We had some warm days in the Northeast last week, so we opened the windows. And I was reminded, as I have been in springs past, that there is a problems with our screens.
The reminder came in the form of very tiny flying things congregating on my computer monitor. I don’t know if they are drawn to the light or to cute puppy videos, but there they were, almost as soon as we raised the windows. It was as if they’d been hanging out all winter long, just waiting for us to let down our defenses.
I’m not even sure the window screens would need to have defects in order for these micro-gnats to get in; they could probably enter through the holes designed to let in air. They are so small that, when one landed on my monitor while I was writing, I backspaced and tried to turn it into a comma.
Anyway, these mini-mites don’t get in through the screens, they get around them. The screens aren’t flush with the window frames, which are a lot like me in that we are both a bit warped. And while I have endured this invasion of midget midges in previous years, I informed my wife Barbara that, this year, we were going to do something about it, damn it.
So Barbara consulted the neighbors and Angie’s List and called in some window replacement people.
The first guys that showed up were a duo from an outfit called Power Home Remodeling Group. They started with a basic Powerpoint-on-iPad presentation. Then one of the guys opened a case about the size of a Volkswagen and removed a bunch of visual aids to take us, literally, though the history of windows.
“First there was single-pane glass…” he began, holding up a square of glass in a frame. Well, no, first somebody said, “Hey, it’s dark in here,” and punched a hole in the outside wall of his or her hut, but I let him continue. He covered double-pane glass, then triple-pane glass, and I thought it was going to be like Gillette razors, which now have, I think, 28 blades, and can shave a whole cheek in one stroke. But the guy stopped at three panes because, evidently, when the window-makers got to four, they discovered that you needed a forklift to open a window. So, they went back to two panes, but added tinting and layers of various inert gases and so forth until we arrived at the absolutely most technologically-advanced device ever created for the purpose of being able to see if it’s raining outside.
He then asked if there was an electrical outlet nearby, and I thought that maybe he was going to take us into the future of windows, too. (“These smart windows can also stream Netflix…”) But, no, the outlet was for his large heat lamp, which I believed he had stolen from McDonalds. He fired it up and then re-presented the history of windows, this time with some sort of digital contraption that measured how much of something or other was getting through the various layers of panes and tints and gases.
I hate when salespeople do demonstrations like this. I mean, it’s not like there’s going to be a surprise ending where their product doesn’t come out on top. “So, see that?” he concluded. “Our R-5 windows are the best in the business at not letting in whatever it is you don’t want getting in from this heat lamp.”
That’s not actually what he said, of course, but by then we were in hour two of the presentation, and my mind was drifting to more pleasant subjects, like root canals.
The other guy then went out to his car and brought back an actual window. Full size, with a little built-in stand. They showed us how easily it went up and down, and tilted in, and locked while closed, and locked while opened. They showed us their proprietary screens which somehow seal themselves if they get ripped, which, I had to admit, was pretty cool, and was going to be pretty necessary if these guys didn’t leave soon, because I was planning to smash the screen over one of their heads.
Then they got down to brass tacks and gave us a three quotes. The first was the cost of the job. The second, $1,000 cheaper, was the cost of the job if we signed a contract before they left that day. The third was that price, less $500 if we let them take before and after pictures. They then proceeded to give us every opportunity to get the $1,000 discount for signing before they left. They did this by not leaving. They were there for almost three hours. In fact, it’s entirely possible that they are still somewhere in our house.
The very next day we had somebody come from Renewal by Anderson. Although alone, he managed to bring in as many cases as the other guys, and I was thinking that, if he started talking about how windows were made in 1828, the first window he could replace for us would be the one I’d throw him out of.
He didn’t do the history lesson, though. He did do a low-tech Powerpoint presentation by leafing through a pair of massive loose-leaf binders. Then he asked, much to my dismay, if there was a power outlet nearby.
Barb and I looked at each other.
And out of one of his cases came a heat lamp. No digital something-ometer, however. He just aimed the heat lamp through various types of windows and had us touch the glass on the other side. SPOILER ALERT! His window won!
We have another guy coming this week, hopefully with another heat lamp, because I’ve decided I might as well start working on my summer tan.
Jeez, and I though the little flying bugs were pests!
See you soon.