As I’d been saying, it’s always something else. Take roofs, for instance. You can go months, even years without thinking much about them. They’re in jokes like, “Just because there’s snow on the roof doesn’t mean there’s no fire in the furnace,” which considering my recent experience with a broken furnace, would be a low blow.

 

Actually, if there’s snow on the roof, it’s a good thing. That means the insulation is working and heat isn’t escaping. Or it could mean that the snow on the roof will leak, stain, peel paint — or worse.

When that starts, the first hope is that it’s just the flashing. I used to listen to a lot of home-repair programs on the radio — amazing, the trivia I store away in the file cabinet of the mind, stuffing it so that I can’t… More…

 

My father is a home-improving sort of guy. He grew up a poor kid in a cramped Brooklyn apartment, so when he finally got a split-level in the suburbs he never stopped expanding and renovating. There was the deck with carcinogenic charcoal grill in the `50s, the den with full-wall TV and stereo unit in the `60s, the master bedroom with vertiginous spiral staircase in the `70s, and the expanded bathroom with Jacuzzi and bidet (my mother’s idea) in the `80s. In the `90s, he moved into a new house and immediately replaced the Corian countertops with granite. Although he’s now 82, he hasn’t slowed down. A few weeks ago, my husband and I took him to the Home Show at the Philadelphia Convention Center. It just the sort of thing he likes. We ended up liking it,… More…