a FRUSTRATING adventure


NOTE: This post contains bad words!


Today, when I arrived at the Cross House, the sun was shining, it was in the eighties, and I mowed some of the lawn. Then I went inside, sat in the dining room, drank some water, and read the latest news on my iPhone while sitting in front of a fan to cool off.

After about ten minutes, I heard an odd sound.

What is that, I wondered?

I turned to the windows, and was startled. It was pouring rain! Like monsoon-level rain! Wow. Where did that come from?

Of course, rather than stay inside like any sensible person would do, I dashed out into the friggin’ monsoon to see if all the gutters and downspouts were doing their job.


This is a pattern of mine when it rains at the Cross House. Last May, I did a post about a terrifying adventure where I crawled out onto the roof during a storm to fix a clogged downspout.

Today though, all seemed well. At first. Then I realized…


…the downspout tucked into the SW corner of the second floor was obviously clogged, and water was POURING over the edge of the built-in gutter.



Damn damn damn.

I soooooooooooooooo did not want to go, as I did in May, through the third-floor door, into the gutter, and around the corner, so I could ascertain the problem. No, no, and no!

Instead, after it stopped pouring, I hauled the ladder out so I could get onto the porch roof. Then, I had to haul the ladder up ONTO the porch roof, so I could reposition it to reach the gutter.

The problem, based on a previous experience, is that if I tried to haul the ladder up onto the porch roof, the upper part of the extension ladder would pull away from the lower part.

And that is bad.

What to do? What to do?

Oh! I will tie two rungs together so the ladder cannot separate! Genius!

Thus, I was able to get all the way up to the gutter.

Where it was immediately obvious that the downspout was, indeed, clogged. I had the foresight to bring a stick with me, which I shoved into the downspout. But…this accomplished nothing as the downspout took a quick right-turn to the left, and then another sharp turn straight down. So, I would need to take the downspout apart.

Down the ladder I went.

Once on the porch roof, I pulled the ladder away from the gutter, and gently dropped it back to street level, carefully positioning it so I could safely step down. That accomplished, I went inside to get a drill and the right bit to remove the octagon-head screws holding the downspout together.

Then I climbed back up the ladder, hauled it up to the porch roof, repositioned it against the gutter, climbed up with drill in hand, and……discovered that I had the wrong size bit.

And this, dear reader, is where the bad words come into play.

Fuck! Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck! And FUCK!


Oh, I was mad!

But, there was nothing I could do. So, back down the ladder I went. Once on the porch roof, I pulled the ladder away from the gutter, and gently dropped it back to street level, carefully positioning it so I could safely step down. That accomplished, I went inside to get the correct bit.

Stepping back outside, I climbed up the ladder, hauled it up to the porch roof, repositioned it against the gutter, climbed up with drill in hand, and successfully removed the screws holding the downspout to the gutter above.

And….nothing happened.

It was now obvious that the clog was not in the neck of the downspout but the long vertical pipe or maybe the bottom elbow. So, down the ladder I went. Then I removed the screws holding the elbow, and pulled the long pipe away. It weighed a ton, as it was clearly filled with water. So, I raised it and shook and shook and….then all hell broke loose as water gushed out from the pipe and all over me.

At this point a reasonable person would think: Why am I doing this? Why don’t I own a condo? In Florida?

But what did I think at that moment? VICTORY! I AM A GOD!


The pipe was clogged with a lot of dirt but the actual problem, just like last time, was debris from when the roofing company installed new shingles over two years ago!



With the downspout now free of debris, I put it all back together, climbed up the ladder to re-attach the downspout, and then climbed back down. Once on the porch roof, I pulled the ladder away from the gutter, and gently dropped it back to street level, carefully positioning it so I could safely step down.

V I C T O R Y !

Back inside, I luckily had an extra dry shirt, so I put that on. But, there was no way I was going to do any more work. The unexpected adventure had drained me emotionally. I was soooooo done for the day!


