The first snow! As it fell into my coffee cup and hair last week, I felt ecstatic. Then I looked down into the mud I was drinking and quietly acknowledged the fact that I could wait no longer to fix the window next to my bed.
I don’t remember how the glass in the window broke, but it did. In the freegan spirit, Dr. Karl and I had taken apart a double-glass window harvested from the trash across the street (renovating meant removing and tossing every window in the building). We then cut new glass for my large panorama window, and broke every remaining pane trying to cut the bit for the smaller one. Glass cutting has a large margin of error.
Having thoroughly disliked the process of taking apart the double-glass window (bits sealed together with stubborn rubbery glue requiring a thin, sharp knife; patience; and strong arms to remove–all things short in stock in my workshop), I tied the shudders shut, covered the window with two thick blankets, and ignored the glass issue for another four months.
I’d slept in my wagon, I’d heated my wagon, and I hadn’t been any the worse for the missing glass, though I did repeatedly think of Madame Sleeveless’ squatted home. She’d had holes in the walls in a Colorado winter, and if they could be satisfactorily stopped with blankets, then so could my tiny window. I felt justified for having scooped over a dozen down blankets and comforters out of the trash over the past year and a half.
But in the name of saving wood, of pleasant bedside views, and in the face of the first snow, I swallowed the unpleasant taste in my mouth, lugged another window out onto the ping-pong table, and enlisted the help of Dr. Karl once again.
With the right tools, a repair job will usually run smoothly, and you might even manage to complete it within the time you’ve allotted yourself. So, of course, cutting the pane of glass took much, much longer then I had expected.
We got the panes out of the frame easily enough, but then didn’t have the right knife for separating the top pane from the metal frame that held it suspended above the second plate of glass. Trying to shove a knife between them that was too thick cracked the glass. So we did what we should have done from the start, smashed the top pane, peeled out the glass bits by hand, and freed the intact bottom pane easily with a pair of pliers and my too-thick knife. It was a pleasantly violent, unpleasantly wasteful approach, but we cut the remaining pane successfully on the first try, and this morning, wrapped in blankets, I looked out at the snow and the birds from behind a finished window.