Monday, August 08, 2005

Weekend Warriors

On Friday afternoon we were advised that we were ripped off last summer when we paid a roofer (who has disappeared) nearly $900 to wash, repair, and condition my cedar shake roof. I trust this new information because the shake shingles reclining atop the mock-pagoda slope of our roof are showing a dingy grey through the copper “treatment” from last year, curling inward as if they are hugging their bosoms, and in many cases just breaking apart like abandoned lovers. The lovely coppery sleekness they displayed last summer was only temporary--accomplished, I’m told, by mixing cedar-toned stain with a tablespoon or so of linseed oil, and lots and lots of water.

This is apparently a popular con in the Pacific Northwest where many homes are graced with the beauty, but utter impracticality, of shake roofs. The new roofer shrugged his shoulders at my obvious dismay and assured me these things happen, “you live and you learn,” he intoned as he tore off and handed me his estimate.

I all too often find myself getting an unsolicited education.

* * * *

My dog Phoebe is ill. She seems to have a cold. She is unable to breathe through her perky little nose, and last night she panted, gurgled and wheezed through her sleep. This morning, although she ate, drank, and seemed upbeat, I decided to call our regular vet for advice. She would not see us, instead recommending another clinic, because, she explained, Phoebe might need “oxygen therapy.” My dog needs oxygen therapy? I need oxygen therapy! I phoned the clinic for an estimate on costs for a check-up and this oxygen treatment, and the curt woman advised me that examining the dog is $62, and if she required the oxygen therapy, it could cost “several hundred dollars.”

In the meantime, a neighbor (who is a nurse) recommended children’s Benedryle, which seems to have cleared her nose swimmingly for about $6.

* * * *

Yesterday Aaron and I went with a couple of friends to float the Clackamus River. This was a new experience for me—an afternoon of genuine blue-collar fun. Floating the river is a sort of pared-down version of an afternoon aboard a yacht. Only the yacht is a $60 Coleman blow-up raft, outfitted with an ingenious attachable cooler float. We received lots of appreciative smiles and nods, and more than a few inquiries about the cooler float. Here are some things we observed as we rode the wild rapids of the Clackamus:

* Lots of empty beer cans thrown to the bottom of the river (we gave up trying to fish them all out)
* A grandmother, her granddaughter and a black dog happily floating in a two-person raft
* Two gonzo youth sliding kayaks down a 50-foot rock face
* Huge ospreys circling overhead, the sunlight shining through their white-tipped wings
* Three eerie rows of crackling power lines, looming like the skeletons of giant suma
wrestlers poised to grab us. They hummed and sputtered as we dug our oars into the swampy river to get past them.
* The zen-like sounds of water flowing over shallow rapids.
* A bright-orange craw-dad skittering across the polished rocks of the shoreline
* The afternoon sun ducking behind a ridge of fir-trimmed mountains, casting a sort of lamp-
light over the waning day.


At 8:04 PM, Anonymous Sandy said...

Glad to hear you found some peace and beauty on the river, despite the litter and (ugly) signs of electricity.

Your roofing surprise reminds me how much home ownership is over-rated. (I think that about my condo, too).

Lastly, I'm sorry to hear Phoebe isn't feeling 100%. (She's had a rough year, huh?) The oxygen therapy made me chuckle. Glad you decided to try the benadryl and found some success. I guess I'd feel differently if they'd let you try the oxygen therapy for free but at that price I'd be tempted to take her into a steamy bathroom and see if that helps. :-)

At 12:10 PM, Blogger Pamela said...

Thanks, Sandy, Phoebe seems to be completely recovered and was groomed yesterday, so is feeling pretty proud of herself at the moment!

I, on the other hand, could still use a little oxygen -- need to breathe!


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