Roofers and Chairs in the Rafters by Julia Glass

1241140_10201917674004865_33202451_n Yes, I really saw this car. Yes, the bumper sticker actually says “I ❤ my roofer.” I hope and pray this is person is married to a roofer. I cannot say I love my roofer. Need, yes. Love, no.

My house is awash in noises and cadence, of pounding and pulsation. Cannonade and reverberations from new beams dropping, the pitter-pat of feet on my roof, the rat-a-tat rhythm of shingles being nailed. And, in the background, the tinny radio blaring Latin music, hammering into me a guilt for not going to Zumba this morning.

We needed a new roof. Our house is about 14 years old, and we’ve had more than a few bad storms. A couple of months ago we got hail, and it sent the roofers out in droves. We knew we needed a roof, so we did some research and got a reputable roofing company to do our work.

The houses in our ‘hood are all about the same age, so our streets have been awash with roofers from a variety of companies. My favorite source of speculation worked on a house down the street. The “Quality Amish Roofers” were a bunch of Hispanic men with a tinny radio playing similar music. After establishing that these guys were not Amish, my mind reeled with questions: how are these guys hired? How do the Amish tell them where and when to work? Obviously, they have a middle man, but really, then, what do the Amish have to do with any of the roofing? Do they produce the wood? I’m pretty sure the nails and the shingles are mass produced in a factory, so really, what do the Amish have to do with it? Is it just the good old ‘Amish quality?’ As far as I know, there was not a horse and buggy EVER in our ‘hood, so how do they know these guys are living up to Amish Quality?

Okay, you get the gist of the questions . . . .

Back to the bumper sticker. I get the need for a good roof,  but these roofers are putting a damper on my Saturday morning. I wanted everyone to sleep in. But they got here at 7:30. There goes that quiet time. But our new roof means we will be warm and dry, without birds and squirrels in our attic. It’s a give and take, a plus and a minus. I guess it’s a necessary evil, one that cannot be avoided. I just wish we would have been on vacation this week.

 


I read Julia Glass’ Chairs in the Rafters last winter, and loved it. I just went back and re-read it. It’s a quick read, the way a Kindle Single should be, but it encompasses a lot of feeling and depth and a whole lifetime of emotion.

Chairs in the Rafters starts when our narrator has left her husband for a passionate summer with Nick, the love of her life, in order to decide if she should leave her husband for good. Her decision is made on a trip to New Jersey to visit Nick’s best friend and his wife, and a dinner party which seals her fate. The party enchants her into seeing infinite possibilities with Nick, causing her to leave her marriage.

The rest of the story unfolds through the narrator’s relationship with Nick’s best friend, a friendship in its own right. It is a realistic look at monogamy; the give and take, the trade-offs and the compromises that make any relationship work, and how our friendships and acquaintances affect those relationships.

Julia Glass is an incredible writer with a real gift of emotional detail. In this little book she covers a whole life, honing in on the pivotal points that can bolster or undermine a relationship. Everytime I read her, I’m left to wonder if this is a slice of her life. I guess that’s what good fiction, and a good writer, should do.

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