Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Faulty Gadgets and Billowing Plastic

You may be asking yourself how we have been spending our time lately. Then again, you may not, but I'm going to tell you anyway. We have been child-proofing and plasticking. (Is there any correct way to spell "plasticking"?) The child-proofing has been a frantic and futile attempt at making our lives more relaxed at home with Gunner always two steps ahead of us. He figures something out, we child-proof it, and then he is immediately on to two more things. It is amazingly difficult. Hats off to anyone who manages to child-proof their homes so that they aren't constantly chasing their toddlers around the house saying, "No! Leave that alone, for the thousandth time!!!"

And the plasticking ("spell check" says that I should be saying plasticizing, so there you go). We have the world's oldest windows in our home. Well, probably not the world's oldest, but they are at least 100 years old. In the Spring and Fall, the windows themselves don't open, and if we do manage to get them open, it takes a 10-man construction crew to get them closed again. Needless to say, I miss having fresh air in my home during the nice seasons of the year. However, there is no lack of fresh air in the Winter. We have a healthy cross breeze blowing through our home, through the large cracks in the ancient windows during the Winter months. In an effort to reduce the amount of Winter weather we invite into our home, not to mention the reduction of the heat bill, we have spent much of our lives putting plastic on our windows. We do this again and again because the stuff keeps falling down. I am so tired of reapplying plastic that I feel like I would give my arm, my legs, and even a bit of my left brain if we could have new windows.

Here are some our recent adventures in child-proofing. We buy gadgets at $4-5 a pop, and they end up not working. My advice: do more research than we did before buying any commercial child-proofing gadget. We recently had mishaps with these items:

The toilet lid holder
This lovely gadget doesn't fit onto our tank. As you can see, Spiff added an extension (which is a couple of Gunner's blocks, artistically attached to the device with electrical tape), which makes it fit...BUT the stinkin' suction cups are weak enough that Gunner can just pop the whole thing right off without even trying very hard. We don't use this.

The sticky latch thing.
This is a product we bought to keep Gunner out of the corner cabinet in the kitchen that holds all of my baking supplies. He loves that cabinet, and he loves loves loves emptying it out. So we bought a latch to keep the baking soda and vanilla safe and sound. It works great on the cabinet so far.
We decided to try another one on the shower door (heaven forbid that we may want some privacy from Gunner while in the shower). But obviously it didn't work. Notice the sticky stuff that has detached from the gadget itself. I would feel better if the sticky stuff didn't stick to the shower surface. But, no. It doesn't stick to itself.

We have baby-gated off the bathroom for now.

Plastic Windows
This is our bedroom window. Notice how the insulating plastic is Billowing! I couldn't get it to lie flat because of the breeze that is blowing through the closed windows. It also took four strips of tape on the bottom ledge to keep the breeze from blowing the plastic right off the tape. Our bedroom got down to around 35-40 degrees during this last cold snap. The old windows are so bad that it felt like we had an open window in our room. We now have two billowing windows in our room, and thankfully it is much warmer now.

If this last re-plasticking job doesn't work, I think I may have to offer my body parts to our landlords as a sacrifice for replacing the windows. But then again, how could I ever get down on my knees and beg if I have already given them up as an offering?


Mhana said...

Try wedging the gadgets that don't work into the chinks in your windows as a stop gap?

Kev and Chels said...

I hear ya on the old windows! Our bedroom door used to open and close with the outside "breezes" or gusts of wind in the winter. We tried the plastic with the hairdryer again this year for our laundry room which is basically outside and the water keeps freezing in the houses. It worked much better, probably because there was no cross breeze, but Kevin was able to get it good and tight. Is that what you guys did and the wind was just too strong?

lulu said...

Wow! This post makes me laugh a little.

Mindy said...

We did use the plastic/hair dryer insulation kits. We shrink-wrapped the windows in the living room, but didn't even bother trying with the windows in the bedroom. Since the breeze was so strong, we figure that too much force would cause the plastic to detach from the tape...again.

Maggie said...

I don't know if you want to do this, but you could always make curtains like the ones I made for our living room. It would end up being an investment that might not work, but I'd be happy to help. Plus you could keep the plastic up for the wind, but have the curtains over it too. Just a thought.

nurse graham said...

Billowing windows in the bedroom?! Sounds like a good excuse to snuggle close with the covers pulled over your head.

Toddler-proofing my house seems like ages ago! But our 3 year old lab reminds us on occassion what it means to "toddler-proof" a house.

David and Lauren said...

You need to research some of the rental laws because it seems that there should be some sort of responsibility of the landlord to get that fixed. I know that if it was the case here in Eugene, I know my rental company would have to fix it. As for baby proofing, we just gate off the bathroom. Much easier then trying to secure the rest of the stuff. We do keep locks on the cupboard under the sink in addition, because of the chemicals we keep in there in case we forget to lock the gate.

Anonymous said...

You should show the picture of the billowing plastic to your landlord and suggest that there might be tax breaks and incentives to replace the windows. If you can show a financial benifit then you might get new windows for next winter. also it would keep the cool air in better in the summer.