Thursday, August 11, 2005

Windows: Style vs. Function

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.


reverendmother said...

Love the aircraft carrier bit. R wrote up a page-long set of instructions on using our universal remote, for house guests. Madness.

Songbird said...

My brother has five remotes. I can't figure out what all of them control. We're having trouble coordinating two!

Purechristianithink said...

I'm liking the cypress analogy: We squander that which God has uniquely provided to fit our need and then have to scrammble around re-inventing a substitute.

SpookyRach said...

Didn't know that cypress wouldn't rot. How cool!

And why is it that all the tiny purses are so way cool and the big ones invariably make you feel/look like an old lady?

Quotidian Grace said...

Not only is cypresswood resistant to water and rot, it is impervious to termites because it is such a hard wood. This is no small matter down here in the Termite Capital of the Western World.

St. Casserole said...

We replaced our windows with metal vinyl clad. I was horrified at how the windows might look but have been delighted with energy efficency and how easy to clean the new windows are.
The first home we restored was cypress. Years later the wood windows we had made and any other wood we added looks horrible. The cypress remains.