Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Home Renovating: A Post With Many Possible Titles

There were so many options to choose from. For intance, here are some that I considered:

How I Ended My Chances As A Hand Model

An Alternative to the Death Penalty

You're Soaking In It - But It Isn't Going To Help

Why Home Renovators Need Mental Health Days

Just Put Down The Putty Knife And No One Will Get Hurt

I think you all know what these various titles are addressing.

Yes, that's right.

Glazing windows.

The only thing I enjoy more than glazing windows is spackling.

Scratch that. Glazing windows is the tops.

Can you sense the sarcasm? Good.

So I have been trying to catch up on some hatch battening. The tops on the list is trying to get some more storm windows in their proper places. The unfortunate thing is, in order to do that, I have to repair them first. Well, I guess I don't have to but, you know.

I decided the first one to tackle would be the storm window that goes over the window on the west wall of the kitchen. Reason being is that whenever we cook something, the steam condenses on that window and, if cold enough which is will soon be, it becomes a sheet of ice by morning. That would be ice on the inside of the window. That's because our house is f.. f... very cold. Like, the other night when we were having our first bout of cold days, it was 49 degrees in the kitchen.

That room, by the way, is the warmest in the house.

I mentioned my storm window project the other morning to some family members and one told me - for the umpteenth time - about "Oh, I know exactly what you mean. When we first bought our house there was one window that would get snow on the inside of the sill if it was snowing outside. That first year was terrible."


My first instinct was to grab her by her ears and scream in her face "YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I MEAN! THIS IS TEN YEEEEEAAAAARRRRRSSSSSSS OF NOOOOOOO HEEEEAAAAT!" But since it was my mother-in-law I just smiled and said "Yes, I'm sure it must have been bad."

So, anyway, I had taken this storm window down during the summer when it would make sense to do these sorts of projects and set it aside until now. I do those sorts of things because I'm real smart.

I got as far as removing the old panes of glass, scraping off the loose glazing and scraping the paint on the frame. It was all ready to be put back together, glazed and painted.

I cleared a spot in the dining room because that's the best place to do these sorts of projects and, really let's be truthful here, the only reason it is called the dining room is because that's what it used to be when the previous owners had the house. We are starting to call it the War Room because it currently houses all of our assorted weapons of mass renovation. Although, if you try to report us to homeland security I can pretty much tell you they will find no evidence of use.

Anyway, I set the window frame on a makeshift table and cleaned one of the panes of glass. This particular storm window has just two panes of glass, both of which are rather large and terribly dangerous what with being all kinds of brittle and stuff. But I managed to successfully clean the frist pane and set it into the frame. I spent the next 6 hours or so trying to locate glazing points. This was a treasure hunt on the scale of someone hiding a penny in Central Park and saying "Ok! Now you find it!" I finally located them in a plastic tub filled with other assorted joining--things-together things.

I had to take the pane back out of the frame because, after reading the instructions on the glaze can, I realized I was supposed to put a "bead" of glaze on the frame to set the pane in. Unfortunately, I didn't read the part that stated "If you have to wear more than 4 layers of clothing to stay warm, it's too cold to glaze windows." That is something that would reveal itself to me later.

So to lay a bead of glazing, you are supposed to take a blob of glaze out of the can, roll it around in your hands to warm up (Oh! the irony), roll it into a worm, and then lay it in the slot where the window goes.

Sounds easy enough, right?


Well, see there's that first part about getting the glaze warm enough to work with. And then there's that part where my house is already really cold inside. And so are my hands. And so is the glaze. And the window frame. And my heart. And my soul. Cold and dark. And despairing. Seething with hatred of people whose houses are warm enough that they can parade around in nothing but thermal underwear, sweats and a wool coat in winter. Despi... oh. Uh... Sorry about that. I got off track.

So there I was, rolling and rolling the glaze into leprotic worms that would wither and fall apart, not sticking to itself, the frame, nothing. Except my skin. Aparently the faint bit of heat left in my hypothermic body was just enough to warm the glaze enough to bond to my skin. So I had to stop once in a while to scrape my hands with a putty knife and work those bits of glaze back into the worms. Which would promptly fall apart. GAH!

Then I had the not so very bright idea of putting a drop - just a drop! - of miniral spirits into the glaze to see if that would help soften it up a bit. Which it did. Like...too much. So now the glaze was really sticking to my hands and not itself or the window frame. Finally, after many many swear words, I completed the bead of glaze.

I washed my hands and set the pane of glass in place. Tap, tap, carefully tapped the points into place. Whew! One almost done. Now all I had to do was glaze the outside part of the window. I decided to forego that part of the project and get the other pane cleaned and set in its worm-bead. I took the glass to the utility sink, washed and scraped the old glaze off, broght it back into the War Room and set it SNAP!

Crappity crap.

I broke it. I broke the corner right off. Like a big piece of the corner.

Now I have a big, glass trapezoid. And a half finished storm window. And a cold, black soul soon to be joined by cold, black fingers and toes.

So, um...if anyone is looking for Christmas gift ideas? I need a sheet of glass...

1 comment:

homer said...


Glazed window-pane.