Chicago’s First BIG Snow of 2010

OK, so here we go. This being my third winter of taking pictures outside on either cold or snowy days. I present to you my WORST photos ever. I’ve got a great idiot-proof camera but I defeated it today! And took this horrible collection. I don’t know what the hell I did to the settings, and I couldn’t find a good angle or whatever. It was BRIGHT outside and these look gloomy as hell.

I put the best one first, because it’s all downhill from here…

To add insult to injury I went out of my way to cut these photos with weird dimensions and shapes, so the ONLY consistent thing is the widths are all 470 pixels.

I can’t even keep a simple promise, this last one is actually 480.

Gutters, Drains and Leaf Cleaning for Drainage to Downpouts

Splat-splat-splat, splat-splat-splat, splat-splat-splat. That’s the sound that let me know I was NOT getting good drainage from my gutters to my downspouts. To say I was surprised is an understatement. On this blog I’ve gone through at least two separate SERIES about issues with getting the water from my roof to the city sewer. The first series of articles was about ground level issues where The water was making it down the downspouts but then was clogged at the ground ceramic piping and so just flooded the area instead of making its way to the sewer. Then there was the whole issue of leaves at the top of the downspout. Later I wrote about the gutters when I decided to paint them as I was doing the siding installation. So basically it was only 6 months ago at the start of the winter that I had gutters as clean as a whistle with a nice sound down the aluminum downspouts that gave me a lot of peace of mind.

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So we’re supposed to be coming to the end of the “April showers” season but the rain looks like it’s going to be coming right along for at least another 2 weeks. My neighbor knows I tyro do my own work around the house so asked me to come look at his gutters. His problem was that in the front water was spilling out of the gutters as if somebody was pouring the excess water out of a pot of recently cooked pasta. Not good. I told him my theory; which was that the gradual wight of the water had basically bent the gutters outward and he would probably need to either get some new gutter supports or put some shims behind the gutters to tilt them back up. And I left his place feeling pretty satisfied with myself. Oh woe to the smug man. Next day it rained and I figured it was a good chance to see how my own gutters were doing. I was quite shocked to find on both sides of my house rain water was spilling over before even GETTING to the downspouts. Had the weight bent mine too?


I got out the ladder and decided to some dangerous wet climbing WITH my camera. Leaves. I couldn’t believe I had leaves clogging up my works. I had worked during the EARLY part of the Fall cleaning them out, but clearly the late Fall had filled my gutters up again. So now I’m determined to get some kind of gutter protection. There are a few models out there. The easiest way to show you is to build an Amazon showcase that you’ll see below. Or if  you Need a local handy person? Check Service Magic Call them at 877-576-3375

But basically there are these inexpensive guards but the problem with those is that another neighbor of mine has the water just bouncing off and spilling over the house. And I mean a flood of water. So that’s really a house by house situation. I DID see some great gutter protection on This Old House that I really liked. There were basically wire brushes. The water can pass through and the leaves fly over the side. There are also some pretty expense gutter guards which act like a seal. And there’s a VERY good DVD which compares them all too.

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So I took a few pictures of the adventure, and it get the leaves out of the downspout took several tools. The first one below is the clog itself. I used a giant kitchen spoon. I used a car jack handle and I used a flexible long piece of metal to push the debris through the S curve of the downspout neck.


But I probably should have gotten this ting from Ace Hardware. Click the picture to see details.

gutter cleaner

After I got things cleared out I took a few pics. But you can see above the blockage was solid and no water was getting through.

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Chicago Snow April 2009

Well, this isn’t much of blog post, but in keeping with my habit of recording surprising weather in the city I bring you this latest photo. Tonight I went to take the garbage out wearing sweats and house shoes. So guess who was surprised to find himself severely underdressed? About a week or 2 back we also got a little bit of this rain/slush type snow too, but that was still in March and, you know, it wasn’t really super surprising. And yeah, this is still early April, but it IS April so to get several hours worth of snow is kinda on the weird side. Not quite biblical weird like frogs and locust, but weird.