"Sometimes it feels like we live in a tundra," I said to Steve this morning. We were cleaning: I was clearing the table, and he was sweeping the floors, and the sun shining warmly through the front windows belied the fact that it was 10 degrees below zero outside. The landscape seemed endlessly white at that moment, despite the fact that we live on a street with many colorful cars and houses. Wind had swept the snow into soft, smooth piles along the sidewalks, and I could almost imagine polar bears sliding down them. Steve nodded, and then said, "But it's a tundra where we have The Owls [whose new album was recently playing on the CD player] and coffee shops and friends." Which is true, and the polar bears slid out of view.
A couple of weeks ago, we spent a weekend night at Steve's dad's house, a big, inviting home on some woodsy acreage about a half-hour north of here. It was restful and quiet, and throughout the house, I noticed how solid and silent and airtight the windows were — unlike the old, drafty, rattling ones in our house. I put my hands up to the edges, feeling for any sort of draft, but there was nothing. Our bedroom was toasty that night, and the cold air stayed outside with the dark silhouettes of the trees. Good windows, I realized, are one of those great pleasures of winter, like cashmere socks, down comforters and hot cups of tea.
These cold nights have brought Daniel back into our bed precisely for that reason. His "big-boy bed" is under one of our bedroom windows — a drafty one — and even the heavy, velvety curtain doesn't hold the cold air back, and it creeps down around his head. (We keep meaning to put up that plastic film that 3M makes, but we haven't gotten around to it yet this year.) Around midnight, he wakes up and won't be consoled back into his own bed, so we bring him in with us. Lately, he's been sick with something that's making him feverish at night, and while part of me wonders if a blast of cold air would cool him off, he seems more comfortable in between us. Last night, he just fell asleep there while we watched Big Love. Sometimes his coughing woke him up, and other times it was the wind rattling the windows. "Wind," he says in his sweet, trusting voice (not to be confused with rumbly sounds that make him say, "Airplane").
So I've been lusting for new windows lately. Seriously, lusting. Yes, they will probably have to wait, and a bathroom makeover and tree trimming are still our top priorities for the moment. Good windows don't come cheap, and this isn't something on which I want to cut costs. From a practical standpoint, I don't know how much of the cost we would recoup in resale value compared to, say, a remodelled kitchen or bathroom. Not that that matters much to me: Our own comfort is important, too. And I do want them with an unusual amount of passion.