February 10, 2009

Pioneer Woman

Like some raving female King Lear, I tried to fix a potential problem outside where rain was coming off our roof in a heavy downpour. I dragged a plastic garbage can and a 10-gallon pickle bucket (not sure why we have this) out into the back yard. Now as a warrantee-holder for an expensive brand of gutter “raincoats”, I expect that water should not be coming off the roof that fast but rather out the drainage system. And certainly not potentially down my basement walls or into the already-soaked ground.

According to manufacturer’s commercials, “you will never have to clean your gutters again.” Apparently in the contract’s teeny tiny print below it says “except when the gutter raincoat gets dirt on it.”

Why did our thousand-dollar-plus raincoat system have dirt on it? A portion of the apparatus came up during the ice storm and the wind blew it back down. The company does not take responsibility for the natural materials collected in the gutters during those four days since I called them, because their employee did not see the raincoat standing up. (And I paid $89.95 for them to tell me this, which is the “house call” fee according to the warrantee.)

So taking matters in to my own hands, I went out to solve the problem. O Pioneer Woman that I am. First I thought Son’s Boy Scout tarp could be rigged up along the wall to force the water into the ditch. But how to attach the tarp to the wall? Despite it’s reputation as the “handyman’s friend”, duct tape would not stick to the brick. (By this time I was completely soaked from head to toe, and my hair was standing on end.)

Then, a revelation....

“A bucket, I’ll get a bucket.” It hit me that a garbage can would work, and I found the erstwhile pickle bucket next to it.

Now let’s review. We’ve had Hurricane Ike come through last fall (usually we don’t have hurricanes in the Midwest) and the worst ice storm in a 100 years last week. Tomorrow we are getting what Kansas got today, so I’m going to stay home, batten down the hatches, and prepare to drag my buckets well past the end of the drains and dump them (so the water doesn’t soak into the ground and go where it should not). And I did the annual sump pump test today. Nothing is as lovely to a homeowner as the sound of a working sump pump.

My Rodeo Cowgirl friend P.C. in San Antonio tells me that they are having a very bad drought and the hot spring winds are already bringing in skin-wrinkling air. Dear P.C.: wish I could run a pump under our town and ship all this melted ice to you! Wish Atlas could lift the earth and balance it out! Quoth the raven.