O’Neill: Putting on a new roof (column)


One thought on “O’Neill: Putting on a new roof (column)

  1. Dear Mr. O’Neill

    Your writing makes me homesick for Ukiah. My husband and I have built onto or remodeled 5 homes in our 52 years together, and love the process, accompanied by bong hits. That made me laugh. When we moved to Ukiah we bought a home and remodeled it.
    In 1989.

    I grew up between a 640 acre farm in North Dakota and Newport Beach, Ca. Quite a confusing set of peoples to be “normal” around. In Newport I was so mid western, in ND, I was a Calif beach girl! Too funny. I was neither. When we moved to Ukiah I felt like I had found a place I could love but my husband, ever the beach boy, could not find his heart there. I don’t know how many times we took that logging road to the coast. I absolutely loved that drive even though the logging trucks were scary. He taught for a year at the high school there, industrial arts. He found it strange to go into a classroom with a frozen dunk tank, 55 gal drum inside the classroom frozen over. I don’t think he could get used to wearing shoes and long pants. At that time the Mormons ran the school district. Don’t know who’s the biggest influence now, but we were not Mormon. Didn’t help. He was the only teacher in his department who wasn’t Mormon.

    Hard for him to settle in with all of the push back he received just for being from Southern Ca. We were from a little beach city (at that time) San Clemente. Everyone introduced us or referred to us as “those people from LA”. We NEVER went to LA, we hated it there.

    We bought a home, with propane and a semi functional septic field. I volunteered at Happy Day Preschool where our daughter went to learn. I learned how difficult it was when small town gossip spread stuff around too. Never really experienced that before. I adored our country house. It was in Regina Heights. I almost sent my husband back to So Cal without me. We had rented out our San Clemente house. He missed surfing with our neighbors. I was in heaven seeing vineyards, that small farm down by the Russian River we drove by to cross the river into town. So much I miss. Even 32 years later. I remember walking down the road from our house to the vineyard holding my 5 year old daughter’s hand and knowing we were going to leave, feeling sad, cause I knew what we were going back to.

    So I appreciate your words. Can relate to the fun building stuff. We expanded the bedroom in the house, we ended up retiring to in a quiet cul de sac on a small Canyon close to the beach. In 2001 we bought this house, I think there is a widening crack in the foundation we added between the expanded bedroom and the original. You can feel it under the carpet. For the most part we follow traditional construction rules and there is rebar in that concrete but heavy clay soil and those recent rains can do a lot to places. I think it will remain unmentioned forever. We had to build a garage, house came as is. Ended up stripping off all of the drywall and rearranging a few studs. There were bums living here, and rats. It took 6 months to get them to leave so that we could close escrow. (the rats were another issue).

    This is the most land and most country we could get here. I can walk the Canyon, it leads to the beach but it’s a hike over salt flats and scrub brush. Only other place you can get a lot like this here is under the airport. We both grew up before the airport got commercial and living under it which we did for many years both in the homes we grew up in and two other homes under it we owned just convinced us that living under the airport path is really a loser. Can’t understand how so much of Newport Beach continues to thrive under that flight path. Home prices are not affected here apparently. Watch out for upgrades in the Ukiah airport that may continue to grow it cause once they get a commercial carriers in there you will experience more and more air pollution and noise. You of course know that, we lived it.

    I also have been growing cannabis for about 10 years and every year I learn something new. This is my best year yet, and we started late, beginning of June this year. Just now starting to harvest, finally waited long enough to get the most out of these plants. So it’s a good year.

    Also know what you mean about revisiting building projects that you thought you’d never have to deal with again, we haven’t been in a single home for this long ever. Going on 22 years now! So we get to enjoy our follies. We have spent 6 years on sailboats too. Raised our two kids through all of this. Our daughter bought the home behind ours, together we have 20,000 sq. ft. of land which is outrageous down here. She and her husband have one child. One reason we are here is that the harbor is ten minutes away too. We own a mooring to hold a 45 ft. boat and pay for it every month, even though we haven’t had a boat on it for 2 years. Can’t give it up, can’t find a boat that we can afford that we can manage to get onto at this age. It’s really hard on him as he is a boat nut and we have had 19 boats so far to also remodel and put engines in and such. My husband and my son in law just spend two years remodeling and expanding their little house. At 72, it really took it out of my husband to do that. Son in law had no experience so he has learned a lot. But I still wish I could look out my window and be in Mendo.

    Loved San Clemente but then they built an entire city on the other side of the 5 freeway so it’s no longer a nice little town. The beach has eroded. It has changed too much as has all of So Cal. I imagine Ukiah has too. Last I heard they actually have natural gas lines now to where our old house was. We used to spend $400 on propane a month. I digress, what I meant to say is we too feel that this is the last time we will do this and that. Forever. Isn’t it weird to know that? What comes next? We are grateful for how our lives ended up.

    I appreciate your writing, love reading it, feel connected still to Mendocino Co. Thank you!
    Wish you the best on your projects. The metal roof and concrete siding are great ideas. Bet it looks good. Remember what my doc says is that our bodies are full of old rubberbands, you can stretch them just so far. So take it easy. Enjoy your life!

    Meridee Thompson

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