Rain gutters and my well-being

 “Rain Gutters” and “well-being” are probably not two words anyone would associate with one another. Well, except if you are a pessimist and automatically think of a worst-case scenario such as: falling off the ladder and breaking a leg, or having a humongous Yellow-Jacket attack, or a jumping spider while atop a 14′ ladder. OK, so those are all worst-case scenarios, right?

While I can be quite dramatic (especially if you add spiders into the mix), this story ends well; I promise!

caregiver, caregiving, funny, story, cleaning


I have this totally irrational fear of ladders. As a matter of fact, I have this weird fear of not standing on solid ground. I mean, I can walk up hills and mountains, go to the 20th floor of a high-rise, go to the top of the Space Needle in Seattle (which was awesome, by the way), go to the top of the Sears Tower and be perfectly fine.

It’s once I walk onto the glass balcony they have in the Sears Tower or some kind of shady looking structure with a cliff the size of the Grand Canyon in front of me, I get nervous! I will go into a full-blown panic attack with the waterworks on full blast if I can’t find a way out (or down).

Ladders have the same effect on me. For some reason, I cannot handle NOT being on (what I think is) stable ground.

Therefore, ladders and I don’t necessarily get along too well.


Anyway, now that you had to read through this long introduction of my totally irrational fear of ladders, here’s where I am going with this:

I am in the process of fixing our backyard, since it is a complete mess that consists of nothing but weeds and patches of grass. Since we live in Oregon, where it tends to rain A LOT during what is called the “rainy season” (which seems to be 8 months out of the year), we have quite a few trees that grow on our neighbors’ properties. With trees come leaves and leaves get stuck in gutters. I decided that it would be important to clean our gutters, because I really don’t want to deal with the mess should they get clogged.

So, I ask my dear husband where the ladder was and this is how that conversation went:

Me: “Hey Babe, where’s the ladder?”

Hub: “In the garage…(long pause)…WHY?”

Me: “Well, I kind of figured that while I am out here I would go ahead and clean the gutters before the next rain hits.”


Me: “Well Yeah. I mean, I might as well do it since I don’t know if you’d be able to handle it with your back and all.”

Hub: “Hold on, let me get my Boots and Pants on.” (At this point is laughing uncontrollably, because apparently he can’t hold it in anymore)

Me: “NO, I got it! It’s not that high up.”

Hub: “OK…(pause and walks back in the house, shaking his head).”

Me: “Gosh, this man has like no faith in me…”

So, my husband decides to bring me the ladder and as he’s walking out the door with the ladder he’s steadily grinning and talking to himself (something about “She’s going to get up on this ladder, ha”). Earlier that afternoon I made a fly-trap for the outside to try and keep flies away from our back porch, but our lovely puppies decided that they wanted to lick the bowl and tried just about every trick in the book to get to that bowl.

My husband says: “Why don’t you get on this ladder and put that fly-trap on top of that ledge right?” as he points up, steadily grinning.

Me: “Sure!” (I’m thinking to myself: I’ve got this, this can’t be too bad. It’s not even THAT high up.)

I got to the third step (yes, you read that right, the THIRD step) when I froze and almost started to crumble. I could feel my heart rate increasing, sweat dripping off me more now than it had been the whole time I’d been working in the yard, my hands shaking, and my legs were getting weak; BUT I persevered and got that bowl on top of that ledge. Now, if I could put that bowl on that ledge I should be able to clean some measly old gutters right? My husband moves the ladder to the side of the house.

I look up at the ladder, then the gutters, then the ladder again and immediately tell my husband:

“Why don’t we wait till I level off this area a bit. That way the ladder is more stable.”

Hub: “You said you would do it. The ladder is stable, don’t worry AND I will hold it for you.”

Me: “OK. I’ll try.”

I literally got to the third step again (that darn third step) and froze! After about 2 minutes of my husband coaching me (as best as he could anyway, given that he is such a soldier and doesn’t always use civilian-approved language 🙂 ), I made it to the fourth step. By that time, I’ve had my own totally inappropriate words flying around in my head (and possibly out of my mouth) and I could feel the anxiety just creeping up on me. Eventually, I got up to the fifth step and was able to grab two handful of leaves. That was it though!

I was done!

To prevent myself from bursting out into a full-blown waterworks side-show, I just threw my hands up and said: “That’s it, I CAN’T do it!”

That word.




It’s a word I have told myself I would never use in the context of my abilities; regardless how it’s written. I have always thought of myself as a Go-Getter! When I set my mind to something, I tend to accomplish that task no matter what! I have been so used to doing it ALL for us. I have been so used to finding ways to avert crises, improvise to the best of my abilities and accept all the good and bad that comes with being a Caregiver.

What about MY well-being?

This one incident, as funny as it may be in hindsight, has taught me a very important lesson.

I CAN’T do it ALL!

I am their Caregiver, yes. But I am also their wife and mother. I am a person with aspirations, dreams, desires and limits. There is only so much I am able to physically and emotionally do without me breaking down and completely loosing it. Then what? If my well-being is jeopardized, so is theirs. Their well-being is dependent on MINE, but my well-being won’t be any good if I don’t take a step back every once in a while and admit that I cannot do it all. Every once in a while admit that I need help.

Admitting that I can’t do it all and need help is NOT failure.

It’s a step towards an overall healthier well-being!

I do hope y’all had a good laugh at my expense! Please feel free to share. 

Disclaimer: Everything I share is solely based on my personal experience and is for informational purposes only. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please view my disclosure policy.


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