Rendered Fat Content


Henri Matisse: Open Window, Collioure (1905)
"Master of my windows, maybe, finally, more master of myself."

Windows are not passive elements of any house. They live and they breath. They breathe light, carrying the essence of outside into the house, giving life to more than the houseplants, but to the other inhabitants of the place, the cats and the people. Windows also open up, sacrificing their essential selves, their role as barrier, to become a portal both into and out of. They frame changing portraits of the seasons, same old views with always different components. Windows are magical openings. They are consummate performers.

Yesterday, I prepped the windows I'd removed for reintroduction to their frames.
Still waiting for delivery of our plank flooring, I directed both Joel Our Carpenter and Kurt Our Master Painter to focus upon the windows, which had sat idling for attention for months. I'd taken them out to my Pop-up Paint Shoppe and refurbished them. Those with broken panes took a trip down to Jim's Glass for a replacement. All were sanded smoother and repainted, the inside like fine furniture, the outside like a black hole. We'd decided years ago to paint all the window frames black to produce the illusion that there were no windows there, just gaping holes. With the windows clean, the illusion nearly held. The windows seemed expansive and indistinct, black holes bounded by crisp trim boards. The frames had been empty more than long enough. The rattling plastic threatening to become permanent. We needed to button up.

I'd put tape on the windows when I painted them, so the tape removal consumed most of the morning. I might have finally learned that important lesson this time, that it's easier to take paint off glass than it is to remove painted on tape from it. The fresh glazing exudes oil, preventing the over covering paint from growing hard our adhering, so when the tape comes off, so does some of the glazing paint, necessitating an eleventh hour repainting, delaying everything. I decided to remount all the brass, freshly polished and shining, because it's always easier to attach the brass with the pane on saw horses. I washed those windows in and out, until their glass disappeared. I felt like my windows' dresser, preparing them for their grand re-opening performance.

Joel cut access panels into window weight wells. This allowed me to restring broken cords without disassembling the window from outside. Since all our broken cords were on the second floor, even with scaffolding, which I'd rented, it would have been about a two week struggle to tear down and relocate the scaffolding three or four times to affect the cord replacements. We managed it in a day with only one remaining, a remarkable achievement. Of all the improvements we've made to this place in the twenty years we've owned it, cutting window weight well access panels will very likely turn out to have been the most helpful for longer term maintenance, for double hung windows seem unreasonably prone to losing their cords, even those rated to last forever, fail in frequent use. For the first time since we've lived here, both before and after exile, not a window weight cord is broken in any of the windows, and all windows are buttoned up tight, or will be later this morning. And we thought we were just repainting.

The Muse has been tracking the Feng Sui effects of all our Homemade refurbishing. She's forever noting that we've just improved The Wealth and Prosperity Corner or The Health and Well-Being room. There seems to be some correlation. When Amy's son was still living here, when we were still on exile, he received a big promotion after our kitchen remodel renovated the Career Corner. Similar effects seem to be taking place with This Grand Refurbish and I can't help but wonder what effect all this newly restored light and darkness might have on the inhabitants of this place. The restored windows maintain a circadian rhythm to the place, one which had been muted by translucent plastic covering the two principle conduits of this energy for two solid months, a soul-suffocating duration. I saw the first hint of the color we'd painted the hall, a neutral grey turned green in the less restricted light. The space seemed to smile at its arrival. Those old windows, once drafty and ill-fitting, back for a successful second or third run, and me, no longer intimidated by their mystery. Master of my windows, maybe, finally, more master of myself. Windows are not passive elements of any house.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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