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Weatherproofing after the holidays is too little, too late

January 6, 2019

I have half of a gutter hanging down from the roof over the garage, tire tracks rutted in the front lawn and a hole the size of an aircraft carrier on the property line of the yard. 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 archeological dig has uncovered part of several jaw bones and detached heads with tusks thrown about like piano keys.

I don’t know what goes on here, but the destruction from a couple of months of holiday shopping brawls, neurotic regifting in-laws and possible serial killer sightings is a lot of stress for your house. You, not so much. 

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 the house. Here, the sun comes out for five minutes and my house cracks in half like a hard-boiled egg.

It’s as if there was some sacred society that buried their loved ones on this plot when dinosaurs wandered the earth, and then I had the nerve to build a house on it years later. Realtors never tell you about the ancient burial grounds, unless you live next door to the Kardashians. 

Aliens from other planets, never from here because they also have housing problems, would look down and shake their three heads in disgust that some people had the audacity to change history and put wood up and live like animals, so they just move onto other desirable galaxies. Just kidding, of course; everyone knows aliens only have two heads and three tails.

But seriously, everything seems to fall apart after a major holiday.

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

So early on, 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 to be taken seriously in these stores.

But the thing about it is that weather-stripping comes in packaging where it is coiled up in a ball. What none of us understood because the extent of our reading Spanish was the words, “Hola, Amigo,” is that the ball is only 2 millimeters long when extended.

In other words, you would need about six truckloads, filled to the brim, to safeguard one windowsill. 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 on the streets and alleys.  Our thirst for this item led us to associate with dark, 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 emission 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.

  • 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.