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Window, Window in the Wall

Most of the outer windowsills on this house are in bad shape. Some of them, when I really check them out, are mostly caulk, others are mostly rotted, although (happily) some are just weathered and in need of paint. There's also issues with screens that squirrels chewed holes in, storm windows that need repair, and so on. So I've been going from window to window, cutting replacement sills, and where needed, adding wood epoxy if the inner sill isn't so happy and plastic wood to fill in holes, so when I paint the sills I can be sure the storms aren't filling the walls behind the siding with unwanted moisture.

This isn't exactly the fastest process, which is frustrating.

Some of it is slow because each step takes time not just to do it, but to let things dry in between steps. Some of it is slow because the people who did the previous steps did odd and non-standard things (like making a sill that's 3/4 caulk instead of replacing the wood), and so as I uncover new and surprising things, I need to think about how best to fix them.

To be sure, if I had lots of money, the best thing would be to hire professionals to either replace all the windows or do a proper historical restoration, but that isn't an option. I'm spending the budget for hired help on things that I can't do, mostly things that require a head for heights or experience with esoteric things like plumbing.

So, part of every day lately has been carting my tools and supplies and the shopvac up and down stairs and from room to room because if I do one window at a time, I'll never finish even the limited repairs I'm committed to for this year before the snow flies. Even now, with summer determined to end early despite arriving late, I'll probably have to leave some of the windows for next year. (Wish me luck and warm weathe!)

It would sure be nice to have a robotic shopvac that could follow me around, carrying the stuff I need. It surely would. But then, I might as well wish I could wiggle my lips to magically restore my home to an ideal fully repaired, cleaned, and decluttered state. Or a TARDIS. And I definitely want the TARDIS.

Instead, I get to work with my hands, feet, and brain. And now, I'm off to take a bath and get the brown stuff out from under my fingernails.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 20th, 2014 07:21 am (UTC)
My favourite "What was the previous owner thinking" story came from a work mate who discovered that the slow combustion heater had been installed onto bare floorboards...
Sep. 20th, 2014 04:09 pm (UTC)
Although it wasn't a house,
my most extreme case of that was a repoed car I bought.
A broken tie rod was held together with duct tape and a plastic spoon.
Sep. 20th, 2014 08:18 pm (UTC)
My sister told me of an elevator repair made with popsicle sticks and duct tape.
Sep. 20th, 2014 08:16 pm (UTC)
Or "Why did they use the ground-color for one of the live wires?"

Or "Why did they hook the hot water heater up backward--and why did it work at all hooked up backward?"

Or, best yet, "Why did they ground the electric for this gas stove with a screw drilled into the gas line?" (Happily not at my house!)
Sep. 21st, 2014 09:02 pm (UTC)
Or "Why did they use the ground-color for one of the live wires?"

OMG THAT HAPPENED TO ME ONCE! It was a light fixture! Turns out that homemade "dimmer switch" was NOT, in fact, a dimmer switch.

Also, for some ungodly reason, the lightbulbs were kept in CARDBOARD sockets. I discovered this when replacing one and instead getting the whole rotten socket coming down on me. That's when I called the landlord, who got electrocuted and called the wiring job "Salvador Dali on acid."

Sep. 21st, 2014 09:43 pm (UTC)
Happily, the friend helping me tested the wires before touching them.
Sep. 21st, 2014 09:50 pm (UTC)
That's good; our hapless landlord, alas, was not so lucky. (Thankfully, he was not badly hurt, just deeply annoyed.)

Sep. 20th, 2014 04:20 pm (UTC)
They should have used something like Red Devil One-Time Spackle,
or expansion foam, or both.

So, you're doing each step at a series of windows?
That ~would~ make the most of your time.

Sep. 20th, 2014 08:13 pm (UTC)
Well, one spot had what looked like bathtub caulk under the brown exterior caulk.

I'm also moving furniture to get to the windows, cleaning behind and under the furniture, cutting dowels to hold the upper portion of the sash windows up (I'm not going to try to re-hang the old weights), vacuuming-and scraping-and vacuuming-and-painting the inner sills, messing with storm windows where needed, and other such stuff. I'll have to go back with the temporary winterizing stuff in places where the storms don't fit right and probably shrinkwrap a couple of the screens where one of the storm windows is missing too. Fun fun.
Sep. 22nd, 2014 11:26 am (UTC)
You are an amazing and wonderful woman. Well done, you.

And, yes, I know one has to do what one has to do and all that; but still...
Sep. 23rd, 2014 02:12 am (UTC)
Yes, still.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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