Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Fly: Part Deux

I Swiffered up the seventh confirmed fly carcass yesterday afternoon, although we haven’t had any airborne sightings since last Friday. Unlike the Texas border, we seem to have successfully blocked the point of entry.

It appears I’m the one to blame for the infestation.

With temperatures consistently in the 60s and 70s a couple of weeks ago, I determined it was safe to remove the plastic insulation from our windows, in obvious violation of the First Commandment of Chicago Residency: Thou shalt not worship false Springs. A plague of flies was sent as my penance.

Once I peeled off the plastic, I couldn’t help but notice the grimy film covering the windows. Normally I would ignore the dirt. This method has served me well in the past, particularly when it comes to whatever lurks in the teeny space the builder thought to leave between my bathroom vanity and the wall. To scrub this area, I would need to rig some sort of contraption featuring a toothbrush. Not gonna happen. But every once in a while a nagging voice tells me that I am a bad, bad wife for dropping the ball on things like ironing, cooking and window washing. So I grabbed a roll of paper towels and a bottle of glass cleaner and set to work.

It wasn’t a particularly difficult job. Our windows easily tilt inward; in fact, that was one of the selling points when we purchased the condo. Why, I’m not exactly sure. It’s one of those “amenities” real estate agents use to mesmerize first-time homebuyers, instead of pointing out useful information like “there’s absolutely no soundproofing between floors in this building” or “all of your electrical outlets are pointed in the wrong direction to accommodate plug-in air fresheners.”

My first spring as the bona fide owner of a six-figure bank loan, I felt compelled to take the tilt-a-windows out for a spin. That was four years ago, which would make window washing a quadrennial event, same as the Olympics. As with Luge, I see no reason to increase the frequency of the activity.

There’s a certain fun to be had in cleaning something that’s really, really filthy, sort of like a before-and-after makeover. Would you rather see the results on a woman who hasn’t cut her hair since 1963, or Cindy Crawford? As I wiped down the windows, the paper towels came away blackened. When I put the panes back in place, I was startled by the clarity of the view, like the day I got my first pair of glasses. I was reminded of an old “Benny Hill” skit in which the title character fakes blindness, and then a miraculous recovery. “I can see, I can see. Blimey, I can see.”

The process became a little less entertaining with each successive window (we have about 12 altogether) until it turned into downright drudgery. I guess I got a little careless and failed to lock one of the windows completely back into place. This lapse went unnoticed until gale force winds blew into town late last week. I thought it was a bit drafty in our spare bedroom/office, but chalked it up to shoddy construction and threw on another sweater. Dave reasoned that our windows were crappy, but not that crappy, and devoted the necessary five seconds to making sure they were actually closed. Thus was solved the Mystery of the Flies.

Or not. But it’s a great excuse to pass on window washing in 2010.


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