I am here at the computer watching tarpaulins and aluminum trim fly past from the upper storey. Well, I asked for it.
It is not that I suddenly got rich — first a car, now new windows upstairs — kind of the reverse, actually. It’s just that nothing is getting any cheaper, including credit. I jumped before I had to worry about getting pushed.
This house is 60 years old. A few summers ago I put the exhaust fan in the window, you know the things, double fan that can blow one in one out, and a few weeks later I moved the fan and marveled that it had blown the screen entirely away. Have you priced screens? I mulled the issue while cannibalizing one screen per exhaust-fan season from the other upstairs windows. There was something morbidly riveting about watching them slowly blow away. And then, of course, it became apparent how badly the windows needed scraping, painting, and glazing. Abstract swirls of black rot were beginning to thread through the grain of the wood.
I paid a bunch of guys to do this ten years ago. It ran to four figures. I applied to David, my dimwit gardener, who does in fact perform meticulous jobs of painting and carpentry, if you have the patience to listen to him. “Ah, sure,” he said. “Show me which windows? …I can do that for you. I’d have to get Missis Jasper’s long ladder, she lets me use it, you know she lives down the hill a ways? I worked for her a lot? Her husband died but she kept all his tools and she lets me use the ladder. I need a long one to do the top floor. Mine doesn’t go up high enough. I think I’d have to nail a two by four through the roof there, see, so I don’t slip cause I’d have to get up on the roof to do the dormers in the front. Now if you can get me the paint and primer… you gotta get primer cause…”
I ran screaming indoors and called Home Depot. They offered me eighteen months at no interest on home improvement projects.
They arrived this morning with six lifetime-warranted, no-paint, no-rot, tilt-out vinyl windows, screens included, only to discover that two had been sized wrong at the factory. I am not sure whether the error was in-shop or had something to do with the guy who did the measuring; he had just come back from a week at Daytona. The foreman seemed hell-bent on persuading me to reschedule the whole project until they had the two rear windows; having been up until one in the morning putting away breakables, moving furniture (I am talking about beds and bureaus here), concealing valuables and policing up questionable artifacts from the bedside, all I could think of was Clint Eastwood in In The Line Of Fire. The scene where he is making abrupt, passionate, panting love to the hot young Secret Service chick detailed with him, peeling away holsters, radios and handcuffs, hardware of all kinds clanking to the floor not like gowns or lingerie, and suddenly she gets a call from the situation room and Clint is left saying: “Now I have to put all that Shit back on.”
And we are not even getting into the question of crapping up another whole day off and the probability of missing two workouts in one month. That was what put me over the edge. I did something I still do not believe. I managed to cry.
So they are up there putting in the four windows. The two remaining will be a short job, maybe a half day, and no furniture to move.
I can’t decide whether I should be mortified or feel like I won that round. But I might even get to go in and do back and arms, fast as they’re going.