Al Campbell, Field Editor

August 30th, 2004

I'm Worn Out
Al Campbell

I am worn out. I don't mean just a little tired; I am just plain worn out. It started in June when my wife decided we needed to replace the picture window in the living room. OK, I know it had some bad wood in its frame, and the window leaked pretty badly in the winter, but I was sure we could get one or two more years out of it if we tried. My wife was sure she wanted a new window this summer though, so we fought over it for a while.

I told her we should wait so I could pay for the car repairs we had in April. She argued that it would be really uncomfortable to change that window in the snow and cold of winter if it breaks then. I argued that I really need more fishing time in the summer. She argued that with the drought going on, it is the perfect summer for changing a window since there are fewer places to fish.

I tried to ignore her pleas and discuss other things. That only made her more intent on asking me to do it. I took her to Deadwood to play nickel slot machines hoping it would take her mind off the window. She decided to play with the thought of winning enough for a window. She didn't win, but she was still asking for a window. And, her asking was getting bad. She was starting to ask for some more exotic window stuff than I was willing to buy, or put in.

We went to every window store and hardware store in town looking at what they had or could get. Actually, I was looking for an escape while she looked at windows, but I wasn't willing to tell her that. We priced and looked and browsed catalogs from June through mid July, with me wishing for a day to go fishing, and her wishing I could make up my mind which window I was willing to install.

Finally, in the mid-week of July, a local hardware store called Menards had its picture windows on sale for 10% off regular price. So, we went and looked at all the magazines and the windows on display, and I finally decided to let her buy one. We went home, measured the window, and went back and ordered it. It was beautiful to her and a terror to me.

About three weeks ago, this big old Menards delivery truck showed up with our glass in the back end. Holy Smokes! That was one chunk of glass and hardware. Did I mention that it is the kind of window that sticks out in the yard a foot or so? Did I mention that it takes about a day to prepare the house for the new window to go in? Did I mention that the whole window weighs about 480 pounds dry as a dessert? Did I mention that it took all three of us to move (drag) that window from the back of that delivery truck into the garage?

Well, today was the day to install the window. I took a lot of stuff off the walls last night, and removed a lot of trim on the outside. My wife's retired uncle showed up about 10am to help me remove the old window and prepare for installing the new one. We bought plywood and framing wood to make the platform the window would sit on. We measured it and measured it again to make sure the window opening was the right size. We built up the frame and made sure it was level, then waited for the rest of the crew to show up at 5pm.

At 4:30pm one brother-in-law showed up with an old friend. At 5pm the other brother-in-law showed up with my stepson. That meant that there were six adult males to put the window in its place about 8 feet off the ground. Have you ever tried to lift something that weighs 480 pounds that high? Even with two levels of scaffolding, it was a chore. We had the window in and secure by 6:30pm, and were eating pizza (small price to pay for help) by 7pm.

It is done, but I am worn out. I haven't slept right for over a month, worried that it would turn into a regular disaster. Surprising as it might seem, everything slipped into place, was level and the right dimensions, and wasn't all that hard with the right help. The new window actually looks rather sharp. I will spend tomorrow putting siding on the house and doing trim, but the hard work is over. In fact, I might even get to go fishing if the weather allows.

Does anyone want an old window? ~ AC

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