The latest new thing


At our house, we have extensions on three downspouts.

They’re nothing significantly out of the ordinary. An extension running about three feet away from the house, balanced onto a somewhat triangular shaped pan. Water runs away from the house. And as a result of them being there, I have a few extra seconds that need to be dedicated to moving things around when I mow the lawn.

Funny thing this year though. One of the plastic extensions has been blowing around during strong winds. And honestly, it’s been this winter that it started. Went outside during one of the first really windy days of the winter, there it was on the other side of the driveway. About a week later, it was behind one of the cars. Another time, it was still somewhat attached, but had swung about ninety degrees.

For our purposes today, all of this downspout extension fun matters for one reason: It’s never been a problem before.

That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been fun with that plastic runner. It detaches when you lift it to work in that spot with the mower or trimmer. During the fall you might see some leaves piling up on and around it as they sweep along the gutters and downspout and collect at the end of their journey from the roof to the ground.

What it does mean is that in several years of living in this house, I have never before this winter walked out of the garage door, looked at the ground in confusion while “what the hell is that” rattled around in my head, only to realize it’s the plastic extension, detached and about thirty feet from where it usually is.

Pinocchio noses.

Do you know what I mean by Pinocchio noses? Some people call them whirly-this-or-that or even helicopters. In reality they come from maple trees. You could split them in half, pull out the seed, and then attach them to your nose. Ha ha, Pinocchio noses.

Apparently, the true name of these things is samaras. (I’ll still go with Pinocchio noses, thank you very much.)

Neighbor has a maple in the yard. First year in this house, our gutters were filled with Pinocchio noses. Gutters… downspouts… with literal Pinocchio nose puddles forming around the end of the extensions in the yard.

But only that first year. Since then, none to be seen.

We all have things that we face at certain times. They might vary by season… such as when you begin exchanging equipment like lawn mowers and snow blowers between the garage and the shed. And some things might be occasional… those moments when you decide it’s time to stain the deck again. Thing is, in general, issues are usually issues all along… not some random kind of occurrence, but at specific times or for specific reasons.

One night several months ago it was time to put the trash out for the next morning’s collection. It was windy. In fact, no, it was WINDY. And the next morning, I woke up, checked the driveway, and the container for recyclables was gone.


Completely gone.

No sign of the container. No sign of any of the milk bottles or cardboard that was inside.

I’m a conscientious homeowner. I drove along our road in both directions for about a half-mile. I went back to the house. Parked the car, and then walked the road in both directions, on both sides of the street. I scanned brush and woods and drainage ditches. I tried… without trespassing… to look at neighbors’ properties.

Nothing. Gone. (Although… funny note… I also realized that I didn’t see any recycle bins next to my neighbors’ trash cans either. So, it is possible that overnight someone drove along our road, pulling their minivan over to the side where someone had the trash out, tossed the recycle bins and contents into the back, then drove along to the next driveway with items to consider. Possible. But I am going to proceed as though that isn’t what happened.)

So now, on trash night, I often notice when there’s stronger wind or even a decent breeze blowing. Wind and trash night is a potential fun mix. Issues are always issues.

You might not need to stain the deck every year… still, when needed, issues.

And then there’s my downspout.

Do you have things around your house that have happened once, or randomly, and don’t seem to be associated with a specific repair need or seasonal effort? I’m just wondering because today I’m breaking out some new screws to use on the downspout extension. Not because the old screws look bad… not because it has some obvious need of repair… but because last night’s storm moved it once again and I’m getting tired of this year’s freak yardwork.


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