Fresh Air

Old houses have problem windows. That’s just a fact of life.

If they aren’t sealed shut with 50 coats of paint, then the windows are in various states of disrepair. The sills are rotted, the weights that operate the windows fall down into the wall, or the house settles and the frames jam up.

In some of our rooms, we have more windows than wall — and I love that because we gets tons of light. But I hate it because our windows look like crap. Refurbishing them would cost a zillion dollars and removing them would be kind of sad.

We’d never be able to replace the originals with their wavy glass and the hurricane shutters that are more than decoration. The shutter bolts are embedded in the sills and if you really wanted to, you could shut them tight like a kid slapping his hands over his eyes. The house buttons up and the weather’s not getting in.

But we don’t use the shutters and we don’t open the windows either because the screens have popped off, and the storm windows come crashing down. Therein lies the problem: open a window and you welcome every bug in creation.

But we’ve made an exception this year. Because the last two weeks have been remarkably beautiful. Cool nights and low humidity — unheard of in July. How do you not open the windows? To hell with the insects.

The master bathroom window draws a wicked breeze strong enough to slam doors (hence the boot jack, paperback book, and sneaker jammed up against the door) and we have to keep the cheap blinds retracted, otherwise they’ll blow right off. This means that we’re very “exposed” at night. It’s quite possible that the neighbors, who occasionally trundle down the drive, are being flashed by Martin and mooned by me.

But the peep show, the mosquito bites — even the errant wasp buzzing around right now — are worth it for the fresh air. It’s all short lived — muggy weather is in the forecast. But for the next 48 hours, neighbors, avert your eyes!

The window sills: treasure troves of chipped paint & dead bugs which probably lead Hadley — the greater consumer of all things inedible — to wonder, “Hmm, decisions, decisions.”