Things That Eat You Up

Dad's Truck Filled With Tools at My House

My Dad sat back in a chair at my kitchen table. He sipped his coffee. He just had been on the roof of my house, knocking down a leaky, dilapidated chimney and patching the hole.

All summer long, I watched the water stain inside one of our closets grow. Each rainstorm expanded the stain. From the plaster wall's perspective, the summer drought was ok.  

When I see a roof covered with tarps, and think, "how sad, that family can't afford to fix their roof." It's so fundamental, a roof over your head. And here was my roof leaking from a chimney wrapped in a weatherbeaten tarp. How sad, that family bought that home and can't even afford to fix their roof. Times are hard, one of my neighbors might have said.

"I love being a homeowner," I told my Dad as he continued to sip the weak coffee I brewed him as a weak thank you for his time on my roof. "But, it makes me realize all the things I don't know. I don't know about shingles, plumbing, or heaters, so I'm constantly asking people questions about houses. The worst is not knowing or understanding something. I'd rather know what's wrong, even if it is very costly repair. I just hate not knowing."

My Dad nodded and sat back, "And it eats you up inside," he said.

"Yes! It does!" I said. I expected he'd say he too had these feelings, but instead he said:

"You always were like that. Things would eat you up. Your brother was so laid back. We always thought if you could each trade a little of your personalities, you'd both be better off."

I smiled. "Yes, I've often felt that way."

My brother is confident and amiable. He's relaxed, on the surface, anyway. He's well-liked by my extended family, and that's well-deserved. He's got a great girlfriend and the two of them are fantastic with Beren. While he might have been laid back about schoolwork as a kid, but he's a competitive and driven adult. People are complicated.

"Yeah, things would just eat you up," my Dad repeated.

After he finished his coffee, I helped him carry his tools to his truck. "I was glad to take care of that roof. It's been on my mind all summer. I just kept thinking about it," he said.