When we hit these mid-summer months in South Florida, we are faced with a dilemma of decision. The onset of hurricane season often brings about an unwanted, but necessary undercurrent of caution. What if this is the year we get walloped? I suppose this condition could exist all throughout the Gulf and Gold Coast states, but I’ll only speak to the areas I’m familiar with.
Often times, this nervous anticipation conflicts with the natural order of things: that everything in life ages and wears out. Take, for instance, my screened patio.
I have a nice, elongated patio that stretches about 30 feet in width, facing east into a scenic “common” backyard of about 100 yards of pine trees and grass and random animals (as the screen guy was quoting me a price this morning, the two of us watched as a large raccoon, about the size of a young German Shepherd dog, ambled across the field, scouting for something to munch on).
The screening on the patio is pretty standard, four big polygonal panels on top and four rectangular sections on the bottom, bisected by an aluminum frame. Early in my ownership of the house, I changed out the bottom panels for screen commonly called “Florida glass”. This is screen with a translucent plastic backing that prevents the splashing of soil and water into the patio during the frequent heavy Florida rains.
Over the last few years, a panel here or there would start coming loose (usually just the spline aging and slipping). I would go out and ineptly attempt to roll the spline back into place. As you can imagine, my inexpert work ultimately led to several of the bottom panels to come further loose, recently so much as to have one screen swaying in the wind. That kind of defeats the purpose of the screen, both as a bug protector and as a splash preventer. Obviously, it was time to call in a professional.
Except…it was now hurricane season. Historically, we are hesitant to spend money on these types of repairs during the season since one small storm may be all that is needed to cause a mess of a home’s exterior. So, should I wait out the “just in case” or go ahead and spend the money and get the darn screens fixed.
The decision seemed to be made for me with the last week’s daily deluges. Not only did my patio get a soaking from the rain, but the water started backing up so high that it actually flowed into the patio. Not quite a flood, but substantially wet.
If that wasn’t enough motivation, on the next reasonably dry day, I went out to clean off the mess from the patio (washed up debris and stuff). All over the patio were dead flies (houseflies, you know, the bane of barbecues and picnics). There must have been several dozen lying around the patio. I had never seen anything like it. I presume they came in through the loose screens and couldn’t figure out how to leave. If ever I needed proof of the lifespan of flies, there it was all over my patio (I should point out that I actually have never needed proof of the lifespan of flies).
Thus, my decision made, I looked up a local screen man and he just finished setting the screens in place…boy does that look nice. Heck, I can’t wait for it to rain so I can puff out my chest at my patio’s return to invincibility.
Now if Murphy can just avoid sending me a hurricane…