Repairing Cabin in Maine Woods —
#6 on the List of What Needs to Be Done 2009:
Remove collapsed roof from the screen porch and rebuild entirely
- Largest project of this summer, the roof of the back porch had collapsed and needs to be removed and potentially rebuilt. The floorboards to this porch also need to be gutted out and replaced.
- Unessential to the functioning of the main cabin area, and, after the broken roof is removed, may be put off until the following season.
Chaya and I had previously cleaned and scrubbed the cabin to its bones, gotten rid of anything broken, crap-laden, or otherwise in the way, and were set to move right in.
It was now high time to fix the collapsed screen porch on the cabin.
This was to be one of the biggest tasks of the 2009 season of living in the Maine woods, so I took advantage of the fact that my father — a naturally born handyman — happened to be in Maine for my wedding.
And, as I am a not-so-naturally-born-handyman, I enticed my family to go out to cabin with the sinister hope of putting my father to work.
They took the bait.
The day after the wedding my family and a few friends all packed into two large vehicles and drove out to the north Maine woods.
After a quick showing of the one room cabin to my family, I turned to my father and muttered a brief “come out here and take a look at this.”
I showed him the collapsed room that sat in a disjointed pile adjacent to the main cabin structure. Half of the roof still hung precariously off of the side of the cabin while half of it had already crumbled to the earth. I thought that it would take a small team of men to deconstruct this porch. I thought wrong.
The deconstruction of the screen porch
The situation: a collapsed screen porch next to the cabin
My father inspects the situation
He wiggles it a little . . .
. . . and then tears it down with his bare hands
No situation, no more — we can now use our backdoor
The once problematic screen porch is now only a broken down mass of tinder
I watched as the destructive carnage commenced. I tried hard to find space to help my father work, but found myself far more useful out of the way. My father tore the old roof limb from limb and then knocked it all down with a couple big tugs. Sometimes, I was able to sneak in – like a mongoose on a carcass – and remove a small chunk of wood or a useless scrap of screen or two . . .
But, for the most part, I watched as my father quickly grabbed each piece of wood and then ripped it apart with such rhythm and speed that I could not fathom how he was not cutting his hands to shreds on the hundreds of nails that suck out of all sides of the boards.
“How to you keep from cutting your hands on all the nails?” I finally asked.
“I watch where I put my hands,” my father answered simply.
He then left me to ponder this as he tore off another chunk from the roof with careless seeming hast.
I suppose fathers should always amaze their sons. I am nearing 30 years old, I am married, I have traveled through more than 45 countries on 5 continents, I have biked clear across nations, I have walked for hundreds of miles, I have been arrested, jailed, beaten, lived in a monastery, climbed mountains in the Andes, hiked through the Himalaya, learned to speak Chinese, and hitchhiked across China, but I have never gotten over the amazement that I hold for my father.
As the little boy Freud who compares swords with his pops, I know that I will always come up a little short. But I know that this is how all men should feel about their fathers.
This season in the Maine woods is for tearing down and cleaning up, next season should be for building back up.
Removing the collapsed roof from the side of the cabin left a small opening between the back door and its frame. To fix this, my father and I grabbed a two by four from the newly formed scrap pile and cut it down and nailed it to the door frame.
No opening, no more.
Cabin in the Maine Woods project
- Cabin in the Maine Woods Introduction
- Initial Inspection of Cabin — What needs to be done?
- Cleaning Cabin
Repairing Cabin in Maine Woods