Archive for the ‘photos’ Category


Sunday, April 13th, 2008

I have one simple rule when it comes to yardwork. If there’s no risk of death, it’s not worth doing. Last time out I played with a chainsaw and somehow managed to avoid chopping myself into little pieces. This time I embraced a challenge that could have easily ended in a broken neck. I cleaned out the gutters.

If I said this before, it bares repeating – I should not be allowed to own a house. I have the handyman skills of a potato. I have no clue how to fix or maintain anything. I also struggle mightily with cause and effect. When I first moved in I was only aware the gutters existed at a subconscious level, much the way you are aware of your liver. You know you have one and it probably does something but when it comes down to it, out of sight, out of mind. “Go about you business Mr. Liver and leave me alone. Now where did I put that tequila?”

Not once did I spare a single thought for my gutters. That is until last summer when I was shocked to find water streaming down my basement walls. I couldn’t comprehend it. The building inspector said the basement had never flooded. How could this be happening? It was only then that I learned that gutters are more than roof decorations. So I paid my handyman to clean them out and moved on with life.

This year I no longer have the services of my handyman (let’s call him Mr. Eunuch Noballs) due to reasons far too dumb to go into here. When the first real thunderstorms of the spring hit, choking the gutters with debris, it was up to me to clean them out. As always I began with the simple question “How hard can it be?”

It was a crisp 35 degrees out, so I bundled in layers and went for the yard ninja look.


I dragged out the painters ladder, tried to steady it on the uneven ground and climbed up. I went as high as I felt comfortable, which unfortunately was a good foot shy of the roof. At 5’6″ I am vertically challenged and had to stretch my arms up to feel inside the gutters blindly. This wasn’t very effective.

Steeling myself for an inevitable trip to the emergency room, I went up one more step on the ladder. To my dismay I saw the gutters were jam packed the entire length of the house. It became clear there would only be one way to deal with it. I had to climb on to the roof.

There was at least one inch of roof edge to hold on to as I gingerly climbed to the top of the ladder. I crawled on to the roof belly first and then laid there for a moment to confirm I hadn’t fallen in a crumpled heap. I stood up and noted that on the roof there was a great view of the neighborhood and also nothing to block the strong gusts of wind trying to knock me to my death.

I went right to the task at hand – cleaning out the gutters. As in the gutters which hang off the edge of the roof where all the gravity is kept. I bravely crawled down to the gutters. On my belly. This untucked my 18 layers of shirts resulting in what is technically referred to as “plumber’s crack”. It wouldn’t be yardwork though if I wasn’t somehow indecently exposed to the elements.

The gutters weren’t overly bad until I got to the backside of the house. In the back yard lives The Magnificent Tree:


The Magnificent Tree poops it’s leaves and branches magnificently all over the roof. After an hour of crawling on my belly scooping it’s doody out, I fantasized about chopping it down and having a Magnificent Fire. The Magnificent Tree must have sensed this and it attacked me.


I wrestled it and punched it in the branch. Ultimately we called it a draw. Mark my words Magnificent Tree, this is far from over.

The leaves were still soaked from yesterday’s rain and soon I was a muddy mess. It occurred to me there were probably tools to deal with this chore. That’s what competent homeowners do right? I’ll just grab the gutter cleaner tool thingy and it will be done in a snap! But I would never own such a device and it was too late now. I resigned myself to my homeowner ignorance and continued to plod along.

By the end of the gutter I was cold, hungry and had to pee. Still I was impressed by how much had been accomplished.


I chucked all the piles off the side of the roof. All that was left now was get down. Somehow. I went back to where the ladder was. I dangled one leg off the side but couldn’t reach it. I dangled my left leg and my right ankle off the side. This only succeeded in making me look extra retarded. I determined this plan was the fast track to a broken skull, so I re-evaluated.

There is a small storage shed off the side of the house that is about a foot lower than the rest of the roof. I climbed on to it, inched my legs off the edge and gradually slid all the way down landing safely on the ground. Woo what a rush!

I took the ladder back into the garage and lifted it onto the storage shelf. There I found myself face to face with this:


Son of a bitch!! If only I had known I owned this I could have used it to beat on The Magnificent Tree!