As I was preparing to leave, I realized that I, ahh, could not. My next stop was the grocery store, but there was no way I could leave…just yet.

Scroll way down…






















When the downspout had finally cleared, it poured all over my pants. But I realized that anybody looking at me in the grocery store would think: Look! That old guy peed his pants!


To save my reputation, I stood in front of a fan for twenty minutes.



  1. Barb Sanford on August 13, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    Oh, Ross. When you write you autobiography, this kind of writing is going to make your readers laugh until coffee shoots out their nose.

    • Sandra Lee on August 13, 2018 at 9:45 pm

      Yes Barb — thank goodness not eating or drinking — just totally lost it with the wet pants!!

    • Jackie on August 15, 2018 at 5:37 pm

      HAHAHA, it’s a good job I wasn’t drinking something as I read your comment, Barb, or the exact same would have happened to me right then. 😂

  2. Sandra Lee on August 13, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    Crying— I am laughing so hard I almost wet my pants!,,🤣 it reminds me of the story about the AT&T stoner who said, “I’ve solved your problem for all time…….” I still can’t tell the story without going into hysterics.

    For a minute I thought you fell off the roof 😱


    Going to have to step up prayers for protection— could you please email me when u plan on more death-defying measures?

    Oh my goodness the wet pants!!!.

  3. Kara on August 13, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    Oh good Lord. If there’s any reason to drop multiple f-bombs at the top of your lungs … !!!!

    I swear like that when I have the wrong bit in my drill anyway, nevermind standing on a ladder in the pouring rain!

    Your adventures are definitely book-worthy.

  4. Celeste on August 13, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    I don’t blame you for the colorful language! I’d be broadcasting to the neighborhood in a similar situation.

    However, I would like to point out that 1) you found a spot where the downspout was clogged and fixed it, despite multiple challenges, and 2) you still got your shopping done, despite the best attempts by the downspout to disgrace you.

    You also managed to make the whole thing into a entertaining blog entry, despite your frustrations.

    That is a SUCCESSFUL story.

    Never fear. Your next visit will be better. The Cross House will reward you by preening her glittering windows, mended siding, and fresh paint in the sun. Triumph!

    • Suella on August 14, 2018 at 6:23 am

      “…despite the best attempts by the downspout to disgrace you.” Hahaha!

  5. Éric Davignon on August 14, 2018 at 12:34 am

    What an adventure!! But the part that worries me.. is there any interior damage caused by that clogged drain? I guess not since you didn’t write about it…I couldn’t stand you having interior damages after all the wonderful work you’re doing… Don’t worry about the water on your clothes… usually it dries!! LOL

  6. Mike on August 14, 2018 at 10:05 am

    I’m glad to know that things like that happen to other folks, too! I took a little tumble off a stepladder a few weeks ago, and did not realize until I was in the checkout at the lumber yard that I had ripped open the seat of my shorts when I fell. The young man behind me in the checkout watched with pity as I tried to pull together my shorts and my dignity, unsuccessfully…not realizing that he would be old someday too.

  7. Mike on August 14, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    I had never really looked at the south face in detail until today; it will no doubt be your greatest challenge yet. All of the broken and missing pieces…but when it is done, it may turn out to be the most impressive side of the house. I look forward to the day it is all finished, I’m sure that you do too!

    • Ross on August 14, 2018 at 6:52 pm

      Hi, Mike!

      I love the south facade but I think the north facade is the coolest. But I reserve the right to change my mind!

      The south facade is, indeed, in poor shape but I suspect it will be less work than the north facade was. For, I plan on replacing most of the shingles and new shingles will be easier to deal with than old shingles. I hope!

  8. Stewart McLean on August 14, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    Dear Ross,

    Those, who think appropriate words are bad, have poor vocabularies. Every word has a proper place, being neither good nor bad, just right.

    For those who haven’t figured out that my wit is on par with a nit-wit, please take this comment very seriously. However if you have read beyond Ross’s warning, I think that you can handle this comment. If you can’t, then you will never be able to admit that you didn’t stop and go on with your day without having to experience bad words. This is for the people who share my sense of humor.

