Sunday, October 17th, 2010

image of storm window

Today’s Manly Project was an attempt to focus with laser-like intensity on storm windows. It was not a job anywhere near as fun as it might have been were I to have somehow employed actual lasers, a tool which I must sadly admit I have not yet included in my work shop. Some Manly Projects, however, make no use of power tools at all and yet remain very manly. It seems contradictory, but it’s true, I promise.

Our Humble O’Bode is an old house, so we still have a few storm windows. Three, to be exact. Two of them flank the picture window, and one takes the place of the screen door in the front entrance. They disappear into a slot beside the water heater in the basement during the summer and somehow, when I pull them out in the fall, I forget they’re entangled in a cocoon of spider webs until I’m tangled up in them myself and back away from them spitting and windmilling at the air around me.

The storm window that fits into the door scares the hell out of me. Consisting of a piece of plate glass six feet tall and two feet wide, I’m absolutely certain it would cut me to ribbons if I were to drop it while hauling it up the stairs from the basement. I climb the stairs so very slowly and deliberately when I’m carrying it that I might appear to the untrained eye to have suffered paralytic stroke, but I’m okay, really. Don’t worry about me.

It takes just a few minutes to pop the screen out and, because a long, thin strip of plastic flash is all that holds it in place, it should take no more than a few more minutes to pop the storm window in. The plastic strip locks in place by friction; it’s got a foot that slides into a groove at just enough of an angle that it doesn’t easily come out. And although I appreciate the simplicity of the design, getting it to slide in is frankly a bigger pain in the ass than trying to get the mismatched teeth of a zipper to open. It’s a good thing I have to do this only twice a year.

Swapping out the other two screens for storm windows is a piece of cake. They hang from the old-fashioned storm window hinges and lock into place on a short metal arm at the bottom of the window, so it should have been no big deal at all. I spent about an hour, though, trying to seal up the one closest to the door because it leaks like a sieve. Sometimes when I sit next to it and there’s a stiff wind it almost feels as if the window’s open. This season I decided it was time to fill in the cracks around the edges with weatherstripping, the kind that comes in a big roll and has adhesive backing. You’d think that would be quick and easy, wouldn’t you? Not.

I got two rolls of the stuff, one that was wide and thick and looked like it could stop a Canadian cold front, and the other a little thinner, just in case the thick one was too thick. Turned out they were both too thick. I patched things up as best as I could, but if I want to keep the Merry Little Breezes out this winter I’ll have to stop by the hardware store again and try something else. Another day, though.

Storming the storm windows | 4:02 pm CDT
Category: Our Humble O'Bode | Tags:
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