The monsoon rains came just like always on July 4 and lasted until September 21, just like always. But this year was special; things greened up more than usual, Boletus was busting out all over and the clouds were as magnificent as I have ever seen them.
But also, just like always when the monsoons show and just like always when the snow turns to ice on the canales and just like always when a bank of moisture rolls in from the northwest, there was a problem. You see, we have a well-kept secret about Santa Fe securely hidden away during the time when well-heeled tourists come to admire our world-famous-flat-roof-mud-brown-faux-adobe architecture and that secret is: flat roofs leak.
And so the rains came and we called a roofer who came out after a lengthy wait due to a very heavy workload. He crawled around up there for about 15 minutes, came down, holed up for thirty minutes in his pickup, licked his pencil twice, feigned a serious frown and announced that it would be $21,000 for a redo which would be “worth it since it carries a guarantee of 10 whole years” and “financing could be made available.”
I then did what any of you would have done if laughing, crying and cussing are in your repertoire. And then I went to the hardware store to check out prices on the very best stuff available, calculated how much I would need and hired a couple of really good Spanish-speaking friends off a downtown street corner for a day to help me get the worst of the gravel off the roof. And then I became a roofer for the next four or five weeks. I put the gravel (which is remarkably similar to the base course on my driveway) on said driveway, which needed it anyway, and it saved me at least the thousand bucks it cost to do the whole roof myself!
So now you know my excuse for not being around for a while and I know you will accept this excuse if you know how long it takes in a daily-half-hour-very-hot shower to get an old man’s muscles flexible once again (the correct answer is ‘one hour’).
Of course this has nothing to do with Forrest Fenn and his acknowledged ability to make a correct decision in almost any given situation—except that he also lives in a house with a flat roof. Santa Fe does that to you.