(Written yesterday. Today…the sun is smiling…its glorious teeth shining brightly. Hooray!)
What I wasn’t prepared for is having to bail myself out of rain water every hour on the hour. Somebody didn’t want new gutters installed…back when hubby suggested it. I can remember the conversation as if it were yesterday.
Hubby: “I’m going to change out the old gutters for the ones that prevent pine needles from collecting.”
Me: “How much will it cost?”
Me: “Are you crazy!!! Let me think about it and do a little more research.”
Twelve years later I’ve no one else to blame but myself for the puddle I’m in.
A portion of the gutter pulled away from the eave of the roof due to the constant pressure of pine needles that formed a dam every fall. Being low maintenance folks…meaning maintenance was low on the list of things we liked to do…sometimes the needles were cleaned out, sometimes they weren’t…until the rains came and forced us into action.
Smart hubby. He left on a business trip just as the rain began falling. And I’m positive he’ll be home AFTER the rain’s gone. That’s just how these things work out.
It’s like the time he left on a business trip while we were living in Redding, Connecticut. It was the dead of winter. Snow piled high on the ground. The heavens opened up and dumped buckets of rain without letup. The field stone basement of our 100 year-old Victorian farmhouse flooded. The old sump pump installed by the previous owners was too small to drain all the water. Guess who was bailing water out in the middle of the night, while cursing out her young husband? You got it! Moi!
With my husband’s tall rubber boots just skirting the hem of my nightgown, I sloshed around in the water, bucket in hand. I had thrown back the wooden basement doors leading to the outside, and proceeded to fill bucket after bucket of accumulated water tossing it out the open doors. Of course it was a totally nonsensical solution to the problem since the water dribbled back down the steps as quickly as I was getting rid of it. Or trying to, anyway. To make matters worse, the water probably melted the snow just outside, adding more water to the knee deep reservoir in which I was wading. Thankfully, my toddler lay fast asleep in her cozy bed a couple of floors above . She never awoke to the mayhem beneath.
Since we’d not resided there very long, I had no one to call except our realtor. If I recall she sent her husband over. That was the good news. The bad news was that he couldn’t do anything. He suggested I call the fire department to have them come out with their long hose to suck out all the water. Their response was “no” because they didn’t want the hose to get damaged by any grit that would likely get sucked up as well.
More than twenty years later, I have no recollection how I resolved the dilemma. It might be that my husband returned home in time to take charge. I do know that we updated our sump pump so that it would activate quickly and drain the water away from the house. When we purchased the house we were aware there might be flooding, but we had no idea we would need Noah’s Ark.
In my present situation, the water dripping from the broken gutter is saturating the ground in back of the house which, in turn, is soaking through the carpet in our downstairs family room. Luckily I’ve been able to vacuum out the water with our rug shampooer.
In order to capture as much of the overflow as possible, my husband had strategically placed a couple of barrels beneath the broken gutter. One of them is smaller and rolls on wheels. The other is larger and with water filling it to the brim, I would break my back trying to lug it to the edge of the deck where I then upend it to spill the contents along the path leading away from the house. So smart me…I use a pot to bail water from the large barrel into the smaller one. Once it’s filled, I drag it a few steps before carefully turning it on its side. It must sound like a tsunami every time the water splashes out over the garden with a thunderous CRASH!!! Especially at 11 p.m. when the neighborhood is beginning to slumber.
While I’m getting too old for this, I tell myself these ordeals make me a survivor. I can take care of myself when I’ve no man to come to this damsel in distress. A good legacy to leave to my daughter…
A woman CAN empower herself…
DON’T skimp on home maintenance.
…unless she wants to bail herself out of her own puddles…