Back in October 2005, we had ourselves a little hurricane called Wilma. It beat up my neighborhood quite a bit, although of course what we suffered was nothing like the damage to people in New Orleans and Texas under Katrina.
It turned out that we lost a large number of roof tiles in Wilma, a galling loss as the roof itself was only a few months old. It also turned out that we were not alone — the whole county seemed to have damaged roofs. And then it turned out that there was a shortage of roofers. And of roof tiles. And in due course I discovered that we had the rarest roof tiles in South Florida — indeed, it seemed in all of America. They’re barrel tiles called Altusa Fume, and they come from Venezuela, and it seems for a while there was some problem getting Venezuelan goods into the USA. So no roof tiles. Or no roof tiles unless you wanted to pay for a bale of them even though you only needed under a hundred.
Every so often I’d call the roofing company and get various sorts of promises, all of which involved calling me back at some point and all of which were religiously broken. At first I understood – they were fixing roofs with leaks, not just those with damaged tiles (which in addition to being ugly increase the chances of further damage and leaks in the next storm). We went through an entire hurricane season with the broken tiles — but fortunately no hurricanes. Meanwhile the contractors were all off doing new roofs which, I gather, pay better than repairs.
But now I’m here to tell you that the age of miracles is still upon us (or is it perhaps an age of new construction downturn?) : a roofing contract appeared in the mail last week. I sent it back, and yesterday we had a real live roofer putting real new tiles on my roof.
And now it’s all fixed.