Saturday, April 18, 2009 hard can that be?

something's done.
We did it!
We have a roof, we have siding.....and now we have the window in.
This is part of the story of buying an old abandoned victorian. When we first saw the house, there was one top pane of glass shattered. The realtor put it's cause down to wind and a branch. By the time we closed on the victorian...dubbed my mansion in Arkansas, there were obvious bb holes in the panes on glass. Everything on that side of the house had been available for target practice.
The top half of the window soon spread it's damage to the bottom half.
Now we had a 52 inch wide hole in the side of the went up eight feet. Yes, each pane of glass on the main floor is four feet tall.
You can not imagine the wind that can blow thru eight feet of hole in the wall!
I dreaded that window. The plastic kept blowing down...the shade kept ripping and blowing outside the window. The red duct tape holding the whole mess to the middle bars of the empty window casings just made the whole thing worse.
Months went contractor said they could fix it...but he was busy, and he didn't own an eight foot hole in the wall of his house. I did.
Looking at those huge skinny casings....I thought we would have to special order big glass and have men with suction cups stand on scaffolding outside to put the panes of glass in for us.
So naturally, on Thursday, I decided today-is-the-day. I brought my brand new 10 foot tall step-ladder down to the house. I carefully slid the heavy ladder into the open front door. Then I brought my green plastic lawn cart over to the door, and "gracefully" climbed into the doorway on my hands and knees.
I am almost strong enough to move the giant ladder into position. By the time I had climbed up enough steps to be dizzy...I still had more steps to get to the top of my giant hole in the wall.
I pried the moulding off, only breaking one side, and drove the empty bottom casing to a glass store.
I was shocked! The glass man wasn't at all worried about my glassless window. Sure...he could replace the glass. "Bring in the other piece."
Oh...that it was that easy. I finally pried the stop out of the side of the window frame. The casing was stuck at the top. Maybe it was held by old paint....I stood near the top of my ladder , waving over the eight foot hole and the ground another eight feet below....and hammered and pried the frame. It felt like swinging in a tree. Finally it budged open a little bit. Funny, it was moving only a little and kind of needed prying at both sides to open....I climbed up and down my ladder...turning it 180 degrees each time, so I could wind up near the edge of the gaping hole in the wall when I stood on the high steps. Finally, I stuck my hand into the crack in the window, between the sash and the top of the frame to pull. It shut on my fingers!
Seems both sides of the window weights were still attached, pulling the empty window casing tightly shut because there was no heavy glass in it.
As I told the glass man later...I "greased" the casing out of the window frame with "language".
The two men standing on tall ladders painting the top trim of the house didn't seem to hear me.
So, Friday, yesterday....I picked up the repaired glass casings....and showered in paint chips scraping old paint off the frame and the casings. Then I called my two painters in to help.
Good thing!
One, they are taller than I am. Two, they have strong arms to hold the heavy wide window now filled with glass. Three....they have the amazing ability to stand on, and climb step ladders backwards! Go figure!!!!
I can't do that!....but it made it a lot easier to reach the top and grab the weight cords, and pull, while holding a glass window.
We finally got the top pane back in, and one man held it high in the wind while the other fixed the weight cords and hammered in the stops to keep the sash from blowing out of the window frame.
I looked busy by passing the wood pieces up to the man on the ladder. In a few more minutes the lower window sash was also in place. And do you know what happened? It got hot. Immediately, the cool high powered winds that had blown doors shut for almost four month....They STOPPED!
It was like a room appeared suddenly out of the trees. It was a window!
I told the men how happy I was, and that I was so glad they were there to help....not that I wasn't paying them by the hour anyway....but I sure wouldn't have wanted to try and put that monster window in with my husband. Neither of us are tall enough or strong enough to do that job. We would have had a lot of "grease" between us tho.
Next time, I will tell you how houses pick out paint colors.
One window done, three broken ones to go....and then there are all the sash cords.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

why I'm not there.

It's spring, and for most livestock owners....that means babies. I tried to stop breeding, but I owed some lambs. So I am here in Missouri, not in Arkansas. I don't like to leave ewes alone if they are almost ready to lamb.
What I wanted to say, was that I called my contracter today. You have to be a squeaky wheel with contracters. I called to tell him the siding looked great. He said there was some missing. That was news....looked good to me.
But I also wanted to tell him that I fell out of the front door yesterday. Fortunately, I didn't break anything....I'm old enough that I could easily break something with a fall from that height.
The ladder was leaning against the cut off flooring from the old porch, causing some binding on the threshhold. When I pulled hard enough to get the door closed, the ladder tipped and sent me dropping to the ground. Don't ask how I got turned 180 degrees in the fall. But I quickly looked to see if any neighbors had seen me fall.....then limped to the car to recover. I figured the contracter would feel guilty enough to think about getting those porches back on before I wound up in a nursing home. He mentioned painter too. I suppose he was thinking about this old lady standing on a tall ladder instead of a short one. Oh my.....wonder what all that will cost.
I do like doing my own painting. It helps to know the good points and bad of the trim and eves. But this working on a house away from home is tough. There is so much to do...and so little time when I do get there. Right now I am lucky to be gone for a half day. And perhaps until there are more lambs on the ground....we need to keep one of us at much as I would love to have some help that I don't have to pay!
So for right now...the primer is in the can, and the cans are not here. So I may as well sweep the floor in this old house.
Peeps...older but not very wiser.