Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Window world

Time for that miserable window washing job again. I just spent the last two days on them, and boy, I am going to be sore this morning! Up the ladder, down the ladder, haul that bucket of water, wash that screen, do it all again. Inside and outside. Ugh.

In case you're wondering, I don't have that wonder of the Western world, the tilt-in window. Nope, mine are vintage 1968 aluminum frame single pane wonders that are starting to hit the end of their lifespan. A few of them are decidedly wobbly in their frames and getting hard to open. They weren't state of the art when they were installed and haven't improved with age. I got to thinking today, I've never had a house with decent windows. The first one had aluminum crank-out awning windows, which were old when we bought the house, and the cranks promptly started to break after we moved in. When we left, two didn't work at all. The next house was new construction but the guy cheaped-out when he bought windows. They were wood frame casement types that swelled and stuck. Now this place with its own peculiarities. I would replace them if it wouldn't cost a mint. I know - I got the estimate several years ago. Ouch! So it's up the ladder I go to clean the outside.

One of the most trying things about them is that if they are in an area with any moisture in the air, like the baths, kitchen or laundry, the frames mildew. Why? Who knows. I've never had this problem in any other house. But they do, and the best way to remove that is bathroom cleaner, the fume-ier the better. So after you wash the frame and the sills with Tilex you break out the Windex and the paper towels and shine up the glass. And wash the screen. And, oh yes, remove the flimsy metal grate that gives the windows the look of multiple panes (and, for the person doing it, multiple pains!), being sure not to bend or distort it - which is very easy to do, wash that also and snap it back onto the inside of the window.

After the windows, I cleaned the glass in the front and side doors and realized that the doors and door frames needed some attention so I washed those too. And then the garage doors looked dingy, so. . .right, they were next. Then the outside lights caught my attention so I polished up the metal and glass on those and vacuumed out the bugs. (Just an aside, but how do bugs get into a sealed outdoor light? The top attached with two screws and the glass panels fit into channels, but the bugs get inside anyway.) These are easier to clean than they appear because you can remove each of six trapezoid shaped pieces of glass to clean them.

In doing that, just as I finished polishing the last of the panes in the last outdoor light, I dropped the piece of glass and broke it. So I had to trace a pattern to take to the glass shop and get a replacement cut today. In fairness, this light is beside the sliding door to the patio, at the top of a set of rather steep concrete steps, and I was balancing on the top step trying to reach around to the back side of the light and replace the glass after cleaning it, so add in the fact that I was tired and getting sore in my shoulders and it's no wonder I dropped it. Probably a miracle I didn't break more of them.

All evening I walked around the house and admired the nice clean windows. It's a shame that they will be dusty and messy again before you know it. I suppose that's what drives me crazy about housekeeping. You work like a dog and everything looks. . .right. Not special, just like it should be. And by the next week it's as if you never did a thing.


paula, the quilter said...

Well you don't even have to wait a week around my house. I live on a dirt road -- my house is about 30 feet from it. The road is actually a one lane driveway to 5 houses behind us. With the lack of moisture around here (high fire danger) the dust just boils up after the cars. There is a teenage boy that lives back there and I think he just loves to drive away from home to the end of the road and then back. I can have all my windows closed, dust the house and go back to where I started & it doesn't look like I did anything. Argh!

Tanya said...

Just reading all that makes me tired! My mother's house never had easy to clean windows either... For some reason the screens don't pop out so you can't wash them nor the window! Mine in Japan do though and I love having freshly washed windows and screen. Having an easy to dismantle window means they get cleaned more!