Almost 25 years ago we moved into this house. We were fresh from 10 years in the Middle East, seven of those in Saudi Arabia, where I had lived with restricted access to certain public areas – Women will please eat only in the family section of the restaurant – and within the confines of our walled and gated housing compound. The kids were bussed to school, and a play date at any friend’s house other than on our compound required much advance scheduling to make certain that a father was available to drive. As a family we were excited to taste life in America. Malls, restaurants, schools and life in general were ours for the taking. Our options seemed endless!
After living in company provided housing during the years away, we were thrilled to move into our own house. Although not brand new, we quickly made a few cosmetic changes, like updated paint and carpet, to make it our new home. Likewise, I updated my personal look and shed the culturally dictated long sleeved, ankle length dress and occasional head covering that had become my “going to town” attire. Upon our return I took some classes at the community college, volunteered at the kids’ schools and became actively involved in my new surroundings. My perspective was clear and optimistic, and my options seemed unlimited.
The years passed quickly, and as our family aged, so did our house. From time to time we painted bedrooms or changed window coverings. Occasionally we bought a new piece of furniture. A couple of times we even tackled the daunting task of painting the exterior of the house. But through all these improvements, a very gradual decline was taking place with the windows. The change was so gradual, we hadn’t noticed that the window glass, once clear and shiny was now scratched and scarred. The aluminum frames which had been straight and well functioning were now suffering the effects of extremes in temperature and user abuse. Our view to the outside was sometimes fuzzy and unclear. And we finally realized that it wasn’t normal to need both hands and all of one’s body weight to slide a window open. Something had to be done!
In his typical do it yourself style, Don contacted a friend for help and together they researched, evaluated options, planned, measured, destroyed and finally replaced the worn out windows. After several months of demolition and replacement we are enjoying shiny, unscratched, securely locking, heat retaining, easy sliding, noise reducing, attractive new windows! And our view to the outside world is clear again.
During the years that our windows were aging, I also experienced a gradual deterioration in my outlook on life, finally realizing that I was living my life through a perception that was scratched, fuzzy, and rather distorted at times. So with the arrival of 2009, just as we outfitted our home with a new and updated vinyl windows, I am replacing my sometimes ineffective and unproductive attitude with a rejuvenated and joyful outlook. The replacement is a process – one that requires some minor adjustments along with a bit of demolition, but the improvements are already worth celebrating.