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I’m On A Deadline…So Why Am I On a Roof Laying Shingles?

December 3, 2013

Rodney, I really appreciate the help.

Not at all. It’s the least I could do.

I spent a few hours today in Provo perched on top of a beat up shed, patching the bare spots. Not even sure you could call these bare spots, they were so large. The exposed wood was so weathered that I thought we were going to go crashing through to the shed floor with every step. While I like do-it-yourself projects, I’ve never really roofed a house, or in this case, a shed. The closest I got was a few months ago when a microburst ripped a couple of shingles off my roof and I managed to get them replaced without falling off the roof or putting new holes in it.

But, today, there I was with my hammer and tool belt laying tar paper and covering it with shingles. And I didn’t have time to do it. I’m right at the beginning of a very compressed book schedule. I should be home writing and testing.

The truth is, I couldn’t afford to NOT be on the roof.

My neighbor Jonathan (you may remember he’s the one who fixed my car by Smacking It With A Hammer) was asked to patch the holes in the roof of this shed. And there’s a winter storm arriving tonight. In addition to fixing cars and roofing sheds, Jonathan is also a brilliant network technician. In preparation for writing this book, I needed to set up my home network.

You might think that an IT Consultant/Manager/Writer has a totally wired house. In my case you’d be wrong. Sure, I have high speed internet. But, my XBox isn’t hooked up to the internet. Half of the computers aren’t hooked up to the internet either. And several computers haven’t been turned on in years. Well, they have now, thanks to Jonathan.

My house had a wifi router (But I’m Not Protecting Against A Professional Thief) but that’s about it. The computers can’t talk to each other. The TVs and other electronics aren’t talking to each other. I needed to change all of that to write a book on networks and Windows 2012 Server. So, Jonathan came over and surveyed my setup.

I think we should run CAT5 wire from your garage to your office downstairs. You’ll also need to run a CAT5 wire from where the internet connection comes in, down through the furnace room and to your office. And then if you want to keep your wifi router where it is, we’ll need to run another line back.


Yeah. I’ll help. It shouldn’t take long.

Four days later, we had run over 200 feet of CAT5 cable through my floors, walls and garage. We drilled holes, fished wires, ran REALLY long wire pull rods, removed a ceiling, replaced it, and installed an antenna in my garage that would let our two networks connect to each other. Not only didn’t he charge me for his time (he never does) he even donated most of the equipment.

Oh, I think I’ve got one of those laying around that we can use.

A KVM switch that allows you to use a single monitor, mouse and keyboard to managed multiple computers

Then, we needed a server to install the software on. Windows 2012 Server is a 64 bit operating system. That means that it won’t install on most desktops. Another 3 days of ripping apart hardware, replacing DVD drives, reburning the DVD, finding machines it WOULDN’T install on.

And another loaner server from him and I had a working copy of Windows 2012.

More than a week later, a working copy of Windows 2012 Server

Could I do all that all on my own?


Possibly. But, it went SO much faster with two people.

That brings me back to the roof of the shed in Provo. Could he do it all on his own?

Probably, but it went SO much faster with two people.

So, I’m taking time away from my deadline to pound nails and lay shingles. I’m not roofing the shed because I want more help with my home network. I’m not roofing it as “payback” for all the help he gave me. I’m roofing it because my neighbor had a need and there’s a storm coming in.

I’m doing it because it’s the right thing to do. He’d do the same thing for me.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children. He also owns a hammer.

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**Update** Here’s a picture out my front door this morning. The storm arrived right on schedule. **

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