It is that time of year when those who live in a ‘wintery’ area are bored and anxious for spring. In other words, we are changing the whole house. New paint, rearranging the furniture, staring listlessly out the window, or ignoring TicTok videos to search for a new home in places like Hawaii or Texas.
This is the point of winter where dishes may or may not be done promptly, taking out the trash on trash day seems like a significant chore, and we spend a lot of time at Lowes looking at paint swabs to get some color in our lives.
On Friday, amid a snowstorm, I was on a mission to change! My mother had a beautiful darkish gray wall paint, and I loved it. My father had sent me a picture of the paint can, and I was excited to breathe new life into my entranceway and living room. After purchasing all the needed materials from Robert, a lovely young man who sang with the radio while creating my colors at Lowes, I was ready to ignore work for the rest of the day and recenter myself.
It was the wrong color! Not the dark and sexy gray with blues and a slight purple tint- no, it is the color of the Disney movie- Frozen. I had spent $100, and it was not what I imagined. I was looking at an ice castle. I live in an ice castle- it is right outside my door. I have been fighting ice for the last two months, ever since the ice storm of Dec 2021.
I hate ice so much right now that I won’t even ask for ice in my drinks at restaurants. The local kids are still ice skating to school because it is quicker than gliding a school bus through the neighborhoods. I have a hole in my siding because a baby moose was trying to leave the backyard, slipped on the ice, and used my home as a brace. Try explaining that to your insurance company! There are random, hidden ice hills in my driveway that love to play peak-a-boo when trying to get to my truck.
I hate ice!
But, I had spent the money! I was not going back out; this was the color, and I would live with it!
The living room and entranceway turned out beautiful! Very open and inviting. Score one, dad.
However, this led me down a road that no spouse wants to hear, ‘We need to fix up this house!’
In my defense- I did not ask for a total kitchen gut or a brand new bathroom that was once a utility closet. No, I asked for practical updates.
First, replace the carpet that has been eaten, dug into, used as a puppy potty pad, and has seen the dirt from a thousand shoes over 15 years.
Second, update the windows have to be tripled saran wrapped every winter to keep in at least 30 percent of the heat from our 30-year-old baseboard heaters. The windows have to be beaten with a mallet to close in the winter and pulled open with a towing strap in the summer. They have no hardware on them anymore- so once they are opened or closed, that is it! That is life until the next 1 of 2 seasons come back to my town. Good Luck.
So I called and made appointments for professionals to come into my safe space to measure, analyze, and judge me on the condition of my house that I think still costs way too much.
The carpet lady was lovely! She overlooked the stains, rips, frays, and unique smell of two dogs and a teenager. We talked about padding, stain blockers, and the best air freshener on the market. She spoke about ‘what great bones’ my house had! Translation- my home was a fixer-upper.
She sold me on the carpet the minute she said her team would clean up after themselves, haul away the trash, be done with the project in one day, and leave me with a clean product! My teenager made cupcakes two days ago, and I am still finding droplets of batter on the floor and the ceiling. I don’t know when the last time my husband took out the trash without me nagging, begging, and putting it in the back of his truck while he was sleeping. SOLD! When can you come over? I will have coffee ready!
This gave me a false sense of security. The price was reasonable, the timeline perfect, the product was excellent quality. I could do this! I could be a real adult and update my house to comply with OSHA living standards!
I called the window guys next! My windows are currently made of 500-year-old rotten wood, held together by years of primer, paint, and used gum. The company could have someone over the next day!
10:00 am- I made sure that I was ready! I started work at 4:00 am to ensure no distractions and all my ‘to-do’s’ were done. I freshly brewed coffee, swept the floors, and even lit two candles so that there was a sense of peaceful acceptance. Bring on the window, man!
Five hours later, I was a nervous bundle of panic. We went through all the windows, discussed why they needed to be changed, and my vision for a warm and stylish home.
With the discounts, it came to $78,803.00.
It seems that there are Federal codes for the use of windows by stairs (to include outside stairs), within 18 inches of a walkway, within 13 inches of a drop-off, within 2 inches of a wall…. codes for everything! All those need to be a special glass so that you can’t fall through them as quickly! You might as well put in airplane windows; it might be easier and more costly than double-pane, tempered glass that can withstand interior Alaska winters!
Out of my 18 windows- 17 needed to be replaced with the damn tempered glass. And to make it better! The sweetener to this whole shit storm- the person who built my house in 1976, had gone to the local window store and just bought whatever windows that had been disregarded and built the house around their sizes. The seven kitchen windows seem to be the same size, width, and length. Nope! They are all DIFFERENT by a 1/16 inch. The upstairs windows? They are not even genuine windows! They are heavy-duty plexiglass!
I can’t even sell this house if I want to! And believe me- right now, I want to!
The nice window guy didn’t even want to tell me the price. Instead, he started feeding me stories of multi-million dollar homes and their price tag for new windows! Luck here, buddy; I am not living in a multi-million dollar home! I don’t even live in a half-million-dollar home- my family is as hard-working middle-class as they come! Your price tag is more than my two cars, with the insurance!
As with all good companies- they had financing available! For the low, low monthly price of $864.00 a month, over the next 10 YEARS, I could own these unique windows two years before I paid the house off!
Then came the confusion of home equity loans, personal loans, getting a second job, cashing in my retirement, maxing out all my credit cards (just for the down payment), and selling my kidneys now instead of donating them when I die. Then I might be able to afford new windows and keep my home warm.
I was in such a sense of shock and panic that I couldn’t tell you what we talked about the last hour he was in my home. I might have sold my soul to the devil. I am not sure. It is on the table as a possibility right now.
I woke up this morning, walked around my home, and stopped at every window to decide my next step. As a result, I have had three pots of coffee, three smoke breaks, and a minor mental breakdown in the kitchen.
But! I have come to a decision!
I have enough gum in my purse to fix at least three windows!