Well, this weekend ended up a bit more exciting than expected. We went down to the lake house and, having felt a bit sleep deprived since returning from Hawaii the previous weekend, slept in until 8 or so. Just as we were finally getting up, we noticed a metallic sound. We’d been wondering a bit about the roof there; during heavy rain, there’s been a plonking noise, like rain falling onto a tin roof, but it just seemed to be into the fireplace. This time, it seemed to be to the left of the bed – right where there was a bulging biut of paint that we’d poked at a while back, but that just seemed to be a loose flake. Then Ted noticed a drip onto the bed, right next to me. This is where I should mention that the ceiling in that room is about 18-20 feet high. So first we got to go out in the rain and figure out how to get the Really Big Ladder into our bedroom (answer: through the front door, up the stairs, out onto the back deck, then back into the bedroom’s door on the same deck). Then we got it set up, he sawed a hole through the ceiling drywall and pulled out some insulation, and was able to see a bit of daylight. Then we got the ladder back out of the bedroom and onto the deck so he could get up onto the roof – by then it had stopped raining and he found the crack. (He gets nominated to do all the high-up stuff by virtue of being nearly a foot taller. That roof is particularly scary, because that extra-tall bedroom and matching living room are on the second floor, so the roof is really 3 stories up.) It turns out that the roof vents there are plastic. That one had been screwed down too tightly, and a crack propagated until it was no longer covered by a roof shingle. He checked further and found a similar crack in another vent. He managed to fix them well (caulking and duct tape)enough to hold for a long time, but we’ll eventually need to replace the vents.

And then after all that we got to go out rowing, where I managed 13.3 km of the 15 I was supposed to do on the erg. It started out smooth but was getting rougher and since that was the longest distance I’ve done in a bost in years, my hands needed a break. Sunday morning, I was glad I’d planned to go out in the kayak, because even in that it was rougher than I’d really like – I did another 6km or so, then did a short interval piece on the erg to make up a bit more distance. Ow. We decided to stay a bit later than usual and it eventually calmed down, so Ted got to go out rowing – he doesn’t seem to like kayaking as much as I do. Also, I’m convinced that 1km in a kayak takes more energy than the same distance rowing since it’s less efficient, but he thinks it doesn’t count as exercise because your heart rate doesn’t get up as high. Whatever.

I do realize a leaky roof in your second home may be the ultimate first-world problem.

Then there are problems that are universal. Sadly, today I found out that one of our old rowing friends from our Texas days has just died of cancer. At least he was an older man – I think he was retired when we knew him there and we left there in late ’95. He was a crusty old guy, VP of our rowing club; that was where I learned that an organization can work really well if you have a second-in-command who doesn’t mind riling people up to get work done together with a chief who’s good at smoothing feathers.

We ran into him a few times after that when he was refereeing at various regattas; he’d never have been unfair in any way but it was always a good feeling to meet up with a friendly ref. I think our politics were diametrically opposed, since he was active in the local Republican party, but what we talked about was rowing and that was what mattered. Smooth water and clean catches, Tom.