Saturday, September 12, 2009

A True 9-11 Hero: A roommate story

The "Roof"


9-11 heroes come in all sizes and shapes, ethnic backgrounds, ages and gender. My hero is a size zero, 5 foot 4 inch, female roommate with considerable spunk that often includes a healthy dose of in-your-face-itis. Yes, tiring at times, but selectively hysterical at others. Yesterday, on 09/11/09, Gadabout’s 107 pound roommate, Sally Hemp, demonstrated a level of tenacity and fearlessness not normally associated within the realm of roommates. Sally was a hero this past 9-11 and deserves recognition for her bravery, skill and remarkable goodwill.

This is a story of fearlessness, but I am getting ahead of myself, so allow me to start at the beginning. This beginning begins with rain and wind and a leaking roof. It is about a leaking roof that had leaked before, and had been repaired before. It was repaired four years ago after a nameless nor’easter had slammed Virginia Beach for days with high winds and rain. It was repaired at a cost of $150 (which seemed very inexpensive at the time because this roof is three stories high, and I would not personally climb a forty foot ladder and climb onto any three story roof for less than a cool grand).

Anyway, the roof appeared repaired and in good order until last week when the rains appeared. These were significant rains, but not hurricane force rains. It was just, well, just rain and wind. But it was a rain that formed a water spot on the ceiling of one of the upstairs bedrooms and also found its way down the hot water heater vent. Actually, it did more that drip down the water heater vent, it cascaded down the water heater vent. It cascaded on Labor Day, and labor would have to be preformed to maintain good order in Gadabout’s humble home.

It may not come as a surprise that the roofer that roofed the house in 2001, and had repaired the leak in 2005, had closed up shop and went out of business. This truth was discovered after dialing the roofer’s phone number and being told that the number was no longer in service. Drats! Well, this is the fun part, picking a service provider by simply pulling out the yellow pages and making a decision based upon a full page ad. Rather simple, really. Let fate guide and gentle you—surrender to the cosmos, let God provide, the infinite plan and all of that.

The roofer had the Christian “fish” symbol on the ad. Yes, we would let God determine the outcome. The plan was solidified. A roofer would arrive on Friday, 9-11, and Sally would meet said roofer and coordinate repairs while I was at the office providing for the family. At precisely 9:07 AM Sally called to notify me that Darrell had arrived from the “Christian” roofing company. Sometime around 10:00 AM, Sally called and informed me that the repairs would cost $1,970. “$1,970,” I gasped, “are you f#@king kidding me?

“No, I am not kidding you.”

Bruce, my cubical mate, had been listening in and suggested that a 10% military discount was deserved. “Ask for it,” he said staring at me, “just ask for it.”

I nodded and told Sally to ask for the seemingly unattainable 10%.

Sally negotiated and worked Darrell down to $1,850. I could hear the conversation in the background. “$1,850 is the best he’ll do,” she said adding, “I trust this guy.”

“Why do you trust this guy?”

“Well, I was up there looking at all the damage and there is a lot of work to do.”

“Wait, hold on, are you telling me YOU were on the roof?”

“Yes, it was exhilarating….”

The point is that Sally, 107 pound Sally, climbed three stories using a forty foot ladder and personally inspected and surveyed a damaged roof. She scaled a mountain that I would never consider conquering, and she thought nothing of it. Sally went above and beyond the call of roommate duty, and she saved me $120. Sally did this on 9-11. Sally is my personal 9-11 hero.