file 11. My Windows

  • NF
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09 May 2024 18:40 #1
My house is over 100 years old, and most of the windows are either the original windows or were redone in the 1950s — I don't know which. But it doesn't really matter, because either way, they are too old to function properly, and even can be slightly dangerous at times.

The windows in my bedroom have three separate panes that can be moved up or down — or at least, this was the intended behavior when the windows were new. There's a glass pane in the back, facing outside, then a screen pane in the middle, and another glass pane facing inside to use during the winter. All of these are thin and surrounded by metal frames, and outside the main part of the window, which is a glass pane framed in wood.

As long as I've known, it's always been hard to open and close the outer parts. They are so old, and have such a small grip to hold on to, and I have to stand at such an awkward angle to open them, that I dread having to do it twice a year. In recent years, I've actually put my back out just from the effort required to open or close my windows. So during the 2022–2023 winter, I didn't actually close the outer part at all, but instead just closed the main inner windows and left just the screens on the outside. It didn't seem to affect my bedroom temperature that much, perhaps making it about 2°F colder than it otherwise would have been, which I felt was entirely worth it to avoid the pain of dealing with the windows. A 54°F bedroom at its coldest is not that much worse than a 56°F bedroom, I guess.

But for this past winter, 2023–2024, my dad closed the glass part of the outer windows one day while I was work, so I had to face the inevitable, opening them again for the spring. Considering that the outside temperature didn't even get below −5°F all winter, it was the least necessary that closing my windows has ever been.

But anyway, after not being able to open the glass part more than halfway on one window earlier this spring, I finally opened them fully back up today. And wow, what a pain it was! A few years ago, I discovered a trick that made it easier: the screen part is significantly easier to open than the glass part between it and the main window, so if I opened both the glass part and screen part at the same time, in addition to having a much better grip by being able to put my hands outside, I could also use the momentum of the screen part opening to help get the glass part open. It was this approach that I used today, with some success.

The biggest problem was evident once I got both parts fully open and the window was now open to the outside. Since the screen part was in between two glass parts, and all three of these parts were up to their highest point (the outer glass part beyond the screen was always this high up), I couldn't get the screen back down because there was no way to grip it while it was stuck between two extremely stubborn glass panes.

Defeated, I sank down on my bed and uttered a groan of frustration. My brother, no doubt curious why I was upset, came into the room and tried his hand at the windows. Somehow — I don't know how, and neither does he — he was able to get the screen down without too much trouble. But in the process, he broke even more of the glass in the inside glass pane. I guess I should have mentioned that there were large cracks in the inner glass pane, which were taped over with packing tape, from the stress of all the times I had had to force it open. When my brother got the screen down, a large chunk of glass fell down onto the windowsill with it.

Not wanting to go through this again, I'll make sure not to close my windows in November. New windows would be nice, but the windows in my bedroom aren't special — many sets of windows in my house are just as malfunctioning, and desperately need replacing. I think we tried to get some money to get my windows replaced in 2022, but nothing ever came of it, so for now I'm stuck with these slowly deteriorating windows which I don't want to touch ever again. My mom says she loves living in an old house, but I sure don't — everything is creaky and the house isn't sealed properly and there's asbestos in the basement and mice in the walls and there's inadequate heating and most of the inside doors don't lock and on and on. Some people may call it "charming", but I just think it's annoying, and when I eventually move out (in however many years that will take), I'll be sure to find a place that was built much more recently.

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