Over the Hill

SLO County rain is a welcome joy, even when the roof leaks

Phil Dirkx
Phil Dirkx jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Don’t our rains feel wonderful?

Californians have been too long on short water rations. But the rains have a slight drawback for some people. Rain is slightly less wonderful if you have a leaky roof — as we do.

Our roof may have been leaky for the past four or five years, but how would we know? Little rain fell then. Very possibly not enough fell to wet our ceiling noticeably. But this winter, heavy rains fell, and I noticed wet spots in the ceiling. I’ve seen enough to convince me we need serious repairs or a new roof altogether.

Unfortunately we’ll probably have to wait two or three months to get the roof work started. Other people’s leaky roofs are in the waiting line ahead of ours. So now I have a split personality. I love seeing rain and I dread seeing rain.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking for government aid. All I want is sympathy. Well, of course, I’d probably take a new-roof subsidy if the government offered one. But I’m really not suggesting it.

I believe the government should save its money for people who really need it. That would include those whose homes are now below sea level or soon will be. The world’s sea levels are rising. The ice caps near the North and South Poles are melting and releasing water. Mountain glaciers are also melting. A headline in the Jan. 19 Tribune said, “Earth sets heat record for a third straight year.”

No, I’m not expecting a subsidy, just as Mamie and I didn’t expect one in 1962. That was when we moved back to Paso Robles. Mike was in first grade and Sandy in kindergarten. We bought a house in Sherwood Acres. That’s a tract of small houses east of Creston Road and south of Sherwood Road.

The houses there had gravel roofs that were low but not flat. During our first summer in Sherwood Acres we saw several neighbors on their roofs with shovels, hoes and big brooms removing the gravel. They were about to get new roofs, and removing the gravel themselves lowered the cost.

The following winter, we noticed some leaks in our roof. So then, during the next summer, all four of us were up on our roof with shovels, hoes and brooms removing the gravel, preparing for a new roof.

Today, I still use the garden wheelbarrow that I bought back then to carry the gravel to the edge of the roof and dump down the kids’ slide.

That new roof cost $250 or $350 in 1963. The new roof I’m looking at getting in 2017 will probably cost about $15,000 or $16,000.

But every time I see pictures of families whose homes have been inundated by rising water along rivers or coastlines, I know my roof problem is insignificant. I’m getting off cheap.

So even if my ceiling gets more stained while I wait my turn for a new roof, I’ll still gladly give thanks for every drop of rain we get this winter.

Phil Dirkx’s column is special to The Tribune. He has lived in Paso Robles for more than five decades, and his column appears here every week. Reach Dirkx at 805-238-2372 or phild2008@sbcglobal.net.