I should start by saying that we have sold our house and are leaving the Netherlands.
3 out of 4 members of our family are happy with this choice.

The boy summed it up.
‘It’s for the greater good’.
He’s not wrong.

The main reasons are family, future, work, kids, life, mountains …. there’s probably more, but that’ll do to start. The final moment for me was when all my friends left and repatriated. A post-Covid migration. I was suddenly lonely and isolated.

Actually no, that wasn’t it.
I need to be honest.

The final moment was when our roof needed repairs and I tried to get a roofer to fix it. The ordeal was a proverbial match to the powder barrel. The experience broke me.
I am left with flat roof trauma and a strong disregard for roofers.
(Apart from the one who finally fixed it. We like him.)
But the rest? If I see them on a ladder, I’ll give it a little nudge.

You can stop reading here if you like. That is kind of the gist of the story.
We are going. We have strong feelings about roofers.
If you want the silly spectacle of two humans adulting, read on.

Our ceiling at the top of our home sprouted a damp patch. It grew every time it rained. I rang a roofing company called, ‘Dak Dekker’ and a guy called Bass came and did and an emergency fix job, but he said it looked like that would hold. He couldn’t see any serious damage…it just looked like a seal where 2 bits of flat roof stuff had been joined and needed to be rejoined.
Grand so.
That’s great.
All fixed & paid for.

It continued to rain.

The damp patch grew… and got a sibling – a bigger patch. So now we had 2 damp patches.

I rang Bass. I left him a message. In my best bad Dutch.
“Roof bad. Me no happy. You come.”

He didn’t call me back.
I texted him. He didn’t reply.

The rain continued. The 2 patches grew. (The pitches.)
Bass finally replied and said he could come in a few days.
It rained non stop for the next 4 days.
The husband grew slightly frantic. He could be spotted at all hours of the day and night obsessing about the patches.

Bass did not come.

I filled in an online questionnaire to ‘find a roofer’ in my area.  A nice guy rang back – he said he was also Dak Dekker, and said he’d come and fix it. He appeared to also be called Bass. I texted other Bass to tell him we had found someone else and not to come. My phone kept ringing with roofers all offering their services. They all seemed to be called Dak Dekker, I got confused about who was going to fix my roof. It turns our Dak Dekker means roofer. Not the name of the company. Hindsight is 20/20.

The roofers came. They may or may not have had the company name ‘Dak Dekker’. Up they went and came down reporting the issue. They said they could fix it. We fixed a price. I gave them a coffee and breathed a sigh of relief. (You could even say I was rel-eaved.) They worked all day. At one point they were on my neighbours roof shouting down to her that her roof was also f***ed. She was less than thrilled with that one. She happened to be standing in the garden with an estate agent trying to sell her house at the time.

The rain continued. But that was OK. OUR ROOF WAS FIXED.

I left for a weekend away. When I came back the husband was not in good shape. The roof patches were worse. The room smelt like wet plaster and the fucking rain continued to fall. He was a little bit broken from fretting about the patch. Also he had a crick in his neck from holding his head at a weird angle and staring at the ceiling for too long.
He rang our roofers and demanded they return.
They said that their work was fine… The problem was OUR NEIGHBOUR’s roof leaking into our room.

My neighbour was pissed off about the fact that her roof reportedly needed fixing and got a second opinion. Her roof was fine, but while her roofer was up there he took a video of our flat roof. There is a limit of swearing per post. In short. Our roofers had messed  it up and had done more damage than good.

Neighbour’s roofer left promising to come when it wasn’t raining and fix us up properly this time.
A week later, and there was no sign of him. We chased and rang and emailed.
The rain continued.
The 2 patches grew.

In a panic the husband got another roofer to come. The guy turned up without a ladder and they had a long chat about how to get one. You can’t make this shit up.

He said if we could find a ladder, he’d fix our roof.
He left.

The patches grew.
The husband was spotted sprinting down the road after a van with a really big ladder.
It was getting weird.

Neighbour’s roofer returned. Mainly to make my husband stop calling his office as they couldn’t take it anymore. He redid our roof. We got a guarantee of work. He gave us videos to show us what a nice job he’d done. At this stage my Dutch had taken a noticeable improvement around all things roof related.
We paid.
He left.
The roof is finally fixed.
The husband stopped chasing vans.
His neck got better.

BUT…the ordeal left me with a spiral in my brain.
I couldn’t shake it.
I’m done.
It was looped and on a loudspeaker.
I’m done.
The coffin was nailed.
I’m done.
My 13th reason had happened.
I’m done.

It was time to go.

I was born in Ireland, grew up in England and met my Cornish husband in Catalonia. We lived in the Netherlands with our two differently wired kids before all moving to Yorkshire. I spend my days parenting, writing and being amazed at all that Sheffield has to offer.

One Comment on “The straw that broke the camel’s back

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