I Love Home Ownership!

The tiny maple sapling stretching over the top of the gutter was the first sign – and not a good one, I assumed.

Ours was worse

Ours was worse

My god, without quick action we could have had this in our gutter!

My god, without quick action we could have had this in our gutter!

I hadn’t tackled any major outdoor chores since moving into the new home;  changing one light bulb doesn’t really count. But climbing up our new ladder, checking out the gutter on the garage, and cleaning it would be my first real sign of home ownership, a rite of passage if you will. Not exactly on the same level as my neighbor’s recent building of a deck, but hey, I’ve been an urban renter for five years, I gotta work up to the big items.

(As if I would ever be building a deck…)

Even before reaching the top step on the ladder I could see: This gutter has not been cleaned lately. Like this millennium. Acorns, twigs, and a brown sludge mingled with the maple seeds. I scooped out at least five pounds of this stuff, maybe ten. Was it just neglect at work here, a continuation of the previous owners’ half-assed ways? Or was there something structural going on? I ran some water through the gutter. Despite my lack of scientific schooling, even I know a gutter should tilt downward, so our friend gravity can do its thing and direct the water toward the spout, which will direct the water away from the garage. But the water just sat there. This gutter, I thought, is fucked.

So add a new garage gutter to the ever-growing list of things to repair, replace, or introduce. Along with getting a new AC, because the one I just bought had a dent in the top that let rain flow inside the house. And don’t forget its not draining well too, which led to a flood of water on our new wood floors as we pulled the thing out of the window and prepared to ship it back to Amazon.

The AC fiasco left me frustrated (and wet.  I’m frustrated, and I’m wet!). I needed a household chore I could easily tackle. In the kitchen, I looked at the range. I had spent hours when we first moved in cleaning it inside and out, but something still bothered me. Remnants of the countless spillovers of the past were still peeking out of a horizontal strip at the bottom of the over door, taunting me with their insolence. The sauce or stew or whatever was another reminder that other people had once lived here, messier people, people I probably would not like, even though they were Red Sox fans. I had to banish that reminder. Besides, cleaning is something I do well. It gives me a sense of control in a world I feel increasingly less able to influence in any meaningful way. Because of my efforts, there is order amidst the grimy chaos.

And clean it and clean it and clean it some more...

And clean it and clean it and clean it some more...

(If only briefly, because let’s face it, as soon as you put away the mop and vacuum and rags, the grime always returns. In the case of the bathroom, with the very next visit to the potty, as the pubes begin to rain down on the floor. Oh, yes, I’ve noticed this here in the new home’s white-floored bathroom. And I don’t like it. I now see how OCD repetitions are born, as folks with a certain tendency…me…keep trying to impose their will on a changeable and unforgiving universe. Get that pube, and that one, and that fleck – what the hell is that? – well, get it anway…)

So, the oven door. I found the screws holding that soiled strip in place. Take them out, clean the strip, return, and a job well – shit! Where did those side strips come from? And how does this all go back together? Half-an-hour or so later, I almost forgot about the purpose of this chore. My only goal was to get the door back together, as I fit its various puzzle pieces into different configurations, searching for the one that would work. Samantha’s help and patience saved the day, as did a flash of insight: Use tape to hold one particularly uncooperative piece in place. The swearing and sweating finally over, I was glad that the thing was whole again, and I vowed not to clean the strip at the top of the stove that had been bugging me for days.

Wasn’t that fun? I can’t wait for next weekend’s chores.


~ by mburgan on July 27, 2009.

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