Monday, April 2, 2012

I Blame Sarah

I blame Sarah, my daughter-in-law, for what I am about to tell you. 

Like everyone else with an old house (or any house, for that matter) I have a very long to-do list.  Some of the projects on that list have fallen into the "someday" category.  They're things I'd like to do, but for various reasons they get pushed further down the list in favor of other projects until their timetable changes from "this fall" to "next spring" to "someday".  Y'all know how it goes. of those "someday" projects just moved to "right now".

Take a good look at this photo.  Notice anything unusual?  (Not the pane of stained glass that's been replaced with clear; that's been that way for Lord knows how long.)  Look at the bottom of the windows.  I'll give you a minute to think about it.  You scroll down when you're ready.

The storm windows are gone and the windows are open. 

Wait.  Let me say that again.

The storm windows are gone and the windows are open!!  HOORAY!!

Like I said, this is all Sarah's fault.  She knew that (someday) I planned to take the ugly storm windows off and cut the windows back open again.  Sarah thought this project deserved to be moved up on the timetable, so every time we had nice weather around here, she'd text me and say "I have my windows open and it's sooo nice in my house."  Persistence pays off.  A couple of weeks of that and I decided that my windows needed to be open too.

Last week I brought it up to Charlie.  "I'm thinking about taking those ugly damn storm windows down and cutting the windows open."

Charlie: "Why would you want to do that right now?"

Me:  "Because those storm windows are ugly as sin and the house would look better without 'em and so I can have the windows open."

Charlie:  "They keep out some weather."

Me:  "Not much.  Look at all that dirt and stuff between the windows.  They're not exactly airtight."

Charlie:  "Without screens, you're gonna have bugs in your house."  I pondered that for a moment.  Then he said, "Grasshoppers are likely to be bad this year.  They could jump right in your house."

That about made me change my mind right there.  I am terrified of grasshoppers.  All-out, screaming like a little girl terrified.  The thought of those nasty things actually inside my house.  Shivers.

But then I got over that and texted White Trash Bob.  "I'm thinking of taking the storm windows off my house."

His reply:  "Do it.  They serve no useful purpose."

So I went out and took four storm windows off the house, and then I cut through the globbed-on paint on the inside sashes, and then I went outside and cut through the globbed-on paint on the outside sashes.  (In fairness, I should admit that some of that paint was globbed on by me, but only two coats.  The other quarter-inch of paint well pre-dates my ownership of this house.)  And then the windows still didn't open, so I did what I always do when I run into problems and I called WTB.  He came right over and with a flat-head screwdriver, a hammer, a Wonder Bar (aka wrecker bar), and a whole lot of patience we pried those two windows open. 

"Be very careful when you hammer," WTB cautioned.  "And don't ever pry on the middle of the window.  Just on the corners.  You don't want to break the glass."  Indeed I don't.  Almost all of the windows in this house still have the original wavy, bubbly glass in them.

And then I shut the windows again, called Sarah, and told her to come right over because I had something very important to show her.  When she got here, I opened one front window and then the other one.  She laughed and laughed.

As it turns out, I'm really glad Sarah talked me into this.  I have some touch-up painting to do on the house this spring anyway, and while I'm doing that I can go around, take all the ugly storm windows off, pry the windows open, and then repaint the trim if I need to.  Three windows open.  Fifteen more to go. 


  1. I don't know how you stood it this long! Way to go Sarah!

    If you want to fix the missing stain glass window, go to ebay and enter Gallery Glass Window Paint and find your color. You can fix that for only $4.50 plus shipping.

  2. They have a tool specially designed to open sashes that have been painted shut.

    Red Devil 4046 Windo-Zipper Window Opener

    I have one made by a different company. If you have any old time hardware stores in your area....try there first.

    My first house had a bazillion windows and that is what I used. This tool doesn't put marks in the sash from prying with a screwdriver. It also removes paint that has dripped between the sashes.

  3. Also make sure you scrap the aluminum from the storm windows. Scrap metal prices are high right now.

    Make sure you sell as aluminum and not mixed metals which is cheaper.

  4. Jan, There's an antique store in town owned by a woman who also does architectural salvage. I'll check there for the window opener. Also, I hadn't thought of scrapping the aluminum--great idea!

  5. Storms are usually aluminum extrusion. If you remove the glass and screen and take the sides apart (get rid of plastic corners and slide latches-if they won't come out easily cut the 1-2" corners off with a hacksaw and throw them in the breakage) you will get a little less than twice the price of breakage and quite a bit more than unprepared if there are no corners or rivets left in the extruded parts.

    If you are easy on the rubber glass stops you can keep the glass panes, which being roughly the size of your wood windows, will be a godsend when you lawn-mow a rock through one at 13:30 Sunday afternoon or (like someone I know but won't name) snow-blow a frozen dog turdie through one at 00:dark:30 on a cold morning.

    Also, if you have metal screens in them, you can either sell them for aluminum if a magnet won't stick to them, or carefully remove them and save a few for patching your other screens. If they are fibreglass, just chuck them, because grasshoppers eat holes in them and they aren't worth reusing.

  6. Milah, Thanks for the tip about the window paint! I was wondering if something like that existed.

  7. I know my local Ace Hardware had one but Home Depot didn't.

    Glass paint is a GREAT idea. Plus cheap and easy. Love that cheap and easy stuff.

  8. Awe - fresh air! It's so nice isn't it?

    You can order gallery glass paint online from the maker, Plaid for under $3 (plus shipping).

  9. To keep the bugs, birds, squirrels, etc. out of your house get yourself some removable adjustable window screens like these: Thermwell #AWS1845 18x25-45 Wind Screen

  10. heck, do what the old school people did to keep bugs out....get yourself some lace curtains. [seriously...they were the first window "screens" :) ]