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Mrs.B had a shower the other day. Then she climbed out of bath, and had another shower, curtsy of a trickle of water that came out of the lamp. Now I distinctly remember only to have connected that lamp with electrical wiring, not with any water pipes. I'm daft, but not that daft.

So the roof of the extension has failed us again. We still call it a roof, but 'colander' may be a more appropriate name. Since we bought the house five years ago, not a year has gone by that I didn't have to climb up there with various roof reparation products. It's a roof with some issues. For one, the highest point of the roof is where the rain pipe is connected, so it's small wonder really that water keeps seeping in.

The worst thing is that I've made it impossible to know where exactly that leak is. I insulated the ceiling with rock-wool, and then put up a damp screen to prevent condensation (oh irony) and mould forming. So that leak could be anywhere, and the water will run over the damp screen to where it finds an exit, in this case the bathroom lamp. So I smeared another layer of that thick gooey stuff over the usual culprits (at six o'clock in the morning - the neighbours must think I'm a freak. Over the years, our roof has gathered quite a collection of air vents, most of which are completely useless now and serve more as rain vents than air vents.

Anyway, I've had it with that roof. I've been looking around on internet and I'm going for a EDPM rubber roof, which is guaranteed leak-proof for twenty years and should protect the house for the next fifty years. That means that I'll have to replace it when I'm ninety, but that's a worry for later.

Going Through The Roof (Water)

I didn’t post during the last couple of days, because the number of leaks in the ceiling of the computer room quickly increased. The problem is that this room has (or in the mean time had) a false ceiling, so there was no way to know how serious the problem was, how it was evolving, how many leaks we had and where the water was coming from exactly. So I spent the weekend on the roof.

It is a flat roof, covered with tarmac with a number of ventilation shafts and chimneys in different sizes. On top of the tarmac there’s a layer of pebbles to prevent it from heating up too much so it won’t start to bulge or tear apart. But that layer also held a load of mud and moss, and we suspected that was what causes the water to remain on the roof. The moss might also be responsible for making cracks in the tarmac.

On Saturday, we shovelled and sifted approximately five tonnes of pebbles and mud and separated it into two tonnes of pebbles and three tonnes of mud and moss. It was by far the heaviest and dirtiest chore I did so far on the house (geddit: on the house?) It was cold and wet up there too, with the occasional shower, but by the end of the day the sun came out. Despite a reduction in man-power (or rather woman-power) in the afternoon – my wife really had to go see a friend for an hour and didn’t make it back to the roof until four hours later – the roof was cleared and cleaned by the early evening.

The next morning, the neighbours nearly choked on their cornflakes because of the ruckus we were making in bed (reading comics and building pillow forts). Then we went off to the polling station to cast our democratic vote and smite the evil fascists in the deep fiery furnaces of hell. That’s right: we win! They loose! Democracy and tolerance have prevailed! We haven’t been standing in the pouring rain and hail for nothing on that concert! But anyway, back to the roof…

Things were a lot easier and much less back-breaking on Sunday. I moved the pebbles to the side of the roof, gave it another good scrubbing, and another one. I also removed the tiles of the false ceiling in the computer room, because they were bloated with water anyway and the chances of them returning to their original state were nil. I’d also grown worried that at some stage they might simply drop off and onto my head as I write my posts. Imagine, the first blogger killed in the line of duty. By a water-soggy bloated ceiling tile.

This allowed me to see that the leaks were not situated right above my computer and measure up the probable location of the hole(s) in the tarmac. The culprit proved to be a ventilation pipe – you know, those black plastic mushrooms you find on flat roofs. I peeled away the old sealing stuff and gave it a good scrub. Then I waited until my wife went horse-riding and borrowed her hair-dryer to dry the tarmac. First I treated the area with a primer, then after 90 minutes of drying I applied the reparation mastic which I reinforced with a layer of reinforcement mesh. It still needs a second layer, but it was raining yesterday evening and anyway I was home too late from work and shopping. But so far, so good: it seems to hold.

