Washing Windows

1314457723-800pxShe must have smelled the ammonia. The only time I use it is when I am washing windows.

Hold up a minute,” my wife said.


You know what.”


No swearing.”

She knows I swear creatively whenever I wash the windows. It is just something I do. It is who I am.

Look,” I told her, “we moved to the country so I could swear as loud as I want.”

She shook her head no.

Go to town if you don’t want to hear me.”

Again she shook her head no.

Even if I am in town,” she explained, “I will know you are swearing.”

I promise,” I said, placing my hand on my heart, “if you go to town, I will not swear.”

You’re lying.”

Pretend I’m not.”

Why can’t you control your temper?”

I didn’t say a thing. I simply waited for her to leave. What I would have said had she listened is that the old aluminum track windows on our house were designed by Satan himself.

Many consider them his best work.

Face it, aluminum track windows were a fad that lasted only as long as it took the public to realize that only the people who sold them could work them.

With one exception.

I doubt the windows on our house ever worked: even for the sales rep. Currently, every storm window on our house is jammed – at a different height and unique angle.

It is not that they refuse to move, it is just that if you want them to slide up, they fall down and if you want them to come down, they will only go up.

Even though I have managed to take them down and put them up repeatedly, I still spend a full morning trying to figure out how they come apart and an entire afternoon figuring out how they go together.  Contrary to what a rational person might believe, putting track windows together is NOT the reverse of taking them apart. It is an entirely new branch of physics. One that will never be fully understood.

But every spring and every fall, I manage to do it – but not without swearing nor injury. My wife knows this and despite her protests, she knows not to be around when I wash windows.

She pulled into the driveway just as I came around the house after cleaning the last window.

I bet you swore all afternoon,” she accused.

Not once,” I said with all the sincerity I could muster.

Don’t you lie to me, Mister!!”

I let it go… and headed for the garage to put the squeegee and ladder away.

A few minutes later she called from her sewing room.

What?” I yelled back.

Have you put your cleaning stuff away?”


This window is streaked and I refuse to look at streaks all winter.”


“Gotcha,” she shouted in triumph, “you can’t lie to me!”

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