Nancy is a true wordsmith, but having spent her entire life on that other coast, she occasionally has to ask me to explain words I toss around on Twitter or in emails. Particularly in the winter. You know, words like balaclava. (Do you Californians get different L.L. Bean catalogs than the rest of us too?)
This morning I tweeted, "It's 72° already! The storm windows are up! The kids are coated with sunscreen and playing outside with the hose!" (For the record, it's already up to 84° now! Woo-hoo!) Nancy tweeted back, "Does 'putting the storm windows up' mean 'taking them down'?"
Ahem. I'm quite sure there are storm windows that you actually remove and store in your garage, but our very old house has very old double-hung windows, and they work like this:
1. Winter position: storm window down (lower half, behind actual window part that goes up and down, which is currently closed), screen up (upper half, behind 6-pane glass that can go up and down, but we don't bother).
10. Repeat for all windows in house. (In about six months, prepare to reverse instructions—screens back up, storms back down.)
11. Oh, one more thing: See that little striped rope? That's the sash; there's one on each side. If that breaks, it releases somewhere into the bowels of the woodwork. Then you have to find an old-school handyman who knows how to fix window sashes.
It seems fitting to close with lyrics from one of my favorite John Prine songs, "Storm Windows." Here's the first verse:
So far away, just moving along through the drifting snow.
It's times like these when the temperatures freeze
I sit alone just looking at the world through a storm window.
Down on the beach, the sandman sleeps
Time don't fly, it bounds and leaps
And a country band that plays for keeps
They play it so slow....