    Ross, I can just see the pants-pic, that you have so guilelessly provided in this post, going viral with the heading: “Ross wets his pants while repairing downspout”, which would be true.

    As an avid gardener, I have given up worrying whether people may think that I have wet my pants. I also have been known to hand-wash things in a wash tub in the yard followed by hanging them on the line that also produces that “special” effect.

    On one occasion, when one person stared, looking at me as though I should be embarrassed to be striding into the Deli at the local upscale grocery store with wet pants, I turned to him/her (I don’t want to start any thoughts that I approve of gender discrimination), and forcefully said “North America!”

    They cleverly said: “What?”

    I responded: “I could tell you were wondering if I was incontinent, and North America is the continent.” I know it doesn’t make any sense at all, but it confused the *$%#@^%& out of her/him. If I had been in a milder mood, I would have said something like I forgot to put on my Depends today. If I had been in a nice mood I would have said “Gardening”. I really don’t care what people think about my appearance (much), and if you ever meet me, you will know I am not lying. I see no reason to stay away from public places just because my clothes are, wet, dirty, have holes, or any other of the many harmless ways an outfit can have an appearance about which people love to judge. I won’t reveal what I would say if I was required to testify under oath concerning the veracity of this tale.

    For those of you who are not familiar with the manner in which I blather on various Web sites, I have rarely been known to take my tongue out of my cheek. Thank you, Ross, for continuing to let me blather on your site. I find the fact that you let adults make fools of themselves in this forum so refreshing.

    By the way, I rarely run on this much, except when a post has really tickled me.

    • Jackie on August 15, 2018 at 5:44 pm

      You guys were on a roll here, Stewart has me cackling too, reading the comments on this blog is often just as entertaining as reading what Ross has to say. 😁

  9. Kim on August 15, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Well, fuck me dead. – That’s generally my “it figures” response to nearly any event momentarily impacting my life.

    I find it comforting & inspiring to know there is someone else out there who also plunges into a job! At a certain point in the spontaneity, it just becomes a kind of vengence thing, doesn’t it? 😉 Damn those torpedoes – full speed ahead!

    Then again, with all that water gushing out, you could have easily lost footing and…well, “plunge” indeed! So, as for the wet pants – consider it the better battle scar.

    When the job is done and all is dry, 😏 if one can walk away with a chuckle, the battle is won.

  10. Monika Bredesen on August 15, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    All the bends and angles are made for getting clogged but I guess that all shit ends in the downspouts sooner or later. I’m happy to follow you and the adventures in and on the sides of Cross house.

  11. Christopher Brandt on August 20, 2018 at 7:13 am

    Hahahahahaha! I so sympathize with this. Ross, you need to get some downspout strainers!

  12. Cindy Belanger on August 23, 2018 at 9:51 pm

    Oh Ross, that’s exhausting pulling the ladder up to the porch roof and then sliding it back down again. Wet pants are the least of your problems. We have a telescoping ladder that is sooo convenient and easy to get to the top of the second story. Amazon & EBay have quite a few listed. They are a bit pricey, but worth it. We got ours at Big Lots (a discount and overstock store). Compacted, it is 34 inches high and easy to carry up the stairs to our second floor bedroom, open the window and put the ladder on the porch roof. Slide each step up and lock in place. It is also easy to slide into it’s compacted state. Wouldn’t be without it. Hope all your gutter problems are over and done with.

    • Cindy Belanger on August 23, 2018 at 9:53 pm

      P.S. The telescoping ladder, depending on which model you get extends anywhere from 12 feet to 16 feet.

  13. Karen Steele on August 28, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    Oh my lands . . . I was fine til the end. Then I lost it or tried to as much as possible, but I just had my appendix out yesterday which is why I am sitting at home tonight catching up on your blog and it is extremely painful to laugh so hard, but it was worth it.

    (The laughter, not the emergency appendectomy.)

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