Today was a very busy day.
I started with Ethics class. Normally I walk to the school – it’s a good solid walk and takes over half an hour to get there. And then on the way home I usually take a different route for variety, and end up walking a longer distance and so taking a longer time to get home. But today I knew I wanted to get a lot done, so I chose to drive there and back.
The class was… mixed. We were discussing beliefs, and whether people should be entitled to believe what they want, even if it’s harmful, either to themselves or to others. The main story was about some kids discussing smoking, and one of them says they don’t see anything wrong with it, because their grandmother has smoked all her life and is fine, and that she might try it herself when she gets older. We discussed if this girl is entitled to believe this, if her belief should be respected, or tolerated, and if she should be allowed to write an article in the school newsletter promoting her belief. The discussion was interesting, but… it was disrupted a lot by two unruly kids today. These two have been behaving poorly in every class, sometimes better sometimes worse. But today they topped everything.
I don’t mind much if kids are keen to participate and end up talking all at once about the topic. But these two kids today were just downright ignoring the class and deliberately talking when I was talking. I spoke to a teacher afterwards about them, and he said he’d follow up on it. I’ve also sent an email to the school Ethics coordinator to see what the discipline options are. If it were up to me, I’d kick these kids out of the class and then they could explain to their parents why they got kicked out of a class that the parents wanted them to do.
When I got home, I decided to decompress by going for a quick run, just a 1k today. This is only the second timed 1k I’ve done, and I clocked 4:27 today, compared to 4:33 two weeks ago. I’m still getting used to pacing the distance – I took off fast and was almost exhausted halfway through so had to slow down a lot.
I walked home from the oval, and then thought I’d quickly take the rubbish out while I had my shoes on. I went inside, put my keys down, grabbed the rubbish, went outside… and realised I’d locked myself out. So after putting the rubbish in the bin, I had to walk to my wife’s work to get her keys – without a hat or sunglasses, which I normally wear outdoors. So that killed an extra 40 minutes.
After all that, I began spring cleaning the house. Since we’re in September and that marks the beginning of spring here. A full spring clean of the house takes at least a couple of days. I started with cleaning the windows today – something I don’t do very often because we’re in a second floor apartment, so it’s a little tricky to clean the outsides. For each window I:
- Remove the sliding pane, and wash it in the bathroom with soapy water and a squeegee.
- Do any gross cleaning, such as scrubbing the frame to remove dirt and specks of mould. This bit can take some time.
- Clean the inside of the fixed pane with Windex. (Not soapy water, since the water would run down onto the windowsill.)
- Remove the fly screen and wash it in the bathroom.
- Brush spiderwebs off the exterior of the window and surrounds, by leaning through to the exterior.
- Squeegee the exterior of the fixed pane, leaning out through the open window. For some windows this is tricky, as I need to do some climbing and stretching, and being careful not to fall out the window.
- Replace the flyscreen and sliding pane.
For six windows, this takes maybe 2-3 hours on a good day. Today was not a good day. The bedroom window had been getting progressively tougher to slide open and closed for the past few months, and the kitchen window was starting to feel the same. I did some Googling and found that a thing to do to loosen tough windows is to spray the window track with silicone lubricant. So yesterday when I went to the hardware store I’d bought a can.
I started on the bedroom window. After taking the sliding pane out and washing it clean, I figured I should first clean out the sliding track before applying the lubricant. It was filthy. First I vacuumed it to remove any loose material, and there was quite a lot of it: sand and dirt and gunk. Then I took to it with a cloth and soapy water, pushing the cloth into all the nooks and crannies and scrubbing hard to remove the dirt. The cloth came out absolutely filthy. After ten minutes or so of this cleaning, the track was looking pretty good. I dried it with paper towel and then sprayed the lubricant on.
Then I decided to turn the sliding pane (waiting in the bathroom after washing) upside down to have a look at the bottom side. And this is when I discovered that it has wheels. And that what had caused the sliding difficulties was that the wheel bearings had seized up with dirt, so the wheels no longer turned. And the friction of sliding the window on non-turning wheels for months had worn down the wheels so much that they were no longer even close to circular. So even if I could loosen the bearings and lubricate them so that they would turn, the wheels were ruined and wouldn’t rotate anyway.
I had a brief moment of thinking the window pane was ruined and I’d have to order another whole pane manufactured to fix this problem. And then I inspected the wheel area carefully. I found a screw that looked like it held in a removable section containing the wheel. So maybe the wheels were replaceable! I searched online and found that this is indeed a thing! Then I searched my local hardware store, and found they had replacement window roller wheels in stock, in various sizes.
Now, I didn’t want to put the window back and then have to remove it later after getting the replacement wheels. So I unscrewed the wheels, knocked them out with a hammer (they were wedged in really hard), and took them to the hardware store to make sure I could get identical replacements. Here’s what the old wheels looked like:
You can see the flat areas (arrowed) where the wheels had been worn down by sliding. I did manage to get them to rotate a little bit before taking this photo, which is why the flat part is at an odd angle. Anyway, I found the replacements I needed at the hardware store, and also bought some extra Windex while I was there. I inserted the replacement wheels, in both the bedroom and kitchen windows, and replaced them in their tracks after cleaning. Et voilà! The windows slide beautifully now!
During rest breaks in between cleaning all the other windows, I mentioned my labours to my friends in our Discord chat. One guy was all, “Oh yeah, I replace the roller wheels in my windows every few years.” Well, thanks for telling me that this is a thing you need to do! When I bought this place, nobody gave me an owner’s manual saying that you had to do stuff like replace the window wheels. How many people even know that this is a thing you can do or have to do? What other home maintenance things do some people know about that I’m blithely ignorant of?
Anyway, I’m happy that I’ve solved the problem and done some home handyman stuff that fixed a problem, for just the cost of some spare parts. Now we have nice clean and beautifully sliding windows again.
But now that the windows are clean, I’m counting down the hours until a moth leaves a big ugly print on them again. They inevitably do it within 48 hours of the windows being cleaned. And then oddly no new prints appear for the next several months until I clean them again.
New content today: