Today's post is a little unique, primarily because it's is actually going to be two posts. One from my perspective, and one from Wendy's perspective. We both wrote the posts without the other knowing, so we figured we should go ahead and just share both of them. We hope you enjoy, and that you'll check out the post covering Wendy's take on the situation.
Living in the city, or at least in a relatively urban area, there are certain inconveniences you know you're signing up for. Difficult parking, crowded spaces, close proximity to neighbors, noise, trash, rats, roaches, and crime are the things that immediately come to mind. Although Old Town Alexandria is an urban area, it has a small town feel that appeals to us, and it's much different than what you would normally see in the middle of Washington, DC. However, in order to benefit from the charms of "small town big city living," we still need to put up with many of those annoyances that come with big city living.
Though parking can be difficult, and the crowds in the spring can get a little maddening, we've not had any real problems with outright crime. Well...that is until yesterday.
While I was busy taking a few "after" photos of our kitchen, taking advantage of some good natural light in the time I was spending home sick from work, something odd caught my eye. For the last seven years I've looked out of the sun porch window and have seen our copper downspout where it runs down the side of the house. This is how it's looked since we installed these gutters back in 2005.
Well, on this day I looked out of the side window and noticed that there was no downspout to be seen, just the base cast iron boot the downspout empties into.
Over the years I've watched as the downspout has weathered with age and taken on a nice deep patina. I seem to glance at the downspout just about every day. It's one of those things I look at and can say to myself "I installed that and it is still working great!" But when I noticed it was gone my first thought was actually "Oh no! The wind must have somehow knocked it out of its spot and it's damaged on the ground." This made no sense, given how hard it was to secure the downspout in its place, and I couldn't imagine it just falling out, but that's the only thing I could think of.
I went outside and looked on the ground expecting to see the downspout, but it was nowhere to be seen. That's when it hit me. Some jackass had come into our backyard the night before and stole our downspout right off of the wall. No, really, I'm 100% positive this is what happened!
I was shocked, I was angry, but a little part of me thought I had to be wrong. I walked out to the alley thinking maybe it had somehow fallen to the ground outside of our perimeter wall. Perhaps someone picked it up from the alley and moved it to our parking pad. Anything? Nope, nothing. I felt like I needed to make a chalk outline of the sad elbow piece on the ground.
I called the Alexandria Police to alert them to the theft, but it's not a critical item so I don't expect much there. I called Wendy to let her know what had happened, her first words "WHAT?!?!!...I feel so violated." I agree a little, but more than anything, I just feel pissed off.
I'm pissed at myself for not being better about locking our back gate. That's going to change now, that's for sure.
I'm pissed I didn't do a better job installing the gutter by securing it in place with fasteners that would have been more difficult to simply remove. (Though this could have ended with the thief badly damaging the downspout and gutter and just leaving it all in place.)
I'm pissed the people or person who stole the downspout left the length of busted downspout I swapped out a few months ago (it was just sitting on the on the ground), but took the length that was installed! Seriously, Mr. Meth Head downspout thief, why couldn't you have just taken the junk off of the ground and left the stuff on the house?
I'm pissed that I just replaced the upper portion a few months ago and the fact that it was shiny is what probably drew person into the yard to steal it in the first place.
I'm pissed that they also popped off the two springs for the holders that I now have to replace.
I'm pissed that they dented the upper elbow and now I have to fix that.
I'm pissed that I have to now spend $300 to order 20 more feet of downspout and install it when I have plenty of other stuff to do on the house.
I'm pissed there aren't better regulations at metal scrap yards to prevent this sort of garbage from running rampant.
And most of all, I'm pissed off that the meth head a-hole made off with a part of our house and probably cashed it in for something like $50 and it's going to impact the feelings of safety and security Wendy will feel in the house.
I've already placed an order for a replacement downspout, and I've also got a plan to bust anyone that may come back looking to repeat their little heist. But until then, this is the view we're left with.
I just hope it doesn't rain to hard between now and when I can put something new in place. I think we'll need to go pick up a dryer hose to use as our downspout until the new copper downspout arrives.
Well, at least our friends have a good sense of humor to keep us smiling a bit. Shortly after I found the downspout was stolen I posted a message on facebook about it, and here is what my news feed looked like a few minutes later.
Do you see my friend, Brian's, post? I laughed.
I also learned that this is becoming somewhat to very common in the DC area. Okay DC, Virginia, Maryland, time to get your political butts in gear and put restrictions into place that will prevent this sort of thing in the future. A friend pointed out that St. Louis now requires a photo ID when turning metal in at a scrap yard, and they do not allow cash transactions. This starts with oversight at the level that's enabling the thefts. If there's no market for stolen copper, there are no thefts of copper items from homes or construction sites.
Have you ever had any vandalism or petty theft on your house? Perhaps a garden gnome walked off, or a porcelain deer mysteriously disappeared and you began receiving ransom notes? This isn't our very first item, but the last time someone tried to make off with one of our cast iron urns a few years ago, they thought better of trying to take the 200 pound item about one foot after they started.