Tag Archives: Projects

I clearly should have spent more time with my father.

21 Oct

Windows won’t close? Stuff a towel in and duct tape it.

That’s how I fix things.

I live in a house erected two turns-of-a-century ago. The floors are wooden, the ceilings are high, the windows have never been replaced, the doors are misaligned (there’s a trick to closing the French doors: grip the handle, physically pull the door up, and lock, generally wiggling the deadbolt), the plumbing is atrocious, the heating comes from small radiators that come alive with the tinkering of hot water running through their construction, and the insulation is laughable, mostly due to its nonexistence. My landlord installed an air conditioner in the living room window when I moved here last fall, and after a drafty winter, I decided I want it out in preparation for this winter. The handyman came by (much to my disappointment, the handyman was not burly, oozing with masculine good looks and smelling of hard work — rather, I towered over his frame which gazed up to me through magnified eyes in his bifocals) and removed the air conditioner from the window. My landlord asked if I had room to store it and I laughed.

“I shop as a form of therapy. I’ve added another row for clothes in the closet where I found the meth pipes when I moved in.”

Poor handyman loaded the window unit onto a dolly to drag down to the basement: a shrunken entrance on the side of the house, locked closed to keep the spiders in. After he left, I realized the window wouldn’t shut. There’s a two-inch gap at the bottom, but nothing discernible blocking its path. I took out the pink toolbox I got for Christmas last year from my parents from my former meth/clothes/shoes/storage/puppet/cleaning supply closet to see what I can do.

“Hammer? This should work,” and I grabbed the pink-handled hammer from its place. I tapped along the tracks of the windows, hoping to magically shake loose whatever was blocking the windows from properly closing.

I mean, really. Windows only have three functions: to look through, to open, and to close. It shouldn’t be this hard.

The old wood along the window began to splinter and form a small pile on the ledge. Well, maybe it’s just not smooth enough, I thought. Being the expert in home improvement that I was (I did manage to assemble a bookshelf I bought from Wal-Mart in three hours. Pretty impressive, I know), I thought that clearly it must be an issue of traction (I also am somewhat of an expert on the matters of physics and science and engineering and shit — numbers are soo my thing). So I went to the kitchen and grabbed  a bottle of olive oil. I tilted the opening of the bottle along the tracks, watching the liquid slowly seep out along the metal siding. Satisfied with my work, I tried to push the window closed again. It caught against something, and was still no closer to fulfilling its sole purposes in life and closing. I wiggled it. I opened it again. I closed it again. I pulled the strings on the side. I cast a spell, shouting Alohomora at the window, hoping it’d respond. Nothing. 

The temperature outside began to drop, and I was getting cold. I already had my kerosene heater on full blast (yeah, kerosene), and was bundled up in leggings, sweatpants, two pairs of socks, a tank top, a t-shirt, and a thick hoody given to me by the pseudo-homeless boy I was in love with. This damn window needed to shut or I had it in me to build a small fire in my living room, charring the ceilings.

I thought about putting tin foil around the window, stapling it to the sides of the wall, for insulation. It’d double as protection for when the aliens inevitably take over earth. That’s what M. Night Shyamalan taught me from the movie “Signs.” The second I took out the roll of tin foil from my kitchen cabinet, Shelley perked up and was ready to attack, gnawing on the silvery metal. Fuck. I couldn’t have him eating my window down.

I went into my former meth/clothes/shoes/storage/puppet/cleaning supply closet and found a towel. I balled the towel up, shoving it beneath the window’s opening. Satisfied with myself, I dusted off my hands.

Then the rain came, saturating the terry cloth fibers.

I tore through the house, trying to find something to fix this. Toothpaste? Tampons? Umbrellas? The bowl of fake fruit? I finally stumbled upon some duct tape, outlining the edges of the towel.

I’ve now reached a new level of ghetto.

Despite my degrees, I hold this house down with duct tape. I heat this house not with the heat from the radiator (too expensive) but through a kerosene heater, 17,658 candles, and an open oven door. Straight up Compton.

–AM.

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