Homeadults with learning disabilitiesRules Need Not Apply
A view of a pair of windows from below. There's plastic with creases over them, and gold curtains with red detailing on either side. There's also the bottom blue, crystal windchimes in the center.This week, I’ve been grappling with readying our house for winter. Our home was built in the 1950s, and we still have the original windows. What does that mean come winter?

Drafts. Lots of drafts. Naturally, that translates into high energy usage and bills.

We’ve been putting window insulation kits up every year, due to the fact new windows are still out of our budget. Usually, my husband handles the cutting and applying, while I do the clean-up and use the hair dryer to tighten the plastic.

This year, however, he was late in taking our window air conditioner out, and his company is currently in the midst of preparing for the holiday rush. So, I got the privilege.

Cue frustration! So much frustration.

Part of my wiring involves an inability to do anything in a straight line, save maybe walking. When I cut patterns for sewing, I need to cut the fabric large enough to allow myself material beyond conventional seam allowances for when I screw up. Drawing is hopeless, and measuring in a straight line is even worse.

I still have trouble coloring in the lines.

Naturally, hanging plastic employs versions of all those things.

A red box containing instructions on how to apply insulation plastic to windows.

Step 1: Measure the plastic and pre-cut it so it’ll fit the window with an inch left over.

Well, that doesn’t work. I always cut too short, then have an impromptu yelling match with the window and plastic when it doesn’t work. Now, I skip that one and just add the plastic from the top, unfolding as I go.

That way, my blood pressure doesn’t get too high and the window isn’t offended.

Step 2: Apply the double sided tape

Ideally, the tape should be applied perpendicular to the window frame. When smoothed out, it’ll hold the plastic in place without visible creases.

When I do it, the tape tends to slant away from the center. Instead of applying and reapplying it in an endless cycle to get it right, I just let the little folds be and press them down as much as I can.

They’re charming. And there’s always duct tape.

Step 3: Apply Plastic

Since the plastic is pre-cut, and the edges are straight, it should go on evenly. Care must be taken to avoid bunching it and allowing air in.

As mentioned above, pre-cutting it means running out or uneven ends. That’s where my brilliant notion of just using the whole sheet comes in. I can usually get it applied relatively smoothly. Well, it’s more smooth than when I try pre-measuring it, anyway.

Isn’t there such a thing as textured glass? If anyone asks why there’s texture in the plastic, I’ll just tell them it’s a decorative choice.

An image of a window with plastic held down by duct tape over it on the sill with red curtains with a gold pattern on them in the background.
We apply duct tape to the sills, because the tape tends to peel from them.

Step 4: Tighten Plastic

The final step is to use a hair dryer to heat the plastic up, so it’ll be pulled taught. Ideally, there will be no creases left.

I do actually manage to do this step properly! Most of the windows are relatively fold free. The ones that look the worst are the ones I actually try following directions for. In fact, those pictures you’ve been seeing throughout the entry are of windows I did that with.

Would you like to see what happens when I follow my own rules? Sure you would.

A window with blue woodwork with smooth plastic over it.

See? No creases. The only reason you can tell there’s plastic is because of the strange reflections, or if you touch it.

I’ve no doubt people walking down the street know there’s something up with our windows, too. I probably look pretty strange waving a blow dryer around.

What’s the moral of this story? Well, there are a three.

Moral Number One
Never expect me to follow rules to the letter if they don’t work for me. I won’t be committing any horrendous crimes, but when it comes to mundane tasks, I probably won’t do them in conventional ways.

Moral Number Two
There’s always more than one way of doing many things. That means forcing others to do things the way you do them probably wont work. Conversely, forcing yourself to do something someone else’s way, despite the fact it doesn’t work for you, won’t accomplish much.

Moral Number Three
Drafty windows are a pain to take care of. If you can afford it, get new ones.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: