Wednesday, January 28, 2009


It's two degrees above freezing and I sit here in the house with half the windows open!

Whut? Have I gone mad? It's two degrees above freezing!!

Well, when the new windows were installed there were some problems. This is what happens when you live in a historical building and the historic preservation society takes an interest. The windows had to look a certain way and be made of wood and could not be double paned and had to be painted in linseed oil paint. There are only so many companies that do this and so we used the company that had done other windows for this building in the past. This was a logical step, yes/no?

Except that the company had changed hands and the new owners were not really all that interested in historical accuracy and pushed the craftsmen who made our windows to work faster than one should. So the linseed oil paint was applied too thickly with the wrong type of brushes and then the windows were installed before all this thick gooey paint could cure.

So we ended up with gloppy windows that turned YELLOW!

Thankfully when the historic preservation society stopped by to check on us, they were also appalled and demanded that the company do something. Including changing the hardware on the windows because brushed stainless steel is INCORRECT. It must needs be white hardware. Seriously, the people are a little nuts about historical accuracy. Historical accuracy is all nice and good until it means you end up spending 24 freezing your butt off because your windows are open and you also spend more on heat because your windows are not 21st century eco-friendly. I wonder if we ought to be using lead-based paint on the walls, after all, that is what would have been used back in the day...

Anyway, the painters arrived this morning at 7:30. Yes, you read that right. SEVEN FREAKIN' THIRTY IN THE BLOODY MORNING!! They had said 8:30, but apparently were just too excited to go to work that they didn't want to stop and get coffee or something. Not that you can get coffee because even the coffee shops are closed that early in the morning. That's not true. A lot of Denmark is up and functioning out on the street at 7:30 am. But still, no one likes to be woken up by the arrival of painters who are ahead of schedule.

So in they came, I toddled off to a different bedroom to go back to sleep (on a folding mattress, I am NOT amused today) and they proceeded to make a racket, a mess, and a freezer of my home. See, the windows cannot be closed for 24 hours. That means my office, living room, dining room, kitchen, hallway to the bathroom, and bedroom are all open to the elements. Which are cold. For the next 24 hours.

I have set up a temporary office in the smallest bedroom that faces the courtyard and was not affected by the window replacement. It was my other bedroom this morning and later today it will serve as a dining room. I sort of feel like a receptionist in an office. I'm sitting here at a bare table with nothing but my computer, a desk lamp, and a glass of water. Nothing on the walls, no piles of research (yet). And I have a chair on the other side of the table... really it looks as if I'm waiting for a client or something.

In addition to the absurd conditions I'm working under, I'm wearing a full set of long underwear with woolen outerwear. If I was wearing waterproof pants and a jacket, I could go skiing in this get up. Well, if there were snow. At least there is no snow. Yet. But the clothes keep me warm enough for when I have to zip down to the bathroom or spend an extended amount of time in the kitchen.

Tonight will be a joy. We'll probably be camping out in this room. One person on this folding mattress and someone on the couch cushions. Thank god for flannel pajamas! Oh, and also Gammel Dansk and Aquavite - two crazy liquors that you can drink during the day in Denmark when it's cold. Gammel Dansk with breakfast and Aquavite (schnapps) with lunch!

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