According to weather experts, New England had a Nor’easter this week. Some areas received as much as 5 inches of rain and the Mount Washington Observatory recorded winds of up to 84 miles per hour on Wednesday evening. It’s been raining since Tuesday here, although the storm moves out of the region today.
Rainy days and nights are good for contemplation and as the Nor’easter began, I was thinking about draperies for the sliding glass door in my dining room. A friend had suggested heavy draperies as the key to reducing heat loss and cutting glare from the street light across the road. I pulled out a stack of old magazines and surfed interior design websites. Linen, glazed cotton, silks. Scalamandre, Pindler & Pindler, and my favorite, Brunschwig & Fils.
Ah, draperies, how I love you.
After my midweek day dreams, my tired tête hit the pillow Wednesday night with tender thoughts of toile all around. A gentle plunk of raindrops on shingles momentarily calmed me and I began my drift towards the land of Nod. Then, I heard a quiet and occasional banging accompanied by a scraping sound. What was it? A tree? A piece of aluminum siding? Sigh…I couldn’t sleep.
During a break in the rain, I clutched my leopard bathrobe about me tightly, slid into some flip-flops, and went outside. I peered around the yard behind my bedroom, listening to the wild wind through the trees. My eyes adjusted to the darkness. Nothing was loose, nothing had fallen down.
What was it?
I came back into the house and stood still, listening. Was that a drip?
Where was it coming from?
The kitchen slider.
There was a leak somewhere. I texted a handy gentleman friend, Monsieur DeeHan, who had done a few repair jobs for me. We had looked at the screen porch roof the day before and noticed a place where the flashing needed repair. We had talked about gutters and wind and curling shingles. We had hoped for the best until the rain subsided and Monsieur DeeHan could take a good look at things.
“There’s a leak,” I texted. “Do you think the screen porch roof needs to be re-shingled?”
Monsieur DeeHan’s calm response was “Let’s fix the leak first. Try to sleep. I’ll be over first thing in the morning.”
The rain continued on Thursday, off and on. The drip fix would require a multi-pronged approach and nothing could be done to Monsieur DeeHan’s excellent standard until the rain stopped. He patchworked a temporary solution until Friday’s promised clearing. All day long, I ran up and down the stairs from my office to examine the slider, assess the severity, and text Monsieur DeeHan. I imagined worst-case scenarios. My screen porch would fall into a heap, there would be a giant gaping hole in my house, and I would have a blue tarp tacked onto the siding forever. Or worse, the house would collapse upon itself and I’d be living in the garage with the chipmunks.
From high-end draperies to high anxiety drama, such are the thoughts of a lady alone in a new old house.
Thursday night was similar to Wednesday and I heard the banging and scraping again. I sat up in bed and looked out the window. Eureka! Mrs. Perron, the prior lady alone of the house, had hung a chartreuse tin container filled with plastic hosta on the screen porch and THAT was the source of the banging. I had left it hanging there in her memory when I moved in. Now I knew the source of one sound.
But what about the scraping? Maybe it was the burning bush (Euonymus alatas) outside my bedroom window.
Tired as I was from Wednesday’s sleepless slumber, I think I slept through most of Thursday night. Friday is breaking through now and the school bus just rumbled by. I’d better get a move on. No drama and no draperies today. Just solving the problem of the last sound.
Bonjour and merci, Monsieur DeeHan, mon héro!
When did you get chipmunks?
Maybe I dreamed them up. Like Ebenezer Scrooge and his Christmas spirits…
Better than flying squirrels, at any rate.