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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.


Kristina P. said...

I love when things work out like that.

L.T. Elliot said...

Wow. There are a LOT of tender mercies in there. =D I'm sorry for the impromptu waterfall but only you can turn such a bummer into a beauty. Me thinks I'll be cleaning out my raingutter this week. ;)

*hugs* Have a great day, Josi!

Ann Best said...

We do learn a lot of lessons, don't we. And yes, it's always good to recognize the blessings, as you did in this situation! Very beautifully stated.

Ann Best said...

p.s. I'm browing through bloggerland today looking for LDS authors to meet and support. I'm also making a list of LDS books I want to read; yours is on my list.

Melanie Jacobson said...

I hate that I always have to learn things like this the hard way. But I'm so glad it wasn't worse for you!

Grandma 'D' said...

Hilarious now...not then. OUr rain gutter get bird nests on each corner of the house each spring...and Russell can't seem to take them out. He lets the eggs hatch and takes them out in the fall...if he remembers. We have had an experience like that when we moved into our home out here on the flat.
We had no grass....just MUD. When all was cleaned up in the basement, the kids mud wrestled (it was in July.)We hosed them down with the garden hose, which by the way came straight from the well...stinkin' cold. And then we picked the melons out of the garden and ate them on the front porch. I love those memories. Thanks for reminding me how greatful I am for those little experiences that we reflect on and think to ourselves how blessed we are to have them!!!

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Glad things turned out okay. What a blessing to be able to catch it when you did!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

What a long list of tender mercies! I love that you chose to see it that way. I probably would've spent at least a week glaring and muttering afterwards...

Becki said...

Ugh, Josi - what an experience! And yet you turned it into a learning experience and found the good. What a woman!

Jenna said...

I love the tender mercies you were able to see. Life is so beautiful like that, even during really crappy times. I totally know what this was like because the same exact thing happened to me when I lived in UT right before I remarried. It was in my boys' room and the window well started filling up. There were inches of water in the boys' room, in the middle of the night. . .and I was a single mom. With no shop vac. Who knew nothing about rain gutters. It was horrible. Thank goodness for very kind neighbors with shop vacs!

Christy said...

I'm supposed to clean my rain gutters? :)

Tammy said...

This story really makes me happy that I already cleaned (to the best of 4 teenagers' abilities) the gutters out last month! I'm still nervous about them though because they drain underground and the landlord didn't install spout blockers. Might be a task to get done this weekend.

Tammy said...

This story really makes me happy that I already cleaned (to the best of 4 teenagers' abilities) the gutters out last month! I'm still nervous about them though because they drain underground and the landlord didn't install spout blockers. Might be a task to get done this weekend.