Sunday, July 11, 2010


Home repairs always take twice as long as you think and always cost twice as much. It happened again!

My elderly uncle lives alone in a tiny block house in central Illinois where I spent my childhood. My sister and I were raised by our grandparents there and this much loved bachelor uncle was part of our family. Time passed and we all grew older. She and I married and moved out. Our grandparents, his parents, moved on to glory. He remained single and stayed.

The house is constructed of sturdy concrete blocks with that new-fangled modern siding attached. It's small and cozy and he wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world. It has been home for him for far too long to change things now. His body is wearing out, much like his house, but we're all committed to helping him stay there for the remainder of his golden years.

A recent storm put a limb through the roof of that old house and problems began. This past weekend was the designated time to get the thing fixed. Family members climb on that steep sloping roof to assess the damage. After pulling the limb free it was decided that, yep, a new roof was the solution. Much to their surprise the men removed one layer of asphalt shingles, then another, then a layer of wooden shake shingles and then another! Who knew? Those two layers of old wooden shingles must have been hiding there since that house was built nearly 100 years ago. No one remembers ever even seeing those things.

(I wonder if anyone important ever slept there? George Washington? Abraham Lincoln? Barak Obama? We could have it listed on the National Register of Historic Places, maybe even put up a plaque!)

After much effort on a hot and muggy Illinois day the guys called it quits. They made plans to return to begin again tomorrow. It is a monumental project!

Knowing when to tear something down or when to do all in your power to preserve it takes a great amount of wisdom.

Knowing when and how to care for an elderly family member takes no thought at all.

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