I am (very-nearly) 26 years old, unmarried and (perhaps most importantly) living in Washington DC, home of insanely high real estate prices. All of these factors combine to ensure that I will be a renter for the long haul. Nevertheless, I live in an adorable house with lots of character (read: original plumbing and thin walls) that I love for its large yard and proximity to Real Places (parks, schools, libraries). In spite of being a mere renter, I have grown rather attached to my bit of earth, planting an ever-resilient circle of flowers around our cherry blossom tree that stubbornly fights for life, even as I forget to water them for days straight in blistering Washington heat. With thanks primarily to my aged landlord who prefers muumuus and slippers and all things polyester to real clothes, and exactly-placed red blush to her natural skin, I mow the lawn, trim the hedges, shovel snow, rake leaves, and even clean the gutters.
Oh the gutters.
After ignoring our landlord’s request that we clean out the gutters twice a year for the entirety of our tenure in the house, my dear roommate and I determined that we could put it off no longer. Winter is a-comin’, and I had visions of an icicle prison trapping us indoors, taunting us for the piles of leaves left to accumulate through two rounds of autumn. Memories of holding the ladder as my father threw down handful after handful of dry leaves only increased my urgency to see the matter completed.
My roommate and I procured a ladder from the closest non-renting (and ladder-owning) neighbor that we knew, and after successfully wrangling it into our non-truck, drove the several miles back to our house to begin the anticipated-laborious task.
Like many homes in northern Virginia, we have large azaleas beautifying the front of our home and serving the added purpose of willfully thwarting anyone who wants to strategically position a ladder within 5 feet of our house. Fighting back the prickly protests of the shrubbery, we maneuvered the ladder under the gutters and braced for the worse. Large brown “yard waste” bags stood ready to catch the falling debris. My roommate anchored the ladder and I began to climb all the way to the top, reaching my hand in to bring forth the first fruits of our efforts.
I grasped around. I repositioned myself. I grasped again.
The gutters were empty. After doing battle with the azaleas on the other side of the house and repositioning the ladder, the results were the same.
Miraculously, none of the three large trees that hang over our house had dropped a single leaf into our gutters.
We have magic gutters.
And I assure you that whatever other home-renter duties come our way, we will never touch the gutters again.