Janet Combs (copy)

Janet Combs

Friends, pay attention to your exteriors! Of your homes, as well as your persons. Without proper care, these exteriors will weather, perhaps beyond repair.

Interestingly, with the human body, moisture seems to rapidly depart and we must add it to our outer layers with expensive anti-aging creams and lotions that will make us feel youthful and at the same time, poor. Conversely, with your home’s exterior here in the South, moisture sets in and causes mold to appear and boards to rot. It is ironic that this condition may be referred to as “dry rot,” which is a wood decay caused by fungi proliferating in a damp environment. I’m sure there is a scientific explanation for all of this, but if you are expecting to read about it here you are reading the wrong column. At Planet Janet, we like to point out interesting dichotomies and leave it at that. You are free to draw your own conclusions, which may include abandoning reading this column.

My husband and I know our home desperately needs to be painted, but first we must navigate and repair a maze of rotten boards and trim pieces around its exterior. At the same time, we must constantly reposition our ladders to caulk the cracks-a-plenty in our cedar siding so that our home’s exterior will look mottled and unattractive, like my face as a teenager when I followed a beauty-magazine recipe and applied a paste of oatmeal and lemon juice to my problem oily areas.

In short, this is a super-fun activity in the 100-plus-degree Georgetown County summer of 2019. I’ve missed a couple of Saturday hot yoga classes because I’ve determined I can experience the same level of burn for free, simply handing tools up to my husband while he pries a board off with a crow bar and measures the space for its replacement.

Last weekend, he came across a kind of plasticine coating smoothed over a board on the upper left side of our home. I thought it looked fine and would have ignored it, but not my husband. In this way, we are annoyingly alike when it comes to work we care about: I will go to great pains to try and make sure there are no misspellings or grammatical errors in my writing. He will go to great pains to make sure there are no structural or craftmanship flaws in his building.

Dutifully, I handed up the pry bar and scraper, knowing this coating of whatever-goo was coming off, even if I didn’t think anyone would really notice it. The sun was coming around the corner of the house and my shirt was sticking to my back; I was starting to feel irritated—but then I thought about how you is probley gonna notice if I ain’t writing good no more, and I adjusted my impatience level.

Many people today don’t know how to adjust their impatience level. While it’s a technique I could teach at a Planet Janet De-Stress Seminar in a depressing hotel conference room one afternoon for just $59.95, it’s absolutely free—today only—for you loyal readers! Here’s how you do it: you just get over yourself, and think of the entire situation from the other person’s perspective. This is not hard, people. In fact, it’s precisely the kind of appropriate thought that can occur in the great hot yoga of the outdoors.

Turns out the waxy, mutant board coating was covering yet another huge woodpecker hole, so it was a good thing my husband persevered, insulating and patching it perfectly. The way we’re going, we should be ready to have our home painted by the fall. Of 2022.

Janet Combs is a freelance writer in Georgetown County. Her column is be published weekly in the Georgetown Times. Contact her at janetfrickecombs.wordpres.com.