The Ex-Files – Up On The Roof Top

A couple of years before the kids and I left CP, he thought he could get some rent knocked off if he offered to re-shingle the roof of the house we were living in. The landlord, Mr. K, was a very understanding man so we were pretty sure he would go for it, especially since CP had experience in the roofing industry. So he thought. He actually only worked for a year or so for a cousin of his and thought he was a professional after that. Go figure.

My parents rented that house for a while before CP and I lived there. I lived there as well before I ventured out on my own. We lived there for several years before my parents split and then my Dad lived there with my sisters. When my sisters moved out on their own, Dad decided to take a job elsewhere so the house was up for grabs. CP and I jumped at the chance to get in that house and out of our shitty little apartment. Anyway, the roof hadn’t been re-shingled in quite some time and was due for a make-over.

Mr. K agreed to knock off a month’s rent or maybe more, I don’t recall now. Mr. K furnished the materials and CP was to do the work. Well, my Dad came home on the weekends and for holidays so he was there quite often to help with things. (God knows I couldn’t get CP to fix anything in a timely manner, so Dad took care of those things when he came home.) Dad offered to help with the roof, of course. CP was very particular about how it was supposed to be done and he gave Dad detailed instruction so it would be done right. As if Dad was born yesterday and never did anything in his life. Give me a break.

I don’t remember how CP’s brother, Tom, got involved but he came over to help with the roof. CP had to make sure both Tom and my Dad understood how to use a plumb-line because that was the only way to make sure the shingles were on straight. Naturally, CP was such a pro that he, himself did not need to use the plumb-line. While they were all working in the hot sun on the roof, Tom would make wisecracks (all in fun) about how serious CP was and CP was getting pissed. Dad and Tom would chuckle a little and continue working. Tom didn’t let up though. He kept giving CP a hard time about this, that, and the other. Mostly, he gave him shit about why he wasn’t using a plumb-line because his lines weren’t straight! Dad told me later that CP was fuming and his head looked like it would explode. At the end of the day, the job was nearly done and CP told Tom he wouldn’t need any more help.

It’s a good thing it didn’t rain because the roof sat unfinished for several days. I thought to myself, that son of a bitch is going to just leave it unfinished like he does every fucking thing else around here! The next weekend, Dad was back and he decided to finish the roof. Of course, he was respectful and offered CP his services. CP wasn’t too thrilled about it but because he had to work, he gave in. He gave Dad explicit instructions to use the plumb-line so the shingles would be straight. He bitched about half the shingles weren’t properly lined up and he wasn’t referring to what he did himself. Dad was a little aggravated, of course. He told CP that they used the goddam plumb-line so the shingles he and Tom put up were straight. CP insisted that Mr. K was going to be pissed and that he’d have to do the whole roof over again. Dad told him that you can’t even tell from the ground if anything is crooked or not.

Dad finished that job and when CP came home from work, he was already prepared to have to purchase materials and start over on the roof. He wasn’t happy about the expense since this was supposed to help us with the rent. Mr. K came over the next evening after CP came home from work. He went up on the ladder, looked around at the roof, and came back down. He said, “That looks great! Good job!” We got our discount on the rent and guess who took all the credit for such a good job? That good-for-nothing ex of mine, that’s who. He never thanked my Dad or Tom for the help. He never offered any compensation, not that Dad would have taken it, but it would have been a nice gesture.

I still can’t believe I was with that man for 12 freakin’ years! Do you ever just want to kick yourself?


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