Front porch perspective

From my front porch point of view, it’s a gorgeous Saturday morning.

The chirping birds outside my window woke me before dawn. My first instinct was to moan about the plastic where glass should be. Quickly, though, I counted my blessings and listened for a few minutes. I decided the chirps belonged to a robin looking for food. I wondered what these old timer robins were thinking. We see the same birds returning year after year. One male robin has a very distinctive white spot above his right eye. I haven’t seen him this year yet…

Anyway, I wondered what they thought of the debris and decided it may be a blessing for them. Twigs aplenty for building nests. Damp ground must make digging for worms easier, especially since lawns are unbelievably pock-marked from the huge hail indentations. It looks like squirrels have been digging in every single square inch of the yards in our neighborhood.

Moose and Principi were also interested in the birds outside, but we couldn’t see outside the bedroom window so we got up around 5:30 and started our morning routine.

Around 7:45 I stepped out on the front porch with a fresh cup of coffee, thinking I might sit a spell. Standing there, I thanked God that I could hear John and/or Vicki two doors down working in the yard. I thanked God that these historic homes are still standing proudly — beaten and scarred, but still very stately-looking. Giant oak trees, too. It’s like they’re saying (in a very proper English accent), “We have withstood time. Neither man nor Mother Nature has bested us yet. We shall remain when you are returning to dust at Oak Cemetery.”

Place. That sense of belonging and building shared memories and experiences. It’s quite powerful. Remembering the night our neighborhood banded together to rescue each other’s homes from the elements between storm blasts will occupy the view from my front porch from now on. Perhaps even for future generations. They may not understand the specifics, but they’ll feel something. Just like these houses and trees quietly speaking to me this morning.

My wandering mind returned to a chilly Saturday morning. Deciding it’s still a bit nippy for front porch sittin’, I came back inside, checked the temperature (43), and decided to post these observations about tracyplaces of the river rock and mortar variety.

Today we’ll price storm windows and a new storm door, as well as inventory and measure for glass pane replacements.

Hopefully, we’ll have a chance to visit with a roofer and get preliminary estimates. I did some homework on city code requirements and my friend Jimmie explained that only 2 layers of shingles are allowed. I have been told I have two layers already, with shake shingles somewhere in the mix. However, the roof does have decking. A good thing. Jimmie says all new roofs must have decking. Apparently, in the old days, some homes featuring shake-shingled roofs didn’t have decking? I don’t know enough to really understand. That’s why I asked lots of questions yesterday about what to ask a roofer and what to communicate to an adjuster about Fort Smith building requirements.

Seems to me properly-constructed buildings may have prevented injury Wednesday night. To me, building codes and the inspection process is quite literally a life-saving process. It also protects citizens like me who know nothing about construction from shoddy workmanship. It’s all about perspective.

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