Sunday, September 13, 2009

Get your mind out of the gutter...

This weekend was our chance to get caught up on all the preparations for a long wet winter. The ol' cottage gets a wet basement when it rains hard and I believe this is due to poor roof run-off management. (As we all know from our days in pre-school... there is nothing more embarrassing than a wet basement!)

So, I decided it was time to clean the gutters and make sure that all the down-spout routing would get us through the winter without any sump pumping. This should be easy right?? HA!

7:30am: Head to Java Bean and use one of their lattes to wash down a delicious jalapeno bagel with mounds of cream cheese.

8:30am: Pull out the ladder and climb onto the roof to take stock of the situation.

First observations:
- the pitch of our roof is very steep
- the gutters are hopelessly clogged.. my suspicions have been confirmed.
- the shingles are overhanging the gutters too much (75%) making it impossible to get a tool in them to clean out the gutter butter

9am: Realizing that it is suicidal to walk around on the steep roof (I tried three different types of shoes with little luck) I decided that the job will have to be done via the ladder... moving it along the perimeter of the house (blah, this is going to take a long time).

Well.. looks like this won't work either. When I put the ladder up against the side of house, top resting on the the gutter, and climb up the force of my manly girth bends the aluminum gutter closed making it even more difficult to clean. As my friend Jared once said... I refuse to apologize for my manly build.

10am: It's starting to get hot out... I am sweating like a fat kid in a cake eating contest. I decide that because the ladder won't work I will have to make due and risk walking around on the roof. But, to be safe I will tie a rope to the chimney and use it as a safety line.

So, I grab an old piece of anchor line from the MV MissBehaven and start the climb. The roof is steep enough that I am on my hands and feet trying to climb. I finally make it to the crest of the roof and tie the line to the chimney. Then, I realize that this is the dumbest idea I have ever had... untie the rope and sssssssllllliiiiiidddde down the roof slope back to the ladder (I was praying the entire way..). Our roof is way way up there and a fall would guarantee broken bones if not death.

If you have not tried to walk on a roof that is too steep to walk on... it inspires a special kind of fear.

11am: My shaking has subsided from the scare of trying to get off the roof. I am stumped.. can't get the job done from the ladder and can't get it done from the roof. No wonder the gutters haven't been cleaned since the first Great Depression (seems fitting that I clean them during the second one).

So, I start doing the one thing that always fixes any problem... call all of the smartest people I know and see if anyone has any ideas. Fortunately, my dad has this same problem at his house and came up with a solution... a ladder accessory from Home Depot.

12pm: Drive to Nana's and use a large steaming bowl of delicious baked potato soup to wash down a turkey melt on panini. Then, off to Home Depot.. buy the ladder accessory and head home.

1:30pm: 6 hours into the job, and I dropped my first scoop of gutter muck to the ground. Notice how the ladder accessory allows me aviod crunching the gutters:

I am scared of heights, but Tina told me there was chocolate cake on the roof.. and up I went

Now, don't forget... the shingles are covering too much of the gutters for me to get any tools into them... so, I used a pair of tin snips to slowly trim the shingles back enough to expose the gutters and then scooped out the muck.

7pm: I have been slogging away and have about 5' of gutter left before I can crack a few poor unsuspecting Rainier Beer cans. AND, just when I thought I had this day "in the bag" I stumble upon a wasp nest in the last section of gutter. I have never climbed down a ladder quicker.

7:30pm: Spray wasp poison foam on the nest and wait until tomorrow to finish. Take a shower and two Rainiers. Then, head to Zak's and use a few more Rainiers to wash down a delicious cheese burger and fries. Then, Tina and I head to Bob's B-Day party at Ballard Loft.

Bob: "I won't do any shots unless you do them with me"


6:30am: Where am I?... where is the bathroom?

8am: Head to Salmon Bay Cafe for an old fashioned breakfast (made the old fashioned way). Mmmm chicken fried steak.

9am: Back to work! I finish up the gutters now that the wasps are dead. Then, I route drainage pipe from all the down spouts to move the runoff water away from the house. For this winter they will have to stay above ground, but once we start our yard refurbish next year they will all be buried.

12pm: Head to Taqueria Tequila and use two Coronas to wash down a plate of asada (steak) tacos.

Tina decides that she wants to make an indoor garden that we can use for fresh herbs. So, we head to Swansons and put something together. Swansons is, by far, the coolest nursery I have ever been too. Very very cool place. I recommend you check it out if you are in the Seattle area.

There is the final result:

7pm: We meet up with friends @ Big Time Brewery and I use a few pints of Atlas Amber to wash down down some special meat pizza.

9pm: As I sleep in my bed, I dream of rain...................


  1. sounds like a good weekend! you know you have done something with your day when you can actually see results.

  2. The most exciting thing about this post is that I learned that Nana's is still in business. I was so sad when we tried to go to the old location and they weren't there. That place is delicious!!

  3. Oh... believe me when I say, that a hose attachment wouldn't have even scratched the surface of the 10year old muck in the gutters. It was a mix of roof asphalt and tree compost. Bad news indeed.