A few weeks ago, Sam and I noticed some damage to the ground all around the downspout of the front gutter. It goes directly into a drainage pipe that runs underground for... well, for the sake of brevity, let's just say forever and all distance. Point being, if it's clogged up under there, and the water is backing up and damaging the ground like that, our front yard is screwed. And so are we. Because we'll be digging up the entire distance from our house to the road. Or maybe we'd have to shove some kind of scope or rooter or something down there. Except that it's sealed up, downspout to drainage pipe, where they meet. So we'd have to ruin that, first. Or something. I have no idea. It just all seemed like it was going to be horrible.
But then came the good-news-bad-news situation. During the next heavy rain, we looked outside and discovered that the water wasn't backing up. It wasn't going through the downspout at all. It was pouring like mad over the edge of the gutter. So, yay! No damage to the underground drain! But, crap. It's blocked up at the roof. So we've got to go on the roof. Which we've never done. In the almost four years we've lived here. Because we have no way of getting up there.
Have I mentioned the bit where Sam's afraid of heights, and I'm terrified of falling?
We purchased an extension ladder for this express purpose, and this is where we discovered the downfall of living on a double-directionally-sloping lot. It was near impossible to get the ladder positioned with any stability to reach the proper spot of the gutter on the back side of the house (we did, though, and Sam discovered all was clear upon mounting the ladder- woohoo!), and was quite literally impossible to do so in front of the house.
Flash to the argument scene. Sam throws the ladder up, gives it a shake. I yell and show it lean precariously to one side with a single foot placed on the bottom rung. Sam shoves a rock under one leg of the ladder. I yell some more. Sam repositions repeatedly. I yell again. Sam gives it a shake, gets both feet on the bottom rung, I threaten to not hold the ladder in any way because I am not participating in this sham of safety and there's no way he's not going to fall anyway so I might as well not be under him when he does.
Anyway, we figured out that there's no way in hell to get to the bad-pain-in-the-ass-trouble-making-gonna-have-to-kick-it-repeatedly-if-only-I-can-get-to-it part of the gutter without actually climbing on the roof, so we might as well go to the flattest part of the ground and climb from there. This was okay because, in an interesting bit of team work, Sam was willing to work from the ladder but not climb on the actual roof, whereas I could not work from the ladder but could happily walk all over the roof like a mountain goat on acid.
Envisioning the absolute nastiness of a clog that a full waterfall from the gutter would entail, I demanded a glove and something pointy, which, to Sam's mortification, I promptly shoved into the waistband of my pants. I could see him imagining me gutting myself on it. Then he'd be a widower with three children. It was his turn to yell. But, really? There was going to be yucky stuff. And possibly bugs. The pointy thing was going up the ladder with me, one way or another.
I climbed the ladder, staring straight ahead. I got to the roof line, staring straight ahead. I contemplated how I was going to hoist my ass over the top of the ladder and onto the roof. It took a bit, but I managed to get on the roof. Oh! And safety stuff. I was totally safe about it all. Harnesses and ropes and... stuff... Don't yell at me, Mom and Dad.
I climbed over the peak of the roof, down the other side, got close to the edge, peered into the gutter. Nothing. Not a single leaf. The entire length was spotless. Huh. I moved right to the corner of the roof. The hell? There, settled right into the mouth of the downspout, perfectly wedged in, was a tennis ball. ("Oh," said Connor, later. "I wondered why that never came back down.") It was damn good on my part that I didn't leave my pointy thing behind because I needed it to lever the ball out. Then, because I'm me, I threw the ball at Sam.
After one or two more bits of maintenance things on the roof, I sat down, top of the ladder before me. Crap. After the trouble getting from ladder to roof, I had no idea how I was going to get roof to ladder.
"Coming?" Sam asked.
"Don't rush me!"