Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Thou Shalt Not Procrastinate the Cleaning of your Raingutters

It rained on Saturday.  A lot. I came home from running errands and noticed the rain was running over the edge of the gutters on the front of the house. I came in, and told Lee we should clean those out soon. He agreed, then we both agreed on how bad we hated cleaning out the rain gutters. The day continued, the rain continued off and on, the rain gutter issue was forgotten.

Until Sunday night.

Or Monday morning, if you want to be picky. 12:40 Monday morning, to be exact. Yes, we were asleep at the time. Our 14 year old came bursting into our room to tell us that her room was flooding. We grabbed our robes and dashed downstairs to find a rather pretty waterfall cascading from the base of her window. Behind the glass was abut 8 inches of not so pretty water quickly building up in the window well. We got dressed in record time and Lee took to the gutters to try and clean out the clog that was sending the water over the side of the gutter and into the window well. By default of not wanting to stand on a ladder in the middle of the night in the rain, I was given the job of bailing the window well out.

I honestly can't quite find another life experience equal to jumping into a foot of water in the middle of the night with buckets of water raining down on you from above. It was a full three minutes before I could breath without gasping with shock each time I exhaled--by that time things started to numb. But they never numbed entirely. While I was hoisting buckets of water out of the window well, Lee was gasping from above me where he had to take the downspout off of the gutter, which meant all the water, leaves, and dead bugs came directly into his face, but it diverted the water from the window well. He tried to knock out the clog while the water assaulted him, and then had to put the downspout and gutter back together. Meanwhile, inside, my sister Cindy was shop-vacing the water while Madison used towels to try and soak up even more.

It was about 15 minutes before the window well was empty--then Lee and I sloshed around the house in our now 20 pound Levi's, finding two more downspouts clogged. The window wells closest to them weren't filled to the glass yet, but we're on their way. within about 25 minutes, we were done with the ominous task and came inside, soaking wet and shaking from the cold. The hot shower helped. The hot cocoa helped even more, but I didn't sleep well because I couldn't seem to get warm.

It was an adventure, to say the least, but as I've reflected back on it I found several "tender mercies" that may have made all the difference between an adventure and a disaster:

  • Lee's been working nights for months, but he wasn't working Monday night.
  • Of all our children, Madison is our lightest sleeper. Had it been one of the other kids, they likely wouldn't have heard the water for quite some time, if at all.
  • We had been painting Madi's room earlier in the week and she'd only been sleeping in there for the last few nights. Had she not been sleeping in her room, it would have gone on all night or until it broke the window, and we'd have likely had two other rooms flood because we didn't remedy those other clogs.
  • When Madi moved back into her room, she put her bed on the far side of the room instead of under the window where it used to be. Had it been under the window, it would have soaked up the water which would have been difficult, if not impossible, to get out of the mattress.
  • My sister, Cindy, has been staying with us and was able to help clean up.
  • While it was raining and cold, it wasn't as cold as it could have been in late October.
  • Cindy had been using the shop-vac at her new apartment, but brought it back that evening after having had it there for several days.
  • Cindy knew how to use the shop vac.

Beyond all that, the fact remains, that had we cleaned out the gutters as we were supposed to (we haven't cleaned them out for two years) or even when I'd thought about doing it, this wouldn't have happened in the first place. We can all say, now, however that we have officially learned that cleaning out rain gutters on a Saturday afternoon is a far better experience than cleaning them out in a rainstorm at night in late October.

Funny how life teaches you things like that.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Whitney Award Rules Change

**Please feel free to post this on your blog AND be sure to nominate your favorite books by LDS Authors published in 2010!

A major change has come to the Whitney Awards! By unanimous vote, the Whitney Committee has elected to allow nominees to win in any category for which they are nominated. The previous rule, which allowed books to win in only one category, gave the second place finisher in genre categories the top prize if the first place novel won an overall award.   
For example, if Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford had the strength to win top honors in multiple categories, such as Best Novel, Best Novel by a New Author, and Best Genre Novel, it would be allowed to take the prize for all three rather than allowing the award in lesser categories go to the second or even third place winner in that category. This new award system provides greater recognition for truly outstanding books that merit such.
“Originally, we wanted to give as many great LDS authors a chance to win as possible,” said Whitney committee member Crystal Liechty. “But we feel like we’ve had enough exposure at this point so that there’s no need to prevent a book from sweeping every category it’s in if that’s what the voters want.”
The Whitneys are an awards program for novels by LDS authors. Elder Orson F. Whitney, an early apostle in the LDS church, prophesied “We will yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own.” Since we have that as our goal, we feel that we should also honor those authors who excel and continually raise the bar.       
"Allowing novels to win multiple categories follows the precedence of other nationally recognized award programs, such as The Academy Awards,” said Josi Kilpack, Whitney Awards President. “We’re excited about this change and the continuing excellence in writing that The Whitney Awards both supports and cultivates.”
The Whitney Awards honor novels in the following categories: General Fiction, Romance, Suspense/Mystery, Speculative Fiction, Youth Fiction, Historical, Best Novel of the Year, and Best Novel by a New Author. Novels can be nominated by any reader (via this website or by mail), and nominees are voted on by an academy of industry professionals, including authors, publishers, bookstore owners, distributors, critics, and others. For more information on the Whitney Awards or to nominate a book, visit www.WhitneyAwards.com.