Tuesday, April 28, 2015

No More Sad Door!

Remember when this happened?

My broken sliding patio door. That was in August. I've been living with it since then.

Even before it was broken, it was a leaky, builder's grade (or worse) door, with "curious" installation issues.

My house isn't that green. This is a weirdly-colored photo

Granted, part of that was my fault because I take forever to make a decision about large purchases. I really agonize over them. Since the screen porch (and a glass storm slider on the outside) protected the door from being either dangerous or leaky, I just let it ride. Winter in Iowa is a terrible time to do window and door replacement, too.

But it also was depressing. It made my kitchen seem trashy and uncared for in a big way, I was embarrassed when I had company over, and spending time in my kitchen gave me the sads. I know I'm going to sound a little overly tragic and possibly whiny by saying this, but I think the door was one of the factors in my winter blues this year. Seriously.

When I checked out patio doors at the big box stores, I wasn't enthused about their products; some of them seemed suspiciously low-cost. Installation could be purchased too, but those are subcontracted out and I had no idea who would be working on my house. I wasn't crazy about the store getting to decide that part. And sales people didn't seem particularly knowledgeable about their product, which made me nervous.

I also got a few bids from large-scale roofing/window/door companies, and got discouraged. Don't get me wrong. None of them were bad people, or bad contractors. But they are too big for their britches and do bulk ordering of just one or two lines of products. I decided I didn't want vinyl-clad windows or doors in a 1930s house. I just didn't. They may be what's economical. They may be "what everyone else is getting." But it wasn't right for my house, and in talking to just two contractors I got tired of being told why what I wanted wasn't what they wanted to sell me. It was also clear they didn't want little one-off jobs like mine. And the bids for the labor part were priced accordingly. Unreasonably high. Like they wanted their bids to be rejected. I think they did.

So I did. But that didn't leave me any closer to finding a) a patio door and b) an installer. In February I finally found a place, north of town, which is part of a small local chain of construction supply stores. They deal mostly with people in the trades, but also do business directly with homeowners. They have a recommended list of installers. They have people who actually know the products they sell, and explained it to me thoroughly, and were happy to price out several different options.

This wasn't the cheapest option of all the places I looked. But look at this!

Is that not the most beautiful thing you've ever seen? It was to me. I sorta peeked around the edge of the kitchen doorway, not knowing what I'd think, and......I actually had to stifle a few tears. The installation dude probably thinks I don't get out enough.

The green in this picture is much closer to real life. 

Clearly I've got some painting to do, and yes, my kitchen floor still needs replacing. But wow, wow, WOW.  I'm so glad this is done!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Spring. Ish.

Spring is here. Ish.

If you don't count the frosts. And the clouds. And the rain.

Then again, Iowans are very familiar with the maddening weirdness of a windy April day, where the sun glows warm, almost too warm, and yet a steady and icy wind blows from the direction of Saskatchewan, with periodic banks of clouds. You spend half the day throwing your jacket off as the rays bake through the fabric, and then shivering in the bluster and putting it back on. Off. On. Off. On. Just when you think you've had enough, it rains.

This is sort of how the last month has been for me. I'm off (coming out of the winter blues) I'm on (the tomato seeds sprouted!) I'm off (persistent wracking cough for a solid week). I'm on (the lilacs are blooming!)

While I'm waiting for the weather to even out so that I can start some outside projects, I've been working on a bunch of different things. Some of it is self-therapy, so I don't go crazy with impatience. Some of it is the usual family busy-ness. It's all over the map. So is this blog post.

I've been having fun with baking lately. I used to make a lot of my own bread b.t. (before twins, and yes, I do realize they're eleven years old), and I've been doing more of that again. It's been good to have the oven on during these chilly rainy days.

Also, cake. Because if you're impatient for Spring, why not celebrate Not Spring? 

We're coming up on the end of the school year, too, and that means extra projects. Like turning this kid into Albert Einstein for his big biography presentation. I had to share and brag, because is he not the cutest theoretical physicist you've ever seen? 

I'm also taking a photography class this month. That's another thing I'd like to write a longer post about, but the fact that I'm taking the class means I've been short on blog time.

This is me, experimenting with apertures for an assignment, or as I'm beginning to call it, "effing with f-stops." And a chicken. With lemons and limes. No, I don't really know why those things either.

(Basically, the background details come into sharper focus at higher f-stops, changing the depth of field.)

The bathroom project mentioned in the last post has come along as well, but since a lot of it has involved tedious plaster repairs and big buckets of plain white primer, I haven't updated readers. More is coming on that soon as well. I may even have better photos of it, though lilacs are always better subjects than cramped and outdated bathrooms.

I'll be back soon. I hope spring will be too!