Saturday, June 14, 2014

Arches and Raptors

As I've mentioned before--repeatedly, I'm sure--with the eleven, 6-1/2 foot windows in the main living area, the space suffers from a serious greenhouse effect.  In the Summer months it's usually unbearable to be in this part of the house anytime after early afternoon.

The new plantation blinds are working much better than the old metal Venetians, though there are also three arched windows at the apex of the room.  The previous owners covered these arches with cheap stick blinds--the kind that normally would be used outside on a patio--worthless shades that don't stop the sun's laser beams in any way.

Here's what I'm talking about.  Totally ugly and tacky.  Who knows how long they've been hanging there, maybe as long as the old couple lived here--18 years.

And that's one of the reasons I've hesitated to remove them: the crap shades have no doubt discolored the wall. Which means the entire thing will have to be painted.

(Wait. Hear that? Yep, that's right.  Ka ching, ka ching...because that's exactly what we discovered once the shades were taken down.  The wall is a mess.)

Anyway.  Several months ago I heard about this glass tinting place in town and wondered if they could do the arches.  Then I forgot, mainly because the sun shines in a different place during the Winter months.  A few weeks ago, blinded by the light piercing my brain whilst trying to cook dinner, I called the place and made an appointment for someone to come talk to me.

John, the nicest guy--and owner of the tint place--gave me an estimate, we tested several tint options, and yesterday he came to do the work.

In this first shot he's done the big arch...and look at the difference between the middle and the one John's working on. The glare is completely reduced with the tinting.  I chose the ultimate sunblockage--87%--though it's not so dark the window looks weird, or the room is too gloomy on a cloudy day like yesterday.  In the second photo he's almost done...

Ta da.  After three years of the horrible uglies...

The main room has been transformed.  It feels bigger, fresher, cleaner...and now I have a view of the sky that I've never seen before.  I don't know how the sunblocking will actually work on a scorching hot August afternoon, but it looks so much better I just might not care that the dogs and I are gasping for breath on the cool tile of the kitchen floor, just like every other August.

So.  One thing checked off The List, though now painting the wall has been added.  Does it ever end? Does anyone ever, truly, get to the bottom of the list??  I live in hope, peeps, I live in hope...


This morning, barely out of bed, the phone rings.  The boys and I look at each other. Who would be calling at this hour?  I pick up the phone to hear my closest neighbor, the Englishman, whisper, "Get your camera.  The hawk is on your back deck."  I grab the camera, tiptoe to the best window and peek between the curtains.  "I see it," I whisper back.

You might wonder at the whispering, but it was necessary.  Not only can these incredible birds spot prey at unbelievable distances, but their hearing is equally amazing.  Carefully, slowly, an inch at a time, I slide my camera lens around the edge of the curtain...just as the hawk lands in my new birdbath.  I bought it the other day because it was cool, on sale, and twice as big as the old one--meaning I don't have to fill it as often.

Red Tail Hawk...

Handsome fellow, isn't he?  And sort of scary, with that beak and those claws.  In the last photo he spotted my camera, but completely unconcerned, took his time having another drink of water before casually flying off.  Must be nice to be so badass nothing really frightens you...


  1. In that last photograph, it actually looks vaguely surprised. Those are all neat shots.

  2. He was probably trying to figure out what that giant cyclops eye was, peering at him from behind the curtain.. ;D