Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Remembering Sister Agatha

What's wrong with this picture?

To answer that question, I need to transport myself back to Sister Agatha's grade-school classroom. We had just been handed an unusual test, several pages of questions stapled together, probably 100 questions in all, and nothing to do with our class. At the top of the first page, in big letters, it said:
Of course, I did no such thing, because why should I review questions that I would soon answer. I answered the first question, then the next. No problem, these were a snap.

In about 30 seconds or so, someone stood up and turned in the test. Then another person--I can't remember who, but I do remember the look of self-satisfaction on their faces, whispering some secret to each other. I continued on but then a few more people happily walked up to Sister Agatha's desk.

I worked harder now, faster. Then it hit me--no way they could have finished that quickly. Unless...

I scanned through the remaining questions and there it was, question number 97: "If you'd read this, hand in this test right now. You are done!" Damn.

That's how I felt on Sunday when I discovered that not all the roof tiles are the same. The tapered tiles have a narrow end with a hole. At least the first hundred or so (the tiles on top of the pallet) have a hole on that end. Then I found a tile with the hole on the wide end. Must be a mistake. So I continued on, blind to what I should have known, which is that half of the tiles have a hole on the wide end. I should have gone through all the tiles first, but was I a hurry. Again.

Turns out that the tiles I just discovered are "pan" tiles--they go on the bottom. To fix things I had to remove all the tiles and start over. Yes, Sister. Sorry, Sister. Yes, I will remember to follow directions in the future.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Mission Tile, Tapered vs Straight

Just for fun I sometimes carry on an internal dialog in which I explain, to myself, how something does or should work. I then challenge myself, call myself a naïve, simplistic fool and then demand a better explanation, which I calmly provide to myself in a condescending tone, on and on, back and forth until I can understand a thing or at least pretend that I do.

This weekend I set about explaining to myself about mission roof tiles. I love the way they look and how they fit together and how they last forever. We have straight barrel mission tiles on our house. I've studied them in preparation for the pagoda project, made notes and was prepared to go. When I finally found a place to buy some tiles--it is not an easy thing to do because most places will only sell to an actual roofer--I discovered that the tiles would be tapered mission tiles instead of straight.

"Is that OK?," the guy asked. Because he was selling me the tiles at the contractor's price, I just said "OK."

The tiles came this weekend. Sure enough, they are tapered. But why? I built a little mock-up to lay out the tiles and see if I could understand this. I found a website that described how to lay them out--it's a completely different pattern than the straight tile. Luckily, they are (I hope) exactly what I needed for the curved corners because they have more wiggle room.

I've attempted to hash this out in my mind. I go out and look at the tile and it sort of makes sense. Then I forget. My problem is that I've always had a problem with spatial awareness. For example, I'm upstairs now but I can't point to the location of any of the rooms downstairs. They are just down there somewhere.

If it were not for "left" and "right" I would be continually lost.

The roofing paper is up. Next comes the wooden framework for the tile.