Friday, September 21, 2007

In Which I Do Windows

It came upon me that today was the day to wash windows.

I have not washed windows since the autumn D1 was a baby. We moved twice in there, though, so I've been able to take advantage of windows freshly washed by other people. The downside to not having moving boxes to pack and unpack is that I must now wash my own windows.

The sirens were not singing in my head--I don't care how often other people wash their windows--windows are not important in the Grand Scheme of Things. But when you cannot open the windows without immediately thereafter washing your hands, the time has come even in my book.

My enthusiasm for the task doubled when DOB introduced me to this modern innovation of tilt-in windows. Ignorant, yes, but I grew up in an old farmhouse with old windows, and when we wanted to wash windows on the upper stories (which was almost never), His Majesty had to hang halfway out of them over a twenty-foot drop. How he could stand it, I'll never know, except that he fell on his head when he was a baby and has repeated it regularly since. Equally exciting was when I tried to clean my own skylight in the attic, clinging to the side of a steeply-pitched roof, hoping the window frame wouldn't break off in pieces under my grasp.

I'm not sure how the windows at the former Duchy residence were designed to work, but how they actually worked was to fall out of their frames entirely at the least provocation. That was easier than ladders, but still very inconvenient.

The windows were not too dirty when we moved in, but they've served for more than a year as the Family Resort Destination for flies. I'm sure if I could shrink down small enough, I'd find some of those black smears were little brochures saying, "Visit the Scenic Duchy Windows this summer!" The summer crowd has backed off, though, and it was cool enough to have the windows open in the morning, so today was the day.

Since D1 wanted to help this time, I gave her her own personal spray bottle (which contains a non-toxic but potent-smelling blend of vinegar, lavender oil, and water) and tried to point her towards things that wouldn't suffer permanent water damage. Finally I directed her out to the front steps, which would have worked great except that D2 joined her--with a non kid-safe spray bottle because his hands aren't big enough to spray yet--and they both figured out how to get the lids off and poured the contents of D1's all over D2's shorts.

Even with tilt-in windows, it turns out cleaning windows is a pretty arduous undertaking, and the windows shouldn't be tilted too far, and when they are it can be kind of tricky to fix. There's only one I couldn't get to go back right, and since it will shut OK, it just won't stay open, I'll try not to be too concerned.

After a few windows I realized doing all the windows in the house was not going to happen today, so I conducted triage. The dining room windows are mostly obscured by sheer curtains, anyway, and the bathroom window is always hidden by the shower curtain. Those can wait. Indefinitely. Meanwhile, I can look out of some clear windows at the bright September sky.

Except there's a straggler fly on them. Be gone! We're closed for the season!


Steve said...

Truly an adequate battle.

PS: Congrats on the new award!

Carrie said...

Well, that is very ambitious I must say. One time I got the urge to clean all the mini blinds (which are always kept DOWN in order to hide the window which I refuse to clean). Yes, that only happened once. Then I took down all the mini blinds and swore never to touch such things again - ever - in my life time.

I'm about where you are as far as cleaning them goes. If I feel like I have to wash my hands afterwards THEN it's time to clean them. Never before, thanks.

Devona said...

AH cleaning the windows. We have the mini-blind system going on here as well. Keep them down to hide the embarrassing mess of old old old windows, some of which won't open all the way. All of my windows are halfway cleaned on one side of the glass as far as I can reach with my arm squeezed through a 6 inch crack.

The mini-blinds on the other hand were cleaned this summer by being placed on the deck on a sunny day and being sprayed until dripping with the hose.

Queen of Carrots said...

Mini blinds came on the windows at our old house. I tried to wash them once and wound up permanently scratching the bathtub.

There wasn't anything on the windows when we moved in here, so we put up shades instead. One of them never has hung properly, but at least they're easy to clean!