Even a mild winter can bring about shocking home decay

April 11, 2021

I have half of a gutter hanging down from the roof over the garage, panty hose flying from the limb of a tree and a FedEx package ripped in half. It’s also got the word Emergency marked in red. Shocking, isn’t it?  Who knew women were still wearing panty hose today? It must have something to do with global warming.

Tire tracks are rutted in the front lawn, and a hole the size of an aircraft carrier opened up along the property line. This is no small matter. The hole is like the ones you see on the program NOVA, where some prehistoric animal lived millions of years ago and an archaeological dig has uncovered part of several jawbones and detached skulls.

I know, with April we expect the welcome sight of daffodils and promising sprouts of red tulips and purple hyacinths peeking through the soil. Well, snap out of it! The reality is that your back yard after the winter months will look like an abandoned garage sale. Well. Maybe not yours; it might just be my own view out the window.

I used to live outside Chicago, where monumental amounts of snow would descend and winds would howl off Lake Michigan. And not even a tile would fall off of the house. Here, the sun comes out for five minutes and my house cracks in half like a hard-boiled egg.

I tried to do all the right things earlier to prepare for the spring thaw. I saw a pre-dawn-hour television commercial for tape that weatherproofs a house. One strip across the sill, and wild orchids started growing all over the room. Palm trees flourished. The homeowner couple had all kinds of new friends who sat around in shorts in the middle of winter drinking pina coladas and talking about oil securities and futures commodities in the stock market. Now this is for me, I concluded, well before winter set in.

I went to the home improvement store to buy weather stripping. A bunch of us were walking around trying to impress each other with requests for weather stripping. We were sweating like hogs; I understand that perspiration is required if you want to be taken seriously in these stores.

But the thing about it is that weather stripping comes in packages where it is coiled up in a ball. In other words, you would need about six truckloads, filled to the brim, to safeguard one window sill. And so, rather than admit this, we wandered like a herd of lost llamas from one home improvement center to another seeking more and more weather stripping. Eventually some of us became junkies, addicted to begging in the streets and alleys. Our thirst for this item led us to associate with shady characters and go on dangerous internet sites where we spilled secrets in hopes of obtaining the Holy Grail of weatherproofing.

Finally I took my stash home and placed the strips across a door jamb. I have no idea if it needed it or not. I don’t even know if I had it on the right way. But boy, were folks impressed. Weather stripping! I got all kinds of coupons in the mail from the government for free greenhouse emissions testing, and Greenpeace gave me a discount on membership.

The only problem is, the living room still disappeared into the ground. Still, you’ve got to love that gutter. Let the cleanup begin.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter