Saturday, September 4, 2010

Window world

I know. I've been busy.

Anyway, I promised a conclusion to the story of our latest home improvement project. It was really kind of anticlimactic, which is one reason I haven't been more motivated to write about it. I was sure that our adventure replacing the 40 year old windows was going to lead* to a hilarious post, including Monte Python-like shots of huge chunks of glass embedded in one of us, and arterial blood spurting all over the patio. Or at least some disgusting animal carcasses that we would find in the wall when we pulled out the old, rotten frames.

Alas, the whole thing went like clockwork. At least maybe if we're talking about an old wooden clock that has been left outside for a long time.

For those just joining us, our house was designed and built forty years ago by an engineering professor at the university where I work. She had very definite ideas about what she wanted. Most everything in the house is nonstandard, and much of it was built onsite. Our living room -- dining room combination** is paneled in native cypress, and features three large picture windows with cypress frames. Unfortunately, the water splashing on the patio had rotted the outsides of the frames, like so:

They didn't look quite this bad until we pulled off the paint and trim. 

Funny story. A few years ago, when we first noticed this problem because of gaps under the windows that lizards were crawling through, I temporarily filled the holes with Super Foam, the duck tape of the twenty-first century.  This was going to last the few weeks it took to make new frames. It was lovely, and Biscuit was thrilled with the look.

No, the tape is not left over from hurricane season.  We were 
at least attempting not to kill ourselves removing this glass.

Enter a couple of job changes, a hurricane, and the absolute impossibility of buying clear cypress lumber that is ten inches wide and two inches thick, and we lived with the foam longer than I care to admit. And since some of these boards cost more than the glass we put in the windows, I was being very careful.

Also, I removed the inside trim from the frames when this whole thing started, so that I could get exact dimensions and see exactly how the boxes were constructed. The trim laid on the floor of the dining room for the duration of the project, just to add to the overall trashy effect.

Cats love home improvement. 

But all good things must end, and eventually even I was able to finish the window frames. Biscuit applied the paint (outside), stain and polyurethane (inside), since she has just the right amount of OCD for wood finishing. All we had to do was wait for the hottest weekend of the summer, and we were ready to go.

The work itself went surprisingly smoothly, and there was only one brief episode of loud cursing and minor bleeding. Once we escalated to the 2 lb. hammer, and after a few minutes of planing, things slid more or less smoothly into place.***

For some reason, it never occurred to me to take pictures of the frames before installing them. 
Combination of wine and obliviousness, I think. 

We lived with plywood in the frames for a couple weeks, until we were able to get the glass people out.

You have no idea how happy I am to finally have this done.

Just in time for the annual hummingbird migration. So now all we have to do is paint the rest of the house. And I can get back to finishing the bathroom remodel I was working on when this whole window thing started. Seriously, it's been going on for a long time.

P.S. In other news, I spent a week at a super-nerd computer graphics conference in Los Angeles. I learned how to create a virtual water droplet that is up to 40% more watery than the current state of the art, as well as many, many other things equally as interesting. I considered writing about it, but couldn't think of a single person who reads this that would not want to poke their eyes out after one paragraph. It's already happening, isn't it?

* I found out while reviewing academic papers this past weekend that an increasing number of people have stopped using "led" as the past tense of "lead," and just treat it like "read." WTF, people!? Is us just give up on word forms and spelling completedly?

** I said it was the sixties, right?

*** That's what she said. ****

**** With the impending departure of Steve Carell from The Office, I'm afraid I'm going to have to retire twss, as well. The wife is devastated.


  1. "...until we were able to get the glass people out"

    cool. glass people. do they live in stone houses?

    PS: do they still use ray trace on computer graphics? also, how do they define "watery", and quantify the degree to which something fits the definition?

  2. Nice windows and frames, dude and duchess. Excy is not an ideal patient patient, and I need to begin medicating with lots of alcohol. This must pass. Soon.

  3. p.s. re my post -- you cannot be serious -- YOU know who the culprit is!!

  4. What? You haven't written about the REO speedwagon tour yet??

  5. daisyfae: they don't talk that much about rendering anymore, though ray tracing still seems to be the standard. And see, when a water drop hits a flat surface, it forms a little patty and some drops shoot out. Depending on all sorts of variables, the size of the disc and the properties of the droplets will vary. You can measure how closely the rendered drops match real drops. Drowsy yet?

    Amy:Sorry you're having to deal with all that. Write when you sober up.

    JV: It's taking longer than I expected, due to all the flashbacks and panic attacks.

  6. Nothin' a few shots of jack won't cure. Or at least that's what my rock and roller friends tell me. The ones that are left, anyway.

  7. i just found your blog; instant love, but: where R you? I need more, a little more often!

    Umm. ..