Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A room with a view

Since Chris and I have been married, we have been drawn to older homes. We started in an apartment that was built in the forties. Our first house was built in 1895, and now this home was built in 1927. After our Victorian behemoth, we feel like we are living in a brand new place at times. It has air conditioning, fairly flat floors and an updated kitchen.

There is one thing, though, that our two oldest homes have in common – bad windows. This house has newer glass at least. The last one had that really old glass in the windows that was kind of wobbly and Fun House-ish when you looked at it just right. The Victorian also had ropes and weights that controlled the windows. Many of those were broken. This house just has different issues. For the first year, we couldn’t open the windows. I was home with the kids and met a lot of the neighbors right away. I complained about my windows to my next door neighbor and he kindly came over with his hammer, chisel and anything else he could think of, to help me unstick my kitchen window. No luck. We worked on it for one hour. ONE HOUR. Over the sink, of course. Did I mention he’s Japanese and very short? It was hard. So I just gave up and we started opening the doors. Front and back for that cross breeze. Every day about 2:00 PM I would succumb to the “dry” heat and close the doors. I’d fire up the A/C. I couldn’t wait for the sun to start to set, so that the heat would subside a bit, and then I’d open the doors again.

Last year (our second summer), we finally discovered that the windows were painted shut from the inside AND the outside. Seems fairly easy to discover, but we usually skip the easy route. Most of our windows open now, but we realized (after a second drafty cold winter in our living room) that our windows were taken out in lieu of decorative plantation-type shutters. The storm windows were left on. No screens in sight. So the front half of our house gets pretty warm in the summer and we have continued to keep the front door open often. No screen door – just wide open. We have two little Crate & Barrel patio cafĂ© chairs out there and it is the official “popsicle eating area”. I like to think of this as an extra room. We did lose about 3,000 square feet when we moved from Wisconsin. I will try any positive thinking I can grasp on to.

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