Thoughts by Richard Bleil
There is an awful lot of noise as I write this. Outside, the roofers are currently stripping away the old shingles off of my roof, dropping debris all around my house, scraping and hammering away before they can put on the new improved shingles. The new shingles are heavy-duty and should be better able to resist storms and protect the house. In addition, they’ll look much better. They discovered that the exhaust chimney for my gas-powered furnace was improperly installed and includes to cinder blocks sitting atop each other held down by nothing more than gravity.
Construction is always like this. This is not a new construction, but an upgrade to an existing one. Before any new improvements can be made, there’s always the creation of an enormous mess. I’m kind of a mess right now, too, but I’m in reconstruction. Not long ago I was sleeping on couches (metaphorically) of great people kind enough to keep me from sleeping in the streets. I was a mess. Homeless, eating two things every three days, my car had been repossessed, I frankly cannot imagine being a bigger mess. It was akin to the people today stripping the old shingles off of my roof, falling to the ground, creating chaos all around the house even to the point of hazardous.
Slowly, I began digging my way out of the chaos. It started with the government Covid relief check, which I used to purchase a vehicle, in its entirety without a loan. The check was a little more than a thousand dollars, and if you are buying a vehicle for that much money, you won’t get anything great. It was the first step in the reconstruction of my life. On my roof, it would be the equivalent of laying down the water barrier, a sort of rubber sheet that goes over the plywood. It’s not pretty, but it’s important. My vehicle was a quarter-century old Ford truck. She was “quirky”, to be sure, but once I put on a set of tires that matched, she was actually quite reliable. She wasn’t enough. The mileage was terrible, and before the tires she shook like a fish gasping for air on a beach. But she worked. Technically, I suppose they could have stopped at the moisture barrier sheet. It would have kept the rain out, but it wasn’t pretty, and probably would have blown off in a moderate wind. There was definitely more to do.
Next came the shingles. Darker than the ones they were replacing, I think they actually look very good. I splurged for the better shingles that will hold up better as the weather becomes increasingly extreme. This is the step that protects the house, much like the training I’ve been taking for my real estate license. I was lucky. My parents put me in their will and were careful to save their money (a lesson I clearly never learned). As such, I was fortunate enough to gain a nice inheritance, which I used largely to protect my future. I spent most of it, but with it I purchased this house paying cash for it in its entirety. I have no mortgage to pay off and replaced the old vehicle with two that have better mileage and are even more reliable. These will provide me with a kind of cushion if things go bad once again, helping me to have transportation and a home if new storms arise in my life. I can stay here for very little money or use it as an investment as a way to raise money, if necessary, by selling it.
Tonight, the crew putting up the shingles seems to be nearly done. The shingles are up, but there is still clean-up necessary around the house. This is a stage in construction, where the job is nearly complete and it’s just a matter of cleaning up the aftermath. Here I am, still without a reliable income and more or less drifting on what remains of the inheritance. I’m still alone, and only just beginning to find new friends in this area as most of my old friends are literally hundreds of miles away. My life is still surrounded by a mess and a lot of clean-up remains to be done. Hopefully, tomorrow, the crew will come back and take away the trailer of garbage and pick up the few items they left on my lawn, and if I’m lucky, I’ll finish my real estate exam and perhaps can find a job to bring in a decent if not steady income and start getting out and making friends.