Letters to Holly

Monday, October 5

Gutter Sniping

Your Sister had a meet-up with another teacher to hammer out a committee document, and I knew that would leave me alone for most of Saturday afternoon. I laundered and sketched and rearranged the workshop mess, but I really had a hankering to look at the gutters. They've hung over my head, both literally and metaphorically, and the weather was just nice enough to get me outside on a ladder.

I suspected they needed cleaning only on the corners at the downspouts. The previous owners installed both gutter covers and downspout filters. The filters are little green wedges that keep big items from clogging them. The covers are cheap plastic lattice tops. They also keep the chunky stuff out. Our gutters, however, attract and retain residue from the roof, mostly shingle grit, and I feared the summer rains had topped off the gutters with a stew.

They had. What I had hoped would be a half hour turned into two solid hours of scooping. It was a sludge an inch deep all around the house frame. It required me to pop the covers, claw out the slop, fling it into a bucket, and repeat about two dozen times. I could use this stuff as mortar. The joys of home ownership and maintenance. I want new covers on the cutters very soon. Something solid and sturdy.

Saturday night, I flipped around channels and found a Sherlock Holmes mystery on PBS. We watched, mildly curious, and then I realized we wear watching a PBS mystery on a Saturday night. This is an old-person activity. It gave me the mortal willies. Luckily, the show was weak enough to discourage us from going back to it on any night.

Your Sister wanted to watch Who Framed Roger Rabbit the next night. This is a film I reluctantly know by heart. It played on our wall of TVs when I worked at Wal-Mart. I can quote the film. She had never seen it, and I was curious how it held up. This was a film that squeaked in before CGI took off. James Cameron was noodling with it on The Abyss and Terminator 2, and I don't think either had been released yet. It was around before, but not on such a scale that this film could take advantage. The art doesn't really hold up. The story is slight, and the dialogue becomes a thin frame to move the plot along. It's technically impressive to watch the real props move as if the cartoons are affecting them and try to guess how they did that is more fun than following the story. Your Sister bailed about halfway through, and I was relieved to turn the channel.

Earlier on Sunday, I got a call from Brevard College asking for money. I recognized it as a student effort as I was in the exact same position about 20 years ago. I was a paid cold-caller. We exchanged notes (she was conversational, a good public persona for the fundraiser), and she asked if I'd come in and talk to them with tips as I've been on both ends of the phone line. I agreed to meet up with them on Thursday. There's not much I can say other than tell the school that $100 minimum pledges are impractical for those of us not living in a gated community. I did find out the school no longer requires community service for graduation. Baffling. The school needs to do more -- anything -- to reach out to the town. They never host a table at the local street fairs. They don't host the Halloween run anymore. They need to branch out.

I started a new drawing for FB, and it should be online before Wednesday. It's of Your Sister, captured in the fleeting nanoseconds betwen naps.

Picture of the Day
I woke up with the House theme in my brain this morning. Luckily, I had it downloaded on my iPod so I could drive it away by playing it once and only once.

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