One thing I’ve heard a LOT in the week since coming home from Rhinebeck: “You knit/spin? Wow, that’s a dying art!”
Well, 6 million knitters might argue with that. But I get what they’re saying.
But honestly, it’s hardly the only dying art. So many things that our grandparents took for granted are forgotten skills now. Car repairs, home repairs, small appliance repairs, all these little things we just don’t know how to do in our disposable age. I don’t remember ever seeing my parents change their car oil or fix a toaster. Not that they didn’t, I just never saw it, and it wasn’t something they taught me or my siblings.
Today I ran up against one of those things.
As the weather gets colder, the kids have been nagging me about turning on the heat. But I refuse to do it until I get all the windows sealed for the winter. Living in an old house as we do, there are a lot of drafts, especially out all the original windows. Replacing the windows would be ideal, but totally out of my budget. Instead I put shrink plastic on them all every fall and hope for the best. Xander has a tendency to take a sharp edge to the one in his room every year, despite my threats. The worst offenders are the windows in our back laundry room, though. I hate these windows, and one of my long term goals has always been to replace them. One of the windows won’t stay shut properly, and two of the panes have had chunks broken out of them for years now, which have been patched as best as possible with packing or duct tape. And the frames are so old and peeling so that the tape for the plastic won’t stick to them. In a “Give a Mouse a Cookie” moment, I decided repainting the frames would at least fix that problem, so I dug out the oil primer, dusted off the frames, pried off some old hardware, and handed Morgan the paintbrush. As always, a lick of paint made such a difference! But it made the broken panes stand out even more. I was going to just seal them up with silicone, or replace them with plexiglass. Except one pane of plexi that size (12″ by 24″) was $15!!! So no. In a fit of “I can do it myself”, I got glass cut the right size, picked up glazing points and window compound and took a stab at it.
Remember, I have never seen anyone do this outside of a home improvement show.
First off I had to get the glass out. Seemed like the easiest way to do so was to break them and pull the pieces out. I put on gloves, got a hammer and a dish towel, and gave the first one a whack. It didn’t break. WTF? Tried again. Bounce. FIVE TIMES I tried to break it before it actually went. Who can’t break a window with a hammer? This girl, apparently. Because the second one took me 8 goes!! Ridiculous. Finally got it all out and pried out the glazing points and most of the dead glazing compound. Then I painted all the exposed edges with the oil primer and went to make bread.
Once that had dried, it was time for the scary stuff! The two windows face opposite directions, so one I could do from the inside, but the other I had to go out on a step stool to place the glass. I had Morgan come out with me to hold the glass in place while I set the glazing points. No dropsies! It was hard to smooth out the glazing compound properly just because of angles and that stupid top window that wouldn’t stay shut, and I’d left just enough of the old compound in that the glass didn’t sit quite flush. Grumble. But it was in place and sealed, although I did have to back fill a little from the inside. The other pane went in easier, as I wasn’t teetering on the top of a step stool.
Neither were a perfect job, but it’s still better than it was. I can already feel a difference in there!
It’s hard sometimes to get the confidence to try to do these things yourself. They’ve built up such a lot of baggage as being too hard to do yourself. But don’t be scared. Just like knitting skills are being preserved on YouTube, so too are repair skills. Check out a couple of videos and then bravely go forth.
After all, glass is cheap.