#140–It’s always something . . .


I love it when life just flows along smoothly––albeit hectic––with no hitches. Then along comes a period like the last 10 days when every time I turned around, something came apart, quit working or didn’t work correctly, or just broke. Since these problems took my time and attention this past week, that’s what I’m writing about. I’m sure you’ve all had similar experiences.

First, I opened a cabinet, which is the bottom half of my linen closet, and the top hinge gave way causing me to sort of drop the door. It was caught by the bottom hinge, which was still intact, and the floor. So it’s hanging, with one end resting on the floor. I finally found one of the screws. It seems so small. So I will put in larger screws. I can fix this.

Notice the step that gave way on the back stairs.

Notice the step that gave way on the back stairs.

A couple of days later, I walked up the back stairs, which I rarely use since I rent my downstairs. If Marilyn, my tenant is home, I don’t use them. She was at work this day, and after planting basil and parsley seeds in a pot down below in my posting area, I headed up the upper stairs to the upper deck. I heard a small cracking sound. I couldn’t tell which step caused it, even after walking up and down a few times, and nothing felt amiss. I thought no more of it.

The next day I walked up the stairs slowly, two-stepping as I went because I was holding a planter filled with heavy wet soil that had just been planted with lettuce seeds. I heard nothing. No problems. Then I came down at my usual fast pace with one foot per step and lots of forward momentum. Three steps from the lower deck, the supporting stringer on the outside of the staircase broke and the step dropped and swung out but stayed attached on the house side. Good thing I was going down and had plenty of momentum.

The broken stringer on the back stairs. It's easy to see the dry rot.

The broken stringer on the back stairs. It’s easy to see the dry rot.

As I felt the step falling away, I was already headed for the next step with my other foot, and it was solid. I continued to the lower deck. I wasn’t sure what had happened. When I looked back up the stairs, I could see how completely it had broken. Upon closer inspection, I could see that the break had been caused by inner dry rot that was not visible from the outside. I had been very lucky to not have been hurt.

I called Evan Garrett, who along with his brother, had replaced some support posts on my upper deck last year. He came and looked it over and will work on it next week, if the weather is cooperative.

A couple of days later, the garage door opener in my tenants garage, wouldn’t close the garage door all the way. She called me from work to tell me about it. So I went out and worked it. The belt drive was too loosey-goosey, causing the door movement to be jerky. I compared it to my garage door opener in the adjoining garage, which is the same brand. Mine worked solidly and the door moved smoothly. Something was definitely wrong. After checking it out, I concluded that a bolt had come loose. I found the nut right away, and yesterday I found the bolt outside when I was sweeping the driveway.

I called her back and told her not to use it until it was fixed. Then I called her brother, who is my go-to guy on most major fixes.  Besides, he had installed both garage door openers last fall. So he came by after dinner and fixed it. I’m happy to report, that all is back to normal there.

Then yesterday I washed all the windows in the house––inside and out. It usually takes most of a day between doing all the insides and then getting out the ladder for the living room windows out in front and climbing on the roof to do the outsides of my office windows and the clerestory windows on a higher level of roof. While I’m up there, I also do the skylights. I also clean any screens on the outside and the mini-blinds on the inside.

The window as it looked before I started cleaning it.

The window as it looked before I started cleaning it.

Two of my windows are very expensive and are the tilt type where you can stay inside and by tilting the windows clean the outsides from inside. Both windows are located, where it is difficult to clean them from outside.

I am always nervous around these windows because of their expense and because they are large and sooo heavy. I always get out the directions and follow them word for word.

All went well on the dining room window, and on cleaning both sections of the one in the guest bath. I got the top part put back okay, but the bottom part was just so loosey-goosey on one side and a cord on that side was not taunt but billowing out. Something was definitely wrong.

While I was trying to level the two sides before tilting back into place, the window came loose on one side. It was no longer attached. Yikes!

This triple-pane window, 42 by 25 inches, was too heavy for me to hang onto for long. I couldn’t move it somewhere else and lie it down cause one side was still attached. I was standing in the bathtub, bent over and holding this heavy window. What was I going to do? I was home alone with my cell phone out of reach. After my moment of panic, I tried seeing what I could do.

The window in the bathroom in its upside down position supported by the wide sill.

The window in the bathroom in its upside down position supported by the wide sill.

Getting it back into its mechanism was my first goal, but the mechanism kept moving down, making the window more and more out of balance. Even if I could get it in, it wouldn’t stay. So I looked at the other side. The mechanism with the window attached moved up easily. I then tilted the whole window so that it was sitting balanced upside down on the sill. This is a bay window location with a wide sill over the bathtub. So there was a place to balance it with total support. Thank goodness!

In this close up, notice the latch resting on the sill, indicated that the window is tilted upside down.

In this close up, notice the latch resting on the sill, indicating that the window is indeed tilted upside down.

The company that I bought the windows from has gone out of business, but the company that actually built the windows, Great Lakes Window, located in Pennsylvania is honoring the warranty. So I called, but it was after closing time there. I hope to hear back from them today, but because it’s a holiday weekend coming up, it might not be until next Tuesday. I only want someone familiar with those types of windows to work on it.

Meanwhile the bottom half of that large double-hung window is open––sort of. I’m not worried about someone breaking in because it sits out over the stairs that are hanging loose. Nobody is going to be climbing up those.

It’s always something!



About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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2 Responses to #140–It’s always something . . .

  1. Phyllis Bright says:

    Things can only get better from hereon in1 Sorry for your problems!

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