Our Town – August 13, 2015

The Soupster learns secrets of keeping dry.

The Soupster learns secrets of keeping dry.

“Bang…Bang, Bang…Bang,” sang the hammer, as its owner, Our Town contractor Mike “Curt” Curtis, pounded nails. Curtis was working on the front of a house right on the road the Soupster passed on his morning walks.

The Soupster had taken the same walk for years and had the luxury of watching as the homes and yards slowly changed. Having the time to literally watch the paint peel – well, not literally – the Soupster noticed changes that even the homeowners might miss.

But it would be hard to miss the pile of warped shingles and pieces of soaked and rotted plywood lying in front of the house. Our Town’s ever-present rain had worked its way under the shingles, causing them to warp. The rain then worked its way deeper and deeper, causing the rot.

The Soupster stopped in the street and regarded the pile. Curtis, descending a ladder, regarded the Soupster.

“Grody plywood, Curt,” the Soupster said.

“I wish it was just plywood,” said Curtis, jumping to the ground. “It’s OSB plywood – oriented strand board. It’s made up of little flakes of wood all held together with layers of glue. Soaks up water like a sponge. All the builders here hate it. They call it Beaver Poop* Board.”

* ed. note: Poop is used here instead of another common scatological term that starts with “S” — for obvious reasons.

“Goodness!” said the Soupster, as a few drops of rain struck his bare head.

“Then,” said Curtis, taking off his hat. He smoothed his hair and replaced the hat. “They thought they put enough ventilation in the attic.”

“They thought wrong?” asked the Soupster, as the rain fell harder.

“And with the foundation,” said Curt, nodding. “People don’t understand that ventilating the foundation is important, just like the attic.”

“It is? I mean, they don’t?” said the Soupster, sounding out of his depth. The rain dripping down his face looked like cartoon beads of sweat.

Curtis laughed. “Nervous, Soupster?” he said. “Your house have any secrets I need to know about? I already fixed your porch, right?”

Curtis had saved the Soupster’s house from damage when he noticed that the back porch had been tied directly into the house, instead of leaving a small space between them for drainage. Without that simple fix, rot would have started where water was trapped at the point where the porch connected with the house. The rot would then have spread.

“Well, it’s no secret, Curt,” the Soupster said, “that I admire you and all of Our Town’s builders for knowing these tricks to keep the rain from biting us civilians on our bottoms.”

“That’s nice of you to say, Soupster,” said Curtis as the rain began to pound even heavier.

“Any more good advice for me?” the Soupster asked, raising his voice to be heard.

“I’d buy a hat!” said Curtis


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