Sunday, August 10, 2003

Have You Cleaned Your Gutters Today?

When I first convinced myself to start blogging, I figured I would call it “Have You Cleaned Your Gutters Today?” This was in mid-June (about a five weeks before I actually signed up with Blogger) and was sparked by our returning home from a visit to the 'rents in Louisiana to a puddle in our bedroom.

Anyone who lives in the Mid Atlantic knows what the weather has been like this spring and summer -- rain, more rain, some dreary days, followed by more rain. By July it did calm down some, but we've had way more days of rain than not.

Anyway, I had been putting off cleaning out the gutters for a few weeks. It seemed like, after the previous years of drought and near drought, the oaks were determined to get as much reproduction in as possible and the oak silks (the little "feathers" that hold the pollen and then fall off; I'm not sure that the technical term for them is, we've always just called them oak silks) just kept falling. I only wanted to clean things out once, so I was waiting.

The night we flew back (a roundabout route from New Orleans to Chicago to Baltimore) there was a massive downpour, so while we were disturbed to find water on the floor, we were glad it was only in one room and we started planning to replace the windows. (The house has old windows that were put in the 1980s or so, and they're crap. We know they need to be replaced, but the inertia is great ...) The next day, however, the sorry truth came out.

The rain started in the afternoon, so I headed up to the bedroom just to see if I could tell where the leak was coming from. Well, it seems the gutters were so clogged that the water was just sheeting down the side of the house, into the window jamb and then extruding out to the inside sill. It was also happening in all three rooms upstairs (although our bedroom was the worst). We went through every towel in the house and several T-shirts trying to sop up the water as it came in.

As soon as the lightning tapered off (but before the rain ended), I was on the roof, digging tons of crap out of the gutters. I also added little light bulb-shaped wire nets to the top of each downspout to help keep them clear.

This morning, I was back up on the roof. I had noticed a week ago that there were some oak leaves hanging over the edge over the gutters, so I figured it would be a good idea to get up there to check the gutters and to clean out any clogs (with all the rains, a lot of stray leaves, sticks, large branches, squirrel dreys, etc. have been falling). It was good to see that there wasn't much in the way of clogs up there. The wire things seem to be doing their job, although a fair amount of clutter was accumulating around them.

Nothing new to report on the baby front. We go in Monday for the second beta: That'll be the really scary thing to hear. It'll have been three days, so we're hoping for a number at least in the 70s, although the higher the more reassuring ... fingers crossed.

And on the other baby front, I'm going to watch Mei this afternoon. The pregnancy watch is on 24-hours a day now, so maybe we'll have a cub in a few weeks or maybe not.

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