It's not about the house.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Day Seven, Project Four: Finally Finished (After A Fashion)

What was that word I used? The one about how nothing could go wrong because I thought I knew what I was doing…?

I got the first window completely taken apart before I realized that the sashes in it weren’t even broken. Okay, that’s fine. Less work for me. At least I got the paint off all the screws and buttons (that’s what Johnny tells me the things I’ve been calling “screw-casings” are really called). Putting it back together I managed to slip with the screwdriver and gouge a four-inch arroyo into the window frame -- which I may or may not have mentioned that I spent two years stripping and refinishing. But that’s okay. It’s in a place no one will really see it, in a corner and hidden by the curtain. And someday, when I get around to it, maybe I’ll sand it down.

Yeah right, that’ll happen…

On to the next window, I actually checked first to make sure it was really necessary before I took this one apart. It had been staying open on its own so I thought maybe it, too, would turn out to be fine -- but sure enough, the right-hand sash was busticated. So here we go...

Got the facing piece off of the right-hand side and the pulley screws removed, leaving the window dangling by its intact sash cord and balancing on the back of the couch (not a bright idea, in retrospect, but it turned out okay so there’s no need for scolding). Except now the little wooden piece that hides the weight-hole wouldn’t budge. It looked to me like it had never been cut out completely. Johnny said (and I know, duh) that that’s impossible -- how would they get the weight in there in the first place if they never cut the piece out? But here’s a picture; you decide:

See? The two vertical cuts don’t quite go all the way up to the horizontal one. I think I can see the continuous grain of what I say is still-attached wood. Johnny says the corners have been filled in with glue. But it doesn’t matter what it is. Either way it makes no sense. He got me a scraping knife and I wedged it in there and managed to scrape whatever it is out (this picture makes it look bigger than it is, it was really only about 1/4 of an inch. It could still be wood -- just because I scraped it out with a putty knife doesn’t mean it can’t) but the piece still wouldn’t budge. I asked Johnny to do it and he tried, but no. Apparently there’s some sort of nasty gremlin living in the weight-hole that doesn’t want to see the light of day, because he’s holding on for dear life from the other side.

Fine. It always opened and closed just dandy, anyway, I was only changing the sash because I said I would. So I went ahead and put the window back together. At least I got the paint scraped off of all the screws and casings, I mean buttons. And now it’s all back together and it looks just grand. Damn! It won’t stay open now. But hey, at least it looks grand.

Since I am actually now two steps behind where I was when I began, I decide to go ahead and scrape the paint off the screws and buttons in the three remaining windows. The ones I never intended to take apart. The two little decorative ones on either side of the fireplace go uneventfully, but when I get to the one by the front door I notice that the right-hand sash on this one is, in fact, defunct.

Redemption! I never meant to do this window, but I can do it now and -- combined with all the button-chipping -- it will make up for the one that didn’t need it and the one I couldn’t do.

This one has a couple nails in places that I’ve not seen nails before, but they’re tiny and I prize them out with my screwdriver. Facing off, pulley out, window dangling by a sash cord and balancing on a rocking chair this time (I tell you, that learning curve is squiggly little thing)… and this g-d wooden piece won’t come out either. Well, for Christ’s sake. I’ve never heard of such a thing, and now it’s happened two times in a row? Is it me?

Seriously, is it? Me?

No, the first window that I did worked fine. It’s got to be the stoopid house.

The giving-up-and-putting-back-together stage went faster this time because there was no second set of hands to try to make it work, and no bickering to be done about the cause. Johnny had gone off with Andy to a meat raffle, which is something Johnny’d never done before so he didn’t realize a meat raffle is really just an excuse to drink a lot of beer on Sunday. He was pleasantly surprised (and he even came home later with a big old carboard carton of assorted meats).

All told, I spent longer doing this “work” yesterday than I have spent any other day so far on this Puritan Manifesto project, and I got fuck-all accomplished. No, wait. Scratch that: I managed to make one window that used to work perfectly not work anymore, and I managed to mar the finish of the woodwork that I (last time, I swear) spent two years refinishing. The kicker is, it just now occurred to me that I could have easily been stripping that door right where it’s still standing, in the hall. There’s no reason it has to be done out in the yard. I spent two years doing the rest of it inside after all (oh, so I lied. Big whoop. You spend two years stripping woodwork and see if you don't want to mention it once in a while.).

Ain’t gonna be any stripping in the hall today, though. Today, I just got home from a rainy day at work and Johnny has the fire going and dinner started. Today is Johnny’s last night home before heading off to Bourne for a job that isn’t worth driving down through Cape Cod traffic every day and back again, so he and Larry have decided to stay down there till it’s over (there’s no-one in the house they’re painting; they have permission to crash there). I have no idea how long he’ll be gone, and since I just got back from vacation myself, this isn’t one of those “Woo-hoo, my husband’s leaving” times. More like: “Boo-hoo, who’ll congratulate me on all I plan on getting done this month?” Plus, you know, I’ll probably miss him. (The raccoons’ve been making some scary-ass noises in the trees of late, and Johnny says it’s because there are coyotes...)

So today all I did was clean up the paint-chip window-carnage that I left lying around over the weekend (so at least it can’t be said that I did nothing), and now I’m going to put my new pyjamas on, take my wet socks off, put my toes up to the fire and wait for my suddenly-attentive husband to bring me whatever it is he’s cooking up out there.

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll have one teeny-tiny glass of wine. For purely medicinal purposes, of course. My feet did get awfully wet out there…

Day Seven: Accomplished (sort of -- I cleaned up the paint chips; that counts. Sort of.)
Total Time Spent: Ten minutes (if you count setting up and putting away the vacuum cleaner and changing the bag)
Total Cost: Nothing (we had the wine already)
Writing (and posting) your blog entry before you actually do the work you’re supposed to have been writing about: Presumptuous, that’s the word I used. Presumptuous

1 comment:

John said...

O, the joys of working with window weights. I hate those little buggers, but I've gotten really good at replacing them.

Based on your pictures, it doesn't look like they cut out the access panels all the way. Or, may be they did and did a piss poor job of it. So, how did they get the weights tied off in the first place? They probably installed the weights before they installed all of the window trim. If you pulled the trim off (this a hypothetical, I don't advocate actually doing this) you'd have full access to the "pockets" in which the weights hang.

The Devil Queen has piss-poor or non-existant access panels (I have a couple of posts devoted to this subject somewhere), so we had to carefully pry all the trim off to re-hang the weights, good times.