I’ve been cleaning my gutters since living in this house until a couple years ago, that is, after the renovation. Before the renovation I could reach all the gutters with my extension ladder. Now, with the second floor addition there is a set of gutters that runs the back length of the house that are about 20 feet off the ground. I can still get to the lower gutters, but the only way to get to the higher gutters is with an extension ladder longer than I have, or, climb up on the roof.
When I was a kid I would sometimes climb out my bedroom window onto the lower roof over our family room. From there I could stand up and lift myself onto the main roof. I didn’t do it a lot, but did it some. It was easy and a little thrilling. In college we’d climb up on the roof of our frat house. It was easy to get to and the roof had a low slope. It was probably more dangerous than we thought, but we didn’t care. There was a great view from there. In grad school I helped a friend, who was renovating a house, put on a new roof. That was hard work, but kind of fun in that I realized this wasn’t going to be my career. Roofers: Hats off to you. That is hard work!
The point of that last paragraph is to say: I have roof experience. But I don't have recent roof experience. And I’ve never actually been on my current roof. Since the renovation I’ve gladly paid someone else to get way up on the top of our newer and higher roof to clear the gutters of our prodigious leaf fall. Typically they get up on the lower, porch, roof with one ladder, and then get up onto the main roof with a second ladder straddled over the lower peak of the porch roof. From there, with a rake or leaf blower, the job is easy. One year my next door neighbor Jon climbed up on the roof and did the job for me.
So how hard could it be? I have my extension ladder, and I have a six-foot folding stepladder for the second flight. I got everything ready: Extension ladder, second ladder and leaf blower (borrowed from same neighbor Jon), and climb up onto the first roof. I step off the ladder and onto the asphalt shingles and instantly realize this was a mistake. I have the wrong shoes on. I thought old running shoes would be soft and pliable and grippy to the shingles, but they were slippery and slidey. Adrenaline pumping, I skittered up, hands and knees, to the lower peak of the porch roof and stopped. Holding on to the peak with my gloved hands, I realized I would not clean all the gutters.
I had created in my imagination this story: Lori gets home. I'm waiting casually for her on the front porch with proud puffed out chest and with a sweep of my right arm up, pointing vaguely to the roof and the heavens proclaim, “Look, my winsome love, I have cleaned ALL of your gutters – yes, even the dangerous second level gutters!” She would have cursed at me for getting up on the roof, something she had expressly forbidden, but it would all be a play of course. For I know she would secretly be impressed by my masculine daring, would drop her grocery bags to her side, grab me by the arm, and take me inside to make mad and passionate love.
That was the plan and why I was going to clean the gutters. Now I was confronted with a whole new set of fantasies that involved ambulances, and broken bones, I-told-you-sos, and being out $75 to pay the guy who comes around and cleans gutters.
|Where I got lucky!|
|Leaves ready for pickup!|
I sat there for a few more moments, then hopped down, finished cleaning the lower gutters and raked up all the rest of the leaves in the yard. They now wait for the city to come around and suck them up with their leaf-sucking truck!
And that is the story of how I got lucky when Lori wasn’t home. Please don’t tell her.