My original intent, when I began the front porch renovation, was to keep the costs low by using off-the-shelf materials to replace the crap I was tearing out. I’d looked at stuff at the local superstores and found inexpensive candidates, but I knew I’d have to special-order certain things (windows) because nothing in this house is standard size.

With that in mind, I’ve been hemming and hawing over the replacement windows for weeks now, unsure of my plans. The window openings on the porch were all framed in by drunks, so their heights all vary by as much as an inch, and the horizontal level is off by at least a half-inch. In order to figure out what I was going to do (and what shape the framing was in), I pulled all three of the front-facing jalousie windows out on Monday to see what I was dealing with. The base of the frame on the far right was in terrible shape, and I had to pull the entire thing out in order to see what I was dealing with. For a temporary fix, I cut sheets of plywood down and nailed them up until we got our new windows delivered.

ghetto windows

Aaaaaaand, here’s where things go south.

Returning to Lowe’s Tuesday with my 10% off coupon, Jen and I looked at the off-the-shelf offerings, and she helped me realize how shitty they look. The mullions (crossbars on the top window) were inside the glass, which looks funny from the outside, and the entire window is covered with a screen, which is ugly. After some discussion, we got a quote for better quality replacement windows which turned out to be about three times as much as I was originally expecting—not what I was hoping for. With the coupon and a firm quote I figure it will go down to about twice my original budget, but this is still putting a major dent in our plans. I’ve got a couple calls in to the better window companies to see what decent replacement windows will cost; I’m not expecting miracles but I’m hoping for one. The hard part will be getting a quote for the windows minus installation fees; I’m pretty sure that’s where their markup lives.

Meanwhile, eating our breakfast in the upstairs bedroom has gotten more exciting due to the looks of shock and awe of the passers-by as they crane their necks trying to figure out what happened to the front of the house.

new cherries!

Outside, we wrapped a couple of branches of the cherry trees so that we might be able to enjoy some of the fruit this spring. With the exception of the Year of the Locust (when plentiful, if earthy-flavored food was burrowing out of the ground all summer), the birds have cleaned out all of the ripening red cherries before we’ve been able to taste it. The grape arbor also got wrapped on Monday to keep the bunches protected for the season (and to keep the vines off the stairwell).

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In other strange news, I had a dream last night where I was asked by Daft Punk to sit in on one of their concerts. I knew all the parts to the songs, but the “instrument” they stood me in front of was like no other I had ever seen, and made no sense. They got pissed at me when I couldn’t figure out how to play it (it was like a vibraphone stood on its side, with lots of added glowing sampler buttons that made no sense), yelled at me in French, and kicked me off the stage. I was so psyched to put on a helmet and a jumpsuit and rock out, too.

Date posted: May 29, 2008 | Filed under garden, house, porch | Comments Off on This is How We Renovate…In the Ghetto.

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