Posted tagged ‘storm windows’

“Autumn bowed to place a beautiful crown on the Queen of Morning, and her velvet robes sway merrily in the chilly breeze.”

November 4, 2017

The morning was chilly. I took Gracie out into the backyard and sat and waited for her. I smelled a wood fire and all of a sudden my memory jumped back to Ghana and mornings during the harmattan. Those mornings were cold, as cold as I ever felt in Bolga where daytime temperatures often reached over 100˚. The morning air was filled with the aroma of wood fires burning in the compounds behind my house. I could hear muted voices and the sound of water from the tap filling my students’ buckets for their morning baths. Roosters still crowed. Those mornings were a delight.

Gracie has muscular degeneration. Signals aren’t getting to her back legs. The vet said it will get worse, but she is hoping we can slow the progress. Gracie is now getting a pain pill every day. In two weeks the vet will assess the value of her continuing to take them. After that two week mark, Gracie is going to start acupuncture. She’ll have two sessions and then an evaluation to see if it has helped.

I could barely walk this morning and my back pain was horrific. Yesterday I had to lift Gracie three times: twice to the car and once to the backseat of the car after she had lost her footing and couldn’t get back on the seat; consequently, I have ordered a back dog lift. I wish I had it yesterday.

Every time I look out at the deck, I feel a bit of sadness. All the furniture is covered. The flowers have been moved off the rails. The candles hanging off the branches are gone. Only the bird feeders remain.

When I was a kid, the preparations for winter were my father’s jobs. He took down the screens and replaced them with the storm windows. He removed the screens from the two doors and put in the storm doors. He went to the gas station and had the snow tires put on his car. Every weekend he’d rake the lawn, move the pile of leaves to the gutter by the sidewalk and then burn them. The smell of burning leaves is one of my all time favorites, and it carries memories of my dad. I can see him standing there by the flaming leaves while smoke billowed into the air. He held on to his rake and used it periodically to move more leaves into the fire. I stayed until the leaves were gone.

“One might well say that mankind is divisible into two great classes: hosts and guests.”

October 10, 2017

Today is another beautiful, warm day with a bright sun and a blue sky with just a few fluffy clouds. It is already in the 70’s. Tonight, though, will go down to the 50’s and will usher in daytime highs in the 60’s, far more fall-like weather than we’ve had. The doors and windows are open, but with cooler days coming, I guess I’ll have to start thinking about putting in the storm doors, the beginning of the cold weather rituals.

When I was a kid, my father would spend one whole Saturday putting in the storm windows. They were kept in the cellar during the summer. He’d have to take down the screens first, haul the storm windows outside, wash them and then attach them to the house window frames. There were hooks on top of the frames to hold the storm windows. My father would tilt the storm window at the top until it could be hooked. Sometimes it took a few, okay maybe several, tries before he’d get the upstairs windows attached. He was never happy about that. One thing my father lacked was patience. We’d watch the window exchange the whole time. My father used to lean out of the upstairs windows and attach them from there. He used a step ladder for the lower windows. Those Saturdays were the times when my vocabulary of four letter words was expanded the most. It was always a most entertaining day.

My guests are due between one and two. I’m just about ready. All I need is the wash to finish drying. I think I need guests every week as this is the fastest I’ve even gotten the was done. Usually it sits by the cellar door until I run out of underwear. This load never even sat by the door, a miracle of sorts.

My usually quiet day has been interrupted by the sounds of motors. The first sound may have been someone shutting down an irrigation system and the next was like the sound trimmers make. I saw the kids waiting for the bus this morning. They were riding scooters until it was time. I’m not usually up and about that early, but I had a meeting this morning.

I haven’t planned anything for today. I figure we can sit and enjoy each other’s company for a while. Later, we’ll take a ride, maybe stop at the beach and a shop or two. I get to play tourist.

“When angry count four; when very angry, swear.”

June 4, 2010

Gracie wanted out about 6:30, and I obliged. It was gray and overcast. I went back to bed. When I woke up at 8, the sky had miraculously turned blue and the sun was shining. It’s such a lovely day I took my outside shower then sat on the deck for a while. I have designated today put the screen in the back door day, the surest sign of summer.

When I was a kid, the storm windows went up every winter and came down in the spring. My father would climb a ladder and curse a lot as he tried to hold on to the ladder and unhook the storms from the windows at the same time. One of us was on bottom of the ladder duty, and he’d hand the storm window to the duty officer waiting below who would then hand him the screen. The screens slid in and that too was often cause for cursing. They had to be placed exactly in the right spot or they wouldn’t slide. The storms and the screens had wooden frames. The storms were painted white and the screens green. The front and back doors too had painted green wooden screens. I remember how much they slammed shut all summer despite my mother telling us not to let the door slam. We always heard her too late. We were usually already running down the back stairs. She wanted to know how times she had to tell us before we’d remember. We had no idea.

When I bought my house, it came with storm windows and doors. The storm windows slid down in the winter and up in the summer. The screens took the opposite journey. It was easy, no ladder or cursing for me. I just opened the inside window, pushed in the locks on each side of the bottom of the storm and slid the storm window up to its summer position. The screens had no locks and slid down easily. Over time, though, the metal locks seemed to harden, and it got harder and harder to push in and hold them. My fingers usually stung, and I’d finally get to curse. The windows, especially the den window facing north, were drafty despite the storms. It was time for a change.

The windows I have now never need sliding, and the screen is permanently down. In the winter all I do is shut the windows and make sure they’re locked. No more cursing, at least not at the windows!