'easters, I had a very compelling reason to get back to work.

The fix, completed on 23 April 2018, is temporary—the damaged plywood still needs to be replaced—but at least it's watertight for now. I also found a number of other small leaks developing elsewhere, so I got busy with a tube of roof sealant to try and stave off any potential permanent damage. Plus, I found an unopened gallon of wood preservative, and I think I'll slap some on at-risk areas, such as the edges of the roof sheathing.

After cleaning out the leaves and dirt and organizing my tools, I started sorting through the remaining building materials. It would seem I might have enough plywood on hand to finish sheathing the eaves on the lower level, so that may become a future project to tackle—although it will be very slow-going, as it will involve a lot of ladder work, and lately my knee has been complaining loudly.

In the meantime, I've completed one the changes I'd been contemplating the last several months: revising the office ceiling. The first step was to completely remove all of the existing framing (below left), then construct the new ceiling bump-out (below right). Fortunately it didn't require purchasing any new materials—in fact, I had some left over. And it only took half a day to finish, which was a lot less time than I'd expected.

It felt really good to exercise my power tools—and my body—once again. Unfortunately, the weather quickly became unbearably hot. Not to mention that ticks were out with a vengeance, and since I've got Lyme Disease (and my skin is allergic to bug repellant), I need to be extra careful.

It may seem like a trivial accomplishment, but on 10 May I finally installed two 10-foot trim boards on the back of the house (just under the eaves at either side), and also removed the extension ladder that's been leaning there for the last year or so. It took just about every ounce of energy I had. Sad to think I used to work from dawn to dusk.

There are so many little things that sill need to be done, but these days "little things" loom large like enormous, nearly insurmountable tasks, and many of them must now be done by someone else. I no longer have the stamina—or the knees—to do a lot of stuff that was almost effortless for me just a couple of years ago.

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