Saturday, November 05, 2005

I Can See Clearly with the Windows Washed

I can see clearly now the rain is gone.
I can see all obstacles in my way.
Gone are the dark clouds that can't go on [I think]:
'S gonna be a bright, bright, sunshiney day.

Today I finished washing my porch windows. There are ten of them, and frankly, if it had been up to me, I would never have enclosed the porch in the first place; but it was already enclosed when we bought the place, and the windows were heavy aluminum things that took me two days to wash, and I would always cut my fingers on them. So, shortly after we moved in, we had them replaced with vinyl windows that tilt in for cleaning, which is a very nice feature indeed.

Except that those suckers are heavy. I hadn't realized, when we signed the contract, just how heavy they are, and they haven't gotten any lighter as I've grown older. So it still takes me two days to wash all ten windows, but at least that's 2-3 hours of work in the morning, not the entire day, as it used to be with those dratted aluminum things.

Now...the other thing about this particular entry is that it has been (ahem) three years since I last washed those windows. To be fair, the porch faces west, which means that in the Summer, it's beastly hot out there, and I shut down for the Summer anyway; my Summer existence, best described as "aestating" (since how can you hibernate in the Summer?), consists of sitting in any available chair, drinking large quantities of water and moaning, "I wish it would cool off." Laundry is about all I'm capable of, in the Summer. (It's wet, and therefore cool.) So to wash windows on a west-facing porch at that time of year counts as Cruel and Unusual Punishment for me.

So the only times of the year those windows can possibly be washed are Spring and Autumn. And for the past three years, both Spring and Autumn have been unremittingly wet, the only odd sunny day falling, naturally, on a Sunday, which is not supposed to be spent washing windows. In theory, that's what the rest of the week is for, something I have reminded the Almighty of every Spring and Fall for the past three years.

This year, He rewarded my patience with the usual unconscionably wet Autumn; but this year, He has gifted us with an unusually warm November. I never look askance at gifts from the Almighty. So yesterday, I was out there with rags and Windex; a brush for cleaning off the screens and windowsills, and a bottle of all-purpose cleanser; a can of silicone spray because after three years, it was a given that those windows would stick (and they did); and a watering can, a small one with a long spout. First I brushed down the screens, and then I took them out; then I tilted in the window and washed it, sprayed the sides with the silicone, then washed the insides; then I raised the bottom window, sprayed the sills with the cleanser, and wiped them down; and lastly, I poured hot water from the watering can into the little pockets on the sides of the window that supposedly make it airtight, and that are THE most colossal pain to clean. That watering can was sheer genius, let me tell you.

While I was doing this, I had the curtains washing, and when they were done, I hung them back up -- still damp -- and let them air-dry on the porch. The smell is incredibly sweet, and the house gets humidified that way.

I did that ten times, once for each window, and I'm telling you, that was a full-body workout. The next time my doctor dares mention "heart attack" to me, I'm going to make her a proposition: "Listen, Toots, tell you what. You write this down and put in a Safe Place, and take it out when you're one year shy of sixty. And if you can climb up and down a step ladder fifty times, wash ten heavy windows, batten down the locks that seal them shut for the winter, and hang up wet curtains -- then you can bellyache to your patients about heart disease. But I don't wanna hear it."


Philippa said...

I am so glad to see that I am not the only one who doesn't wash windows twice a year like my boss' husband does and my grandmother used to. Though having tilt windows does make the job much easier. Unfortunately the house we are in now doesn't have tilt windows. It will be a long time till they are washed I'm sure. Sigh.

Good for you girl! Good for you!

Meg said...

I should clarify that I do *try* to wash my windows twice a year; in Germany, they wash their windows once a *week.* However, they aren't cursed with double-hung windows, as we are here. They have -- not sure how to describe them -- either "casement windows that swing inwards," or "French windows," which is what I think they actually are, except I always thought French windows went down to the floor, and in Germany they are actual windows. Anyway, they swing inwards, and they are heaven to clean, and I actually *did* wash my windows once a week when we lived there. So twice a year feels like slacking. ;-)

Philippa said...

That's a great idea with the window swinging in! Why doesn't anyone do that here? I'd clean my windows weekly too if they were hung that way.

Mimi said...

Some builders in our area are installing ones that your can pop out and then wash in your bathtub.

Alas, not our builders!

Catrin said...

Wash windows?

What a novel concept!