Hands-on work

    I cleaned the gutters yesterday and I have the hands to prove it They’re cut, chapped and tender. No matter what gloves I start out wearing, they’re discarded by the end, leaving my hands at the mercy of the leaves, twigs and other stuff in the gutter, not to mention the cool, dry fall air. 

    This year I thought I’d be innovative and wear a pair of latex gloves for gutter cleaning. I figured they would protect my hands, but not be so cumbersome that they would restrict me from doing the job. The right glove lasted for about half the cleaning of the first gutter and the second glove was shredded soon after.

    Fortunately, the gutter cleaning job only took about a half hour. I do the lower gutters, and my husband, Brian, does the higher ones. Cleaning them is one of my least favorite chores so I’m glad to have it behind us for another year.

    Unfortunately, it will take my hands a lot longer to heal than it did to harm them. From here on out until the end of the winter, I expect they’ll be dry, cracked and, occasionally, bleeding. The gutter cleaning usually signals the beginning of a battle to keep my hands healthy. I can’t count the number of sympathetic people who, over the years, have supplied with hand lotion after seeing the nicks and cuts on them.

      I appreciate my family’s and friends’ thoughtfulness and try out their lotions because my hands really do hurt and it’s embarassing when I go to sign a check and a cracked finger starts bleeding on the signature line. I have a bottle of hand lotion at my desk, a couple in my purse and several at home, so I’m prepared for this year’s fight.