Finding Purpose in a Blocked Gutter

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

It's been a rainy few days here in Portland. When I say rainy, I don't mean the usual Portland drizzle. We've had some serious rain storms move through, bringing high winds, thunder and lightening, and torrential downpours. When I was doing dishes in the kitchen this afternoon, I noticed the gutter above the kitchen windows was overflowing. Not good. The soil had already become so saturated that water was seeping into our unfinished basement through foundation cracks. I thought about waiting until later to fix the problem, then decided it couldn't wait. I quickly ran down to the basement, grabbed the ladder, propped it up against the downspout, climbed up, cleared the blocked downspout, and the water started draining . . . until I realized that the cast iron pipe was overflowing with water where the downspout connects at ground level. Water was draining down from the gutter, but had no where to go as the cast iron pipe was also blocked. Since it was blocked far below ground level, I grabbed the garden hose, took off the spray nozzle, and pushed it into the cast iron pipe as far as I could before turning it on full blast. It took a few seconds, but then the water pressure pushed everything through and the problem was fixed. Meanwhile, it was pouring! I came inside soaked to the skin and as muddy as our backyard chickens, but with a sense of accomplishment. Some days it's a blocked gutters, other days it's about making bread, and some days it's about turning on music and dancing with the kids. These are the moments that make up my days and weeks . . . moments that at times seem like a series of menial tasks, but when added together create a home for my family, and that's something that gives me purpose, even in the little things like blocked gutters.

Oh, and p.s.
Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone!

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