I'm home this morning listening to the din of workmen replacing the windows that rotted in our kitchen and utility room. The windows rotted because they are wood windows and wood rots quickly in our hot, humid, wet climate. When my great-grandparents built their first home in deepest east Texas, it was made of cypress which does not rot. You cannot buy cypress today--I guess the swamps it grew in have disappeared and it can't be successfully cultivated.
Our house is about 20 years old. When it was built all the houses in the neighborhood sported wood windows because they were considered to be the most desirable in appearance. There are still neighborhoods that require wood windows in the homes, through zoning or neighborhood deed restrictions. In those neighborhoods you are forced to replace the rotten windows with windows that you know will soon rot also. Fortunately that is not the case for us. We can put in metal windows, and we are: window by window by window around the house. If I planned to try to sell the house I'd have to make them all match. But since we plan to stay indefinitely, we're taking our time and stretching out the cost.
Wooden windows seem like a metaphor for things that we insist on having because we think they are stylish or chic--but that aren't practical or functional. Things like three inch heels (I just made a trip to Nordstrom's shoe department yesterday with Babs), teeny-tiny purses that you can't get your wallet into, tile floors that look pretty but give you shin splints, white carpet in the children's playroom and on the stairs, and tv/dvd/satellite remotes that look like the deck of an aircraft carrier and require an engineering degree to decipher.
So out with the stylish rotten windows and in with the waterproof "quotidian" ones! If El Jefe had his way no house in our part of the world would have any exterior wood--it would all be brick, metal, plastic or hardee plank. Not too stylish but way functional.