A roof over our heads!!!

The BEFORE picture!Well, if you’ve been getting our prayer newsletters (sign up here), you’ve seen various permutations of this sad site:

It’s the back of our house…focusing specifically on the “open wound” of the corner of our roof. For the uninitiated in this long-drawn-out-melodrama that is the back of our house, there used to be a sort of run-down “stable” connected to the back of our house. It dates from when it was all one property in our little conglomeration of buildings…a long time ago. Well, the new neighbors (understandably) tore it down. It needed to come down, but it has provoked a bit of consternation on my part because it exposes to the elements “unfinished” parts of our house. Now I need to finish them and I don’t know how nor do I have the money to have it done.

Enter some friends we’ve made here who DO know how and have offered to do much free or cheaply…when they have time. The blue tarp in the picture is thanks to one of them at least putting a “bandage” on the open wound until he could find free time to actually do the roofing work needed.

I became convinced that he was not going to be able to get around to it and asked if he would recommend a contractor who might work with my limited budget, paying on time, etc. That, apparently, lit a fire under him and he said that it would still be way too expensive for me and he finally set a date and we decided to do just the roof part. (there’s a ton more to do but the roof was necessary before autumn set in!)

Another BEFORE pictureThe roof we never had...at 2pmSo, Wednesday of this week Jacques and Didier came over and took off the tarp and “cleaned the wound”…

Then I played “go-fer” for the next 4-5 hours or so while Jacques and Didier worked their magic. Now and then I did a menial task for them but mostly I just prayed for them as they danced up high and for our unsaved neighbors from Turkey, in whose courtyard I stood. I couldn’t help but want to say to them, “But really, I do know how to do things…like build web sites…code SQL…repair and program computers…etc.” But I don’t think it would have impressed them. They were “real men” doing “real manly” things (you know, power tools, heavy lifting, physical creation, etc.) It was a bit like watching God create the world!

At last...and AFTER pictureWell, about 7pm, we finally had this! Very little of it is brand new (a few pieces of wood under the tiles) but it feels brand new to me! The ironic part of this is that we can’t even see it because we don’t have access to this courtyard. Oh well, hopefully the neighbors will enjoy it!

Thank you Jesus that even though You didn’t have a place to lay Your head, you care about giving us one!

(and now, to replace our broken washing machine…no really!) ;c(

Home Improvement… DIY… Bricolage…

In France they call it “bricolage”. In the UK, it’s DIY (Do It Yourself) and in the States, it’s often “Home Improvement” (though I struggled a bit in finding the exact word we use in “American”). In my language, I call it a “trial!”

The advent of my first blog entry coincides nicely with the end of a frustrating day working on the house. I’m struck by the comparison of fiddling with computers and fiddling with houses. Both can be beset with huge, time-wasting problems that work hard to rob you of your joy. But for some reason, I find myself in the minority of those who would rather have my time wasted and consumed by my computer than my house.

There are probably many a danger signal in that for me, of course…fodder for another day’s meditation…

On my computer, I’ve just created this blog, and it took a fair bit of effort to get it to look and work the way I wanted it. There are still things I’d like to do and problems I’ll encounter, but the blog is largely “done”. Now, I simply need to “move in” and enjoy it.

On my house, we’re trying to take our 1900’s era Alsatian house that was lived in by a widow for the last umpteen years and transform it into something that a family of 5 can actually live in and enjoy. We’re doing it on no budget at all and, at least in my case, little skill and even less experience. At least my wife has an eye for these things!

It’s good for me to get the experience but it’s not pleasant. I’ve enjoyed the new things I’ve learned while getting this blog functioning. I can only hope that I’ll eventually enjoy my new-found home-improvement skills and enjoy a nicer home when all is said and done.

In the meantime, I’ll cozy up to my keyboard and enjoy my new virtual surroundings.