The White Cottage


Going Green.

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Saturday morning. Nat left at the crack of dawn (literally – 5:00 am) for a golf tournament. Around 7:00 am as I’m laying on Nat’s side of the bed enjoying the peace, quiet and tranquility of sleep, a couple of men arrive and begin making a racket on the roof like you’ve never heard. Our roofer, Marv, was back and had brought a friend! As hard as I tried I couldn’t lay there anymore. I had to get up and so around 7:30 I dragged myself to the bathroom to get dressed.

The noise continued as Marv carried on the task of removing two layers of roof shingles that he had started on Thursday. Being retired and doing roofing on the side to make money for charities in Guatemala, Marv is a quiet, modest and an unassuming man with a heart of gold, but give him a “Shingo” (large scraper with serrated edge) and that man can make a racket like no other. Marv also has a different style than the typical roofer – he does the roof in portions. He’ll complete sections of the roof in stages. Despite the fact he started on Thursday he already has a portion of the west roof done, and I must say that the colour of shingle we picked out looks pretty good. It’s going to be a good match for when we get new shutters and paint the front door columns. He admits he’s not as fast as the pros (they may take only 2 – 3 days) but he’s efficient, guarantees his work and his labour costs go to a great cause. You couldn’t ask for much more than that.

This morning Marv brought a buddy to help him with some of the labour work – picking up scraps of shingles, helping to toss up whatever Marv needs and perhaps a lunch buddy. I must admit the extra pair of hands relieves some of our guilt that a really nice man has been up on our roof sweating away removing two layers of shingles, putting down tar paper and then adding the new shingles, along with working a 12 hour day!! After an appointment in St. Catharines and then getting groceries, Nat spent the rest of Friday with pangs of guilt hanging about his shoulders. As we did our crosswords on the patio we’d look towards the roof of the awning and hear Marv scraping and nailing (with ongoing generator) above, and our shoulders would droop with angst.

We keep telling ourselves this is all for a good cause. First of all, Marv makes money for building homes in Guatemala (along with going down there to help build them), secondly, we get a new roof which will add to the value of the house and thirdly, it’s all in preparation for the new solar panels we’ll be getting this summer. We’ll also be having the rafters in the attic braced for better structure and support which is making Nat feel so much better. The energy from the solar panels will be sold back to the grid and we can make a little bit of money in the process to bump up our retirement income which has been dwindling over the years. All in all, it’s a good thing.

Now that the roof is well on its way, Nat is now looking forward to the rest of the project. Being a man he’s constantly interested in how things are built, how things are assembled and how they work. This is all new for him and his curiosity is anxiously awaiting to see how this whole project goes together. With every man that has driven into our driveway, Nat’s been there to meet him, get to know him a bit and ask all the questions he can think of. I admire him for that as he leaves no stone unturned and becomes more knowledgeable. His curiosity can sometimes get the better of him as the conversation can sometimes deviate from the work at hand. This is where I truly believe he misses that “male bonding” thing. Living with a nice, albeit sometimes crazy, wife can be stressful and a little boring at times, but it’s not the same as a good guy-to-guy talk!!

As I’m writing this post I now see yet another man wandering about the house. Not too sure whether to check things out, like Nat would, but I’ll see how it goes and maybe continue to peek out the windows to see what I can see. This is all too weird – me alone in the house and three men wandering about on the roof and around the grounds with tools that scrape, cut, buzz and bang. This is that time where I miss Nat. Somehow I feel outnumbered, but not in a fearful way. He’ll be thrilled when he arrives home shortly after lunch – more men to talk to!!!!


Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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