Dateline: January 20, 2021
Well, I’m back after a hiatus due to December / New Year busy-ness and also some hesitation on writing this blog.
I’m not used to putting my life online. Although officially I’m a tail-end Boomer (ugh), I identify with Gen X and remember life pre-Internet when things were more private.
But, I’m also a writer and writing this blog gives me a very nice creative outlet.
All of this is to say, I’m still finding my balance.
To bring us up to date, I’m working on the living room . . . but lots of other stuff has happened in the meantime. My renovations have never happened in a linear fashion.
The beautiful maple table and chairs I ordered back in August came in. They were made by Saloom in Winchendon, MA (the last furniture maker in the Gardner, MA area — former furniture capital of MA).
I ordered a custom coffee table for the TV room from them . . . wait time is 16 weeks! I’m glad they’re busy!
The new carpet I ordered, also for the TV room, is in and needs to be picked up. I had my chimney inspected in preparation for the fireplace insert.
And, I found a made in USA standing desk, which is currently enroute.
Lots of blog posts!
But you’re wondering, “So where’s the turkey?”
From the day I moved into my house, I wanted to replace the big picture window in the living room.
One, I hate picture windows. I find them ugly, not to mention inefficient. Windows should open.
And two, although the big window did have a narrow window on each side, which let in a welcome cross-breeze during summer, it wasn’t enough. The house holds the warm air so well it becomes stifling.
Replacing the windows had been on the renovation list, and while important, the task floated near the bottom for many years as other stuff always seemed more urgent.
That is, until the day of the wild turkey.
The tale of the wild turkey and the living room picture window
A few years ago on a late November afternoon, I was working in my office when I heard a huge BOOM!
Seriously, it was so loud that at first, I thought the oil burner had exploded. But then I realized I was still alive, so I got up and peeked into the living room.
Glass lay everywhere — all over the couch, the coffee table, and the floor.
I took one look at the picture window, which had a huge hole in it, and thought, “O-M-G, someone has thrown something at the house!” and literally panicked.
Called the police — who screeched into my driveway two minutes later.
After looking around, the police officer said, “Umm, ma’am, we think it was a bird. We found feathers and there’s blood all over the broken window pane.”
Cue feeling like a complete idiot due to over-reacting.
After calming me down, the police officer called the town window glass guy, who came by and boarded up my window.
After some discussion, we decided it must have been a wild turkey that flew into the window. It was the only thing big enough to crash through the window and the storm.
The turkeys roam all through our yards and sometimes will fly from my neighbor’s yard across the street into mine to avoid traffic. So one must have crashed into the window due to the sun’s reflection.
We walked around the yard to see if we could find a wounded turkey but no luck.
I also realized after he left, that had I been sitting on the couch when the crash occurred, I would have been seriously injured. It took me forever to clean up all that glass.
I made a vow right then that I was replacing that picture window.
All the years spent waiting for new windows hadn’t been wasted, however. I’m always on the lookout for ranch homes similar to mine and had taken pictures and made notes of the types of windows I like.
My vision: Three windows, same size
Post turkey-crash, I knew exactly what I wanted: three windows, all the same size. Windows that opened and shut and were wide enough to accommodate a standard AC unit.
For awhile, I considered going Frank Lloyd Wright-ish and having full-size windows in order to bring the front garden into the house. But the oil tank is right below, plus the baseboard heater, so I decided it would be best to stick with the existing window area.
Here you can see Bob, my contractor, has removed the picture window and one of the side windows.
Bob measured and then custom ordered replacement windows from Coastal Industries, Inc. in Haverhill, MA. Family-owned and operated since 1973, the company makes windows, sliding doors, awnings, and other products.
I did email to see if I could get an interview, but no response. Bob said he’s been doing business with them for years and that they make a great product.
I could tell they had improved their process as the living room windows were of much higher caliber than the bedroom ones I had ordered eight years before.
I love when small, family-owned companies innovate.
The new windows made all the difference to the living room and the house in general. I leave them open all through spring and summer; my house is filled with sunshine, fresh air and bird song.
Windows and shades made in USA — in my own backyard
I was talking to one of my clients recently, and she said she was working to buy more items made locally, and that finding these products was hard!
I agreed — finding products made in the US can be tough. Finding things manufactured close to home is even harder.
Here in New England, we do have choices with regard to windows. I’m fortunate that I have Coastal Industries in the next town over.
But, we also have Mathews Brothers in Maine, a company I actually did tour and interview several years ago for my Huff Industrial Marketing company blog. They make awesome windows — and radio commercials! You can read the write up here.
Right now I have vinyl roller shades for privacy — which I purchased from a small shade store here in town. The owner said the vinyl material is made in New Jersey. The comparison in quality between his shades and those from a big box store is like night and day.
I’m still working through if I want roman shades or curtains, and do I want to make them myself (as I love to sew) or do I order professionally made ones from The Shade Store — they make all their products in US. Decisions!
Wherever you live, spend some time researching if manufacturers of the items you need are in your state or region versus automatically going to a big box retailer or Amazon.
I’m betting you can find at least one company that makes what you’re looking for — if not in your state, at least in the United States.
You might pay a little more, but the result is always worth it. Not only is the quality usually better, but you’re also keeping people of all ages employed. And that’s the main reason I buy US — to keep jobs located here.
A strong manufacturing sector = more jobs. More jobs = strong families. Strong families = a strong America.
What do you think?