So now I can put my computer back, in a room with half a false ceiling and strange, smelly vegetal life forms on the wet spots. If only our bedroom would be finished already!


They say dog’s owners resemble their dogs (or vice versa), but I never knew house owners also resemble their houses. At the moment, we do: both my house and I are leaking.

It all started on Sunday, during the biblical storms that nearly drowned us at the Concert for Tolerance. The hail and rain chilled me to the bone. Yesterday I got up not feeling well and returned to bed in the evening feeling worse. I did go to work, but my productivity was not even close to optimal. Today it’s the same scenario, although I got to sleep a bit longer. But I had a meeting just after lunch that I didn’t want to postpone yet again. So this working men’s hero dragged himself to Brussels, with a clogged up nose with built-in waterfall, a pounding headache that started as soon as I set foot on the bus and a somewhat reduced hearing ability. I also got a very annoying pimple right on the rim of my right nostril, so it hurts as hell every time I wipe my nose.

The house’s symptoms are a dripping ceiling in my wife’s office. When I checked my e-mail on Sunday I heard this alarming ‘drip-drip-drip’ noise close behind me. It took me a while to find the leaks because the light isn’t working. Luckily I put my socked foot right into the puddle so then I knew where it was for sure.

The water is seeping in at three places. The problem is that there’s a false ceiling, so I can’t actually see where it enters. I changed into some shorts and a T-shirt and climbed onto the flat roof to check for damage. Getting up there in typical summer outfit (the weather was nice earlier that day) in chilling wind and pouring rain didn’t do wonders for my health either. I didn’t find any obvious holes, which means that next weekend I can spend all of my time removing two tonnes of pebbles, cleaning up the roof, scanning for damage and repairing it. Hopefully I’ll just have to pour some of that liquid repair stuff on it. If not, I’ll have to lay a new layer of tarmac roll on it.

Anyway, I’ll have to get better first if I want to play super-roof-repair-man on Saturday.

Oil Shortage

Faithful readers of this weblog will know that it’s been quite the year. First we had to organise the wedding, and halfway through preparations we were told that the place where we were going to organise the wedding party got sold. So we had to look for a new place and organise (and pay) much more than expected. Then in February we were told that the apartment building we were living in was going to be sold, so we had to look for a new place. We decided we wanted to buy something, and luckily we quickly found a nice house. So we barely got off the plane from our honeymoon to Ecuador before we had to start redecorating the place, which included some re-plastering half the dining room. But finally, last weekend we could move to our new home.

And that was it. No more to do for the rest of the year, apart from redecorating the occasional room if and when we felt like it. No more pressure. No more major projects.

So yesterday she-who-makes-the-streets-unsafe-in-her-Nissan-Micra took her little car to the garage, for a routine check-up and small maintenance. This included changing the oil, and it was there and then that the mechanic noticed that the oil filter needed to be changed too. So he changed it and sent my wife merrily along her merry way to check upon our mare that – as you all know – is staying with a handsome yet riper gentleman (stallion) to get pregnant. Until she noticed that the oil warning light blinked. She quickly pulled over and called the mechanic. Says this Galactic-Class idiot: ‘No problem madam, just come back and we’ll fix it’.

For those who are not aware of the exact problem: NEVER, EVER drive a car when you discovered it has an oil problem, because your engine NEEDS oil like you need air to breathe. Without any oil, the pistons in the engine will block, or rather fuse with the rest of your motor. And that’s exactly what happened. So end of car, game over.

So now my wife is going to sue the garage, and we are temporarily out of car. Unfortunately, we are also temporarily out of money, since we already paid for a wedding with five million guests and for a luxury villa with five bedrooms, a lush garden and room for scores of ponies.

Maybe we can earn some extra money with our new circus act: my wife is so stressed up from all these recent events that she can walk straight up a wall and dance on the ceiling. We’re also available for business parties!

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