Hazmat Coverall & A Face Mask

Hazmat Coverall & A Face Mask

The weather today is perfect for working. Sunny, dry, not too hot, not too humid, just perfect.

At 6:00 a.m. this morning I decided to go for a short walk. After tying up the running shoes, out I went. Oh my it was lovely. The air was cool, 15C, and it was windy, so that the leaves on the trees swayed and whispered as I passed. Few people are out at that hour of the morning, but I did greet in passing one other older woman out walking, and a jogger passed me at one point. About an hour after I got back my bad knee started to ache, oh dear. I rubbed a wee bit of Voltaren on it, and that seemed to settle it down. The elliptical machine does not bother my knee at all, with a similar repetitious movement, so it must be the repetitive impact of stepping on pavement that irritates the joint.

Attila got right down to it today. He donned a hazmat coverall, pulled his face mask into place, grabbed his shovel, the saw, a crowbar, an industrial strength garbage bag, and went to work. What he was shovelling out was the junk at the back end of the garage, where the roof had always leaked, where things like wall studs had rotted to splinters, where mouse nests long abandoned still smelled horrid when wet, oh the list goes on. After cutting out all the rotted wood, removing all the soggy stinking insulation, and the mouse nests, he shovelled it all up and into the waiting garbage bag. Out it went into the dumpster.

Attila shovelling out the garage Attila shovelling out the back wall cavities in the garage. They were filled with soggy stinking insulation, mouse nests, and rotten wood. No more! There was a reason this house sat empty for years and no one wanted to buy it until we came along!

Whoever built the garage was an idiot. It probably leaked right from the beginning, the roof having been almost flat. Water, water, water, it is predictable in its obsession to find mother earth. How could they not know the roof design was untenable.

Now that the rotten wood and rotting materials are removed from the back of the garage, and the water from the storm has evaporated, Attila is ready to begin installing the new roof beams. Oh happy day.

This morning the metal roofing arrived, the driver helped Attila carry it to the back yard. I love the light colour, a shade of light gray. Eventually we will put a new roof on the house itself, with metal roofing of the same colour. By the time we get to that I think Attila’s days of working in high places may well be over, and a contractor will need to be hired to do the job. I have my ever roving eye open for funding or grant programs for low income people, to achieve this. We have many years of service left in the current shingles, which Attila and Lares installed in 2010, so I have lots of time.

Metal roofing This is the new metal roofing. It certainly doesn’t take up much room, when you consider the huge task it performs in keeping a building dry and safe from the elements.

The roof that is being removed consists of: three or more layers of waterproof sheeting, none of which kept the water out; two layers of black shingles, neither of which kept the water out. The garage roof sits in the afternoon sun, so that in the summer it becomes incredibly hot, too hot to touch. This hot air slowly permeates into the house through the walls, and the windows, even though they shut right in the afternoons. It will be very pleasant to have a light coloured roof, properly vented, that will not gather and retain incredible amounts of heat in the summer. The metal roof will also easily shed snow, relieving Attila of the job of shovelling the snow load off the garage roof. There are so many benefits to this project!

Old garage roof profile The old garage roof, the edge of the front half of it. The back half of the roof has been removed, and what you see here has the top layer of shingles and waterproof membrane removed, many layers remain. Attila is removing this roof with Sawzall, and it is brutally hard work, which is only half done. He will install the new roof on the back half of the garage, then he will work on removing the roof on the front half of the garage.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 4:00 PM EDT Tuesday 19 June 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 21.8°C
Dew point: 11.6°C
Humidity: 52%
Wind: SW 17 km/h
Humidex: 24
Visibility: 24 km


“My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.”
Edith Sitwell
1887 – 1964

Oh, and writing!


  1. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    Is Attila going to have any help lifting the beams and roofing into place? That’s a lot of weight for one man.

    Don’t blame him at all for the hazmat suit and mask, I’d feel filthy after that job due to all the old debris.

  2. Teri, the first thing he did when he was done was peel off the suit and have a bath. It was a filthy job, and I think it is the last of them here at Mist Cottage. Well, no, the attic will be quite awful to deal with if we ever have to, but perhaps we won’t, it is well insulated now and unless we have serious leaks in the roof it won’t need our attention, hopefully ever! Fingers crossed.

    Attila is a one man show. He will do all the carrying and lifting and demolishing and building himself. That is the way he wants to do it. I suggested he ask a friend to assist him, but he was not interested in doing that, wants to do it all himself. By the time the project is done, he will be exhausted, and happy with himself. Luckily he knows how to pace himself. For example, right now he is having a nap, after which he will go back out to work on the roof until it is too dark to get anything done. He stops frequently through the day to nap, eat, just sit and think.

  3. WendyNC

    Good for him for taking proper safety precautions. He may insist on being a one-man show, but clearly he’s not stupid about it.

    What a nasty, awful mess that had to be removed. Yuck! It sounds like the truest example of good riddance to bad rubbish.

    Continued best wishes for a successful – and safe – project.

  4. Wendy, Attila has a lot of experience building things now, at the Country House he took on quite a few building projects, the screened in porch, and the large woodshed. As well, he had to build storage sheds, docks, etc. from time to time where he worked when live at the Country House. Those skills are really coming in handy now! He has four rafters up now, four more to go for the back half of the garage, then the plywood, then the metal roofing. He might just finish all eight rafters before throwing in the towel tonight!

    I just carefully ascended the ladder to have a look at his handywork. The garage floor has no standing water in it now, and it is clear of debris. I am hoping that this is the last mouse/mould/rot project on the property, there have been a lot of them.

    We discussed buying a utility trailer vs renting a dumpster, and in the end decided on the dumpster… he will only have to handle the yucky stuff once to get it into the dumpster, no driving to the landfill and unloading!

    Thank you for your good wishes!

  5. Thanks Kate! I am taking a lot of photos of this process, the before is just sooooo disgusting, and the after will be just the way we want it. Attila will put a window in at the back, the one that came out of the kitchen when we got the new windows, so there will be light, and air circulation in there this summer. My camera is old, so I take the pictures, then I have to get the cable and plug it into the camera and the computer, download the pictures, and export them out of the software that downloads them, so I can edit them as I like to do. The whole process slows me down, but when I think of wireless I thing of security and with the cables I know the images are not being intercepted, so the present setup stays the way it is.

  6. Sandy, it is really beginning to feel like a livable little house, less like living at a building project all the time. They are big changes this spring, new windows, attic insulation, and the garage roof, with ic really a garage reclamation. There are bigger projects behind us than there are in front of us, a nice position to be in.

  7. “My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.”
    Edith Sitwell
    1887 – 1964”

    Funny, because just today, when my friend from Oregon was here visiting with me (I gave her a whole slew of my books to mail back to herself) she came across a book about Edith Sitwell and on my suggestion, took it with her.

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