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Spring is the time to get your mind into the gutter

| Friday, March 2, 2018, 12:24 p.m.

Like most of us, I will on occasion hear someone compare my looks to that of my parents. Maybe it's true that I have my mom's eyes and my dad's nose. Who knows and who cares? At the end of the day, physical attributes hardly define us. The reality is that it's the things we learn from our parents, not the way we look, which really make us who we are.

In the house where I grew up there were hard rules — a set of family commandments, roughly 600 of them, which molded me into the person I am today.

I was taught that, without question, “thou shalt not be late for work, wear a hat at the table, use foul language around thy mother and, of course, though shalt covet no football team before the Steelers.” As a result, I am never late for work, I never wear a hat at the dinner table or swear at my mom and my football team is the Steelers, period.

But the rule, which guides most of my minutes on this planet, is good old commandment No. 219, “Thou shalt never waste time”.

On March 20 we will experience what is known among scientific types as the Vernal Equinox — the first day of spring for the rest of us. For me it means more daylight to do things and at the top of my list is to check and clean my rain gutters — again.

Most of us have been conditioned to believe that the time to check rain gutters is in the fall when leaves may be removed and a good pre-winter maintenance performed. That's a sound plan, but winter, especially the foul type we just endured, plays havoc with gutters and downspouts. Late fall leaves and debris find their way to the roof and into the gutters where they cause clogs. Freeze and thaw is also detrimental to gutters as are the ice dams which many of us had this winter.

Spring cleaning, patching and refastening of gutters and downspouts is not only a great idea, but should be an important part of your spring checklist. Ensuring that all connections are leaf-free and that water moves unencumbered from the roof to the street or other outflow is critical.

Getting to it before the historically rainy month of April is only logical.

It's not a fun job. In fact it's a cold, stinky job with a bit of a danger factor. Perhaps it's not how many of us would choose to spend the first days of spring. But I am trained to believe that the extra hours of daylight are to be used — never wasted.

So up the ladder I will go, making mom and dad proud.

As long as you adhere to commandment No. 1 “though shalt put safety first,” then maybe you should, too.

Ed Pfeifer is a freelance columnist for the Tribune-Review and the owner of Pfeifer Hardware Inc., 300 Marshall Way, Mars. If you have hardware-related questions, call the store at 724-625-9090.

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