And then it broke...

September 25, 2020

I broke the gosh darn window.

 

That isn’t exactly what I said at the time, but you get the idea. I said a few additional things when I found out that fixing two seconds of impatience would cost me $350.00.

 

But, hey, silver lining.

 

I realize I’ve been writing a lot about home renovation stuff, but when I think about it, I don’t have much else.

 

I haven’t had dinner with friends in…what feels like five or six years. If I can’t steal someone else’s clever comment, about half of my wit evaporates like dew in July. I’m barely allowed to wave to my children and grandchildren, and they’re the most interesting people I know. In the past, I’ve written about places we’ve traveled or explored, but now the only places I go are the basement and my shop, so that well is running dry, too.

 

I could write about politics every week, but most of the people I know already have churning stomachs and migraines, and that’s just from seeing the front page of the newspaper. I guess not writing about politics could be considered a public service on my part.

 

We have a wedding coming up here on the homestead and there’s a certain amount of spiffing up to be done. The new part of our house is a little over a hundred years old, and other parts are considerably older. Sometimes I think I could do a TV series about working on the house. There’d probably be copyright issues with “This Old House,” and I don’t know if the more accurate title, “This Damn Old House,” would sell.

 

I’ve been whacking away at a to-do list and got to “rotten storm window,” which was towards the bottom of the list on purpose. We have a big picture window in the living room. The inside glass is original, with old-age waves on the bottom and cut glass on the top that fills the room with rainbows on a sunny day. Unfortunately, the outside storm window fell victim to a hail storm a couple decades ago. I slapped together a new one made of cut-down 2 x 4’s and had a piece of glass cut to fit. Over the years, the wood rotted away until the bottom left corner was nothing but caulk covered with 8 coats of paint.

That system worked as long as no one was allowed to walk around that side of the house AND I didn’t need to remove the storm window to wash the inside window. So, you know, Houston, we have a problem.

 

The rottenness added a little more flexibility than is usually desirable in a window frame, but I got it out of the house and staggered over to the shop.

 

I whipped up a new frame exactly like the old one. It was ugly, but the old one had been ugly for almost twenty years and we’d survived. All I needed to do was slap the old glass in the new frame and scratch another task off the list.

 

Forty-five minutes later, my temper and the glass were both shattered. Remember “…caulk and eight layers of paint?” Yeah, that stuff is sticky.

 

Where’s the silver lining? I’d made the original frame thicker and wider than it should have been, because it wasn’t very good wood. To make the glass fit, I had to make the new frame the same way.  But after it broke, I was able to start with a clean sheet of paper. I found a thick piece of hardwood and made a proper-sized frame. The old window was a single pane of glass, so it was basically like having a 4 x 6 foot hole in the side of the house. Tomorrow I’ll take the new frame to a glass shop to get a piece of insulated glass. We may be in the middle of climate change, but it still gets cold in Minnesota.

 

So, my wallet is lighter, our house will be warmer, and maybe a little prettier.

 

One more item crossed off the list.

 

Copyright 2020 Brent Olson

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