Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's About the Exterior, Stupid

As a Gay man, I always thought home ownership had to do with the interior, being sure your home was color coordinated, fresh smelling and clean and that all one’s sex toys were out of sight while still being easily accessible. If you are in a condo, this is all true.

In a house or mobile home, or even a camper, it’s about the exterior, stupid!

Considering yard work a chore is something I am resigned to accept, and I promise by next spring to plant a few bushes to give my home a more landscaped appeal. However …

Had I known before embarking on the trailer park adventure that I would have to do what I had to do today, I might still be an apartment dweller.

In the lot lease, we are instructed to keep our homes clean and free of trash along with hiding our trashcans and recycling bins. We are also told to “wash down” our houses at least once a year. These are easy things to do. I keep my trash cans behind the deck, and I am going to get one of those power wash attachments for my hose to wash my home next spring. I think the Mr. Clean car wash kit should do the job nicely.

But I was starting to have a problem with the trashcan placement. With all the rain we were getting this year, my yard was full of mud, and I was constantly traipsing through a soggy pit to empty my trash and recyclables, not to mention disposal of poop bags. I needed a walkway.

I noticed my cute next-door neighbor (whom I am convinced masturbates to fantasies of me behind those closed curtains – let me have this one tidbit) had pavers from his deck to his trash cans, so I decided to buy some pavers to go around my deck to keep my shoes clean. As I have told you, I am legendary for my clean shoes.

While I was admiring his pavers and measuring them, I heard a voice from above. I was startled and said, “I was only measuring them to see how many I need; I wasn’t going to steal them.”

No worries; it wasn’t God. It was my neighbor.

He was on his roof, cleaning his gutters. And he was pulling out a shitload of leaves.

Earlier that day, I did something I thought I would never do. I raked my leaves – all of them! But, I never considered the ones on the roof or in the gutter.

I asked him, “How often do you have to do that?”

“At least once a year, maybe twice.”

I then got on my deck and reached up to see if my gutters were full. Being tall does have its advantages. Oh yes, there were about four inches of leaves in my gutter. I needed to clean them out. And, cleaning them meant two things.

I had to climb up a ladder, and I had to get onto my roof. Two things I have never done and do not have on my bucket list. I am not afraid of heights. I can stand on a balcony and look over the edge with no problem. I am afraid of falling. I am a natural born klutz. If anyone is going to fall off a roof, it is I.

Growing up, I don’t think we ever cleaned our gutters, or at least I didn’t. I never climbed up on ladders either. I never saw the inside of our attic. Our house had all the worst qualities of the homes of the Munsters and the Addams Family, including cultivated weeds and loose shingles.

I, however, am determined not to care for my home the way my parents did. So, I decided to buy a ladder and clean my gutters.

My neighbor offered to lend me his, but for a few reasons I decided not to. His was a little rickety, and I weigh over two-hundred pounds, and I don’t want to be that guy who borrows stuff all the time. I hate those people.

Does anyone borrow a cup of sugar anymore?

On the Saturday morning after Black Friday, I showed up at Lowe’s when they opened. It was empty (for those who don’t know, that Saturday morning is the best time to shop). I first found a ladder with a 300 pound weight limit that was on sale, so I put it in my cart and attempted to maneuver it through the store. That wasn’t going to work. I knocked six displays over before I asked if I could leave it up front until I was ready to leave. I am so much like Lucy Carmichael, it isn’t even funny.

I then went to look at pavers. I found some that were perfect and I loaded them onto a cart. According to my measurements (and contrary to belief, this Gay man does measure, and I measure exactly), I needed forty-eight of them. They weighed twenty pounds each. The cart weighed 960 pounds, and I pulled that bastard from the garden center all the way to the front of the store where I had my ladder and green bungee cords. Did you expect me to buy any other color?

Just so you know. I was the only one in the store, and no one offered to help me. Of course, I didn’t ask for help either. I never do. I am the perfect martyr. I should be in the Bible somewhere. – maybe hauling stones in ancient Egypt then falling off a pyramid to my death because I wouldn’t ask for help.

I checked out then I pulled my car up and proceeded to load it up and strap the ladder to the roof with my new bungee cords. There were some Girl Scouts selling cookies and watching me the whole time. They giggled when I tripped and almost landed face first in my pavers. I made a note to buy some thin mints.

If you don’t know me, you are not aware of the fact that I dive a twenty-eight-year-old station wagon. I loaded the car with no help, and with each paver, the back went down a little more, and once all were in, it was almost bottomed out. I then strapped the ladder to the roof rack, again with no help. I even wore a plaid jacket that morning.

After buying a box of thin mints and a box of lemon cookies, I made it home, and it was like driving uphill the whole way. I took a picture of my car because I figured no one would believe I did this.

Once I arrived home and after I took the picture, I walked Esmeralda very quickly. I was sure my rear leaf springs were going to collapse if I waited any longer. Then, I emptied out the 960 pounds of pavers and laid out my walkway. Unlike most Gay men, I measured exactly. But I do get to keep my Gay card because my measurement ended in “eight,” and I needed forty-“eight” pavers. Think about it.

That went well. However, now came ladder time.

Again, I am not afraid of ladders, just falling off them. I am, however, afraid of spiral staircases. I don’t know why, but I conquered that fear when visiting the Baltimore Washington Monument with my friend Louis, which is also an obelisk, and climbing the spiral staircase to the top. Going down was another story, and I almost had to change pants at the bottom. So …

I used the bathroom then I mustered up the courage. At first I thought I could put the ladder beside the house, climb up a couple of steps then reach up and clean the gutters that way, but even I couldn’t reach that far.

With my cell phone in my pocket in case of an emergency, my wallet in my pants, so they could identify the body, and the ladder on the deck, I decided it was either now or never. I climbed up and looked at the roof. I climbed up one more step then another. With the grace of a goony bird, I clamored onto the roof. I am sure that was a sight to behold.

I was on the fucking roof! I looked around. I was on top of the world. OK, it was only 16 feet up, but I did hyperventilate slightly then I sat down and scooted to the edge to clean out the gutters. Fortunately, I was wearing gloves because no one told me about the gunk under the leaves.

Scooting on my fat ass, I managed to complete one side and only had two near misses. I then looked to the other side thinking those gutters couldn’t be full because the leaves tend to fall on one side of the house. Oh was I an optimistic idiot. There were more leaves on the far side than the side I just cleaned.

I then walked over to that side, looking like Lucy Carmichael and Vivian Bagley putting up an antenna, and again on my fat ass, cleaned that side.

The whole time I was thinking, “I am going to fall off this roof and die, or I’m going to have to call the Fire Department to get me down.” The second option didn’t seem so bad.  

I’m really surprised I didn’t throw up for the first time since 1997.

Then, I was done, but I was now stuck on the roof. A neighbor walked by with his dog, and I asked him if he would hold the ladder for me. Thank God, I live in a trailer park. Everyone is so friendly and willing to help. In Rockville, they would have acted as if they didn’t hear me.

He held the ladder, and I somehow got down in one piece.

Also, no one told me how wet shingles get. My jeans were soaked through my ass, so I took a shower immediately to avoid getting a yeast infection on my bum.

When all was said and done, I was informed there is an attachment for the garden hose for cleaning gutters without leaving the ground.

Why do I always find out about these things after the fact?

Cross one item off my bucket list – after I put it on there of course.

The thin mints were delicious, all of them. The lemon cookies were crap.

If you like getting on the roof, follow me, get on my email list, tell your friends …

1 comment:

  1. I was wondering when you mentioned the power washing for your trailer why you were climbing on your roof. LOL