Hear me roarSo guess who spent yesterday morning in a little frenzy of home care? Yup. One of the smart moms at ballet class suggested that blocked gutters could be at least partly to blame for the water issue, an idea I (internally) pooh-poohed--I just had the gutters done in February, and that wall is away from the trees on the West side of the house.
So, of course, you see where this is going. I spent 45 minutes yesterday perched precariously on a ladder scooping gunk, grit, needles and what looks to be new topsoil out of the gutter on that wall. I carried my cell phone in my pocket and left the 911 instructions by the phone, with strict orders for my daughter to call first. Inspired by my success, I then cut away a bunch of dead foliage from around the house and raked the leaves out of the driveway. I trimmed a bunch of other stuff, wrapped my outside pipes in case we get a freeze (usually I'm out there at 11 p.m. after the newscast urges us to do it on a particularly cold night), cleaned the bunny's cage, refreshed the cat facilities, and graded one of the multiple stacks of papers I am carrying around.
Might satisfying. Not sure if I'm going to attempt to clean the other gutters out myself or call the people who did them last; I'm sure the other side of the house is worse, although nothing has leaked. And I'm still going to call the roofer and/or masonry folks for a consult. My prayer is that I don't have to have the plaster replaced in the living room--an expensive mess.
And I am still dreaming of a bright, light-filled, cozy condo for my daughter and me. I grew up in a family that did not do much yard or house care. The projects my father undertook always became disasters that professionals then had to fix, and generally resulted in a lot of swearing, screaming, and scapegoating. My mother is remarkably handy--she had to be; my father was useless and we had little money--but her approach is slapdash, to put it kindly. Our yard care was minimal, at best. Plus it was California, where the long, dry seasons kept mold and rampant plant growth at bay. A little neglect went a long way toward keeping the yard from growing too avidly. As I am only now realizing, life in the wet, lush Pacific NW is largely a battle between a house and the elements. Water is forever seeping, leaking, corroding, and destroying anything it can find. A dry basement is a miracle, a thing of beauty, and a joy forever. Wooden shingles, decks, and pretty much anything else require constant coats of sealant or they rot. Sometimes they rot anyway. All of this is expensive, stressful, unpleasant, and potentially obscenely expensive. And, in the grand scheme of things, hopeless. Left alone, my house would probably disintegrate in five years or less. I'm not sure if this is a powerful lesson in the futility of human life, or a reason to move south. I'll keep you posted.