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Thursday, December 10, 2020

Tic-tac-toe 3 in a Row - Plus 1

Tic-tac-toe, three in a row??

Steve put on his "git er done" cap, and decided to go zoom zoom zoom. We got three windows replaced in one day! 

Since both the master bedroom and the bathroom were done the other day, he wanted to tackle the next one because the weather was warm. Unusually warm for Wisconsin, so it's a good time to get these done.

The next two windows on his slate of tasks were for the Grandtots' bedroom. It's really our guest bedroom, but because we have bunk beds in there we call it the Grandtots' bedroom. It's also full of toys and games and puzzles and books and stuffed animals and all that fun stuff.

Again, the crazy wooden configuration storms with the aluminum windows added to the frames were screwed onto the house frames by a bunch of 3 inch long deck screws. He got most of them out, only a few he had to use a pliers and slowly twist them out turn by turn. Deck screws are more brittle and break off easily.  But eventually he got them all off.

I think this is one of the worst windows because the old wooden framework didn't even match up in the center. You couldn't even put a lock on this one. Of course it had air gaps all around and the outside aluminum storm would get all frosted up.  It is not a good situation, and really needed to be changed out. 

When he removed the inside window stops, we noticed the name printed in the interior surface from a Millen Brothers Millwork Company. We are going to have to research that sometime and see about what era they were in business. 

We are thinking this portion of the house is about early 1900s. It was moved here from another location sometime in the 1940s by the Heise family, and joined up to the existing house that was originally built in the late 1800s. That was done a lot in the old days during the housing boom of Oconto.  Not only did it move a house out of the way of some future expansion in the business district, but it doubled the size of this home already located on a rural township lot located up on the far end of town. 

Back to the window work: of course he had to go around with his oscillating tool and cut out gobs of caulking to get the framework loose. Someone sure wanted to make sure that those modified storm windows would never come off?

Once everything was opened up and cleared out of the way, it is easy to put in the new replacement window. He then shims and levels and plums it into place. It makes such a difference.

On the outside he adds a bead of silicone window weather tight sealant all of the way around and on the inside he uses non expanding foam in the spray can.   Then we can put the original wooden stops back into place, add some sealant. Finally I can paint the inside trim.

While we were busy working on the Grandtots' bedroom windows, these two little goof balls made themselves cozy on the bottom bunk. That way they could keep an eye on us and make sure we were doing a good job.

The side window went quickly and we moved right on to the second bedroom window that faces the front of the house. This was even easier to work on, because he could stand right on the front porch to remove the old window.  No more tall ladder work (which is tough on his knees).  It's nice that he could remove that storm window and not even disturb the shutters or trim. 

Mr. Zoom Zoom had that window done in no time at all. I was able to clean up the mess while he moved over to the office window on the other side of the front porch. Boy oh boy, I could barely keep up with him!

In the office, we pulled the steamer trunk out of the way and made a workspace without having to remove it completely from the room. 

That window came off quickly and he was able to finish the third replacement before dinner time.  

So it really was a


Now for the Plus 1 ----

The next morning, while musing over his cup of coffee, he decided it was time to tackle the big front leaded picture window. He knew this one was going to be really heavy and he was debating on how was best to proceed. I can just see his wheels turning in his head, and figuring out what was what. 

The first step was to remove the storm window. This one was rather unique because it was a wooden frame with two big pieces of horizontal plexiglass. He started to cut it out with his little oscillating saw and that just wasn't doing it.

He ended up actually taking his large circular saw while holding it vertically, he buzzed it all the way around while set to the correct depth to not harm the framework underneath. He was able to cut out the huge grooves of caulking that was holding this makeshift plexiglass storm window into place.  It was not fun, to say the least. 

Once that was done, he could use his little oscillating saw again to clean up the edges of the window sill. Look at the color that the house trim used to be for a while?Peach??  I knew at one time the house siding had been painted a deep teal green blue. I wonder if it was both colors at the same time?  Peach trim and teal siding???   It's kind of fun to excavate through the layers to see what changes have been made to the house over the years.

When he was ready to pull out the big leaded picture window, he decided to enlist the help of our neighbor across the street. Ed willingly came over to give Steve a hand. Both were masked up for safety. I pushed from the inside and both guys were on the outside ready to catch the window.

It was extremely heavy and they had to take three rest stops during the process to carry it around to store it in the garage!

We think we may cut off the top leaded portion of that window and re-hang it inside the surface of the new picture window. Later we can do that as a winter inside project. We had done that in our house in Chilton to preserve the look of the old leaded glass window but still have a new energy-efficient one in its place.  He secured it on top with trim and the bottom with little brackets.  It is just set on the inside up against the main picture window glass.... to look like it was original. 

But for now, it was important to get the big new window into place. We had turned off the furnace and shut all the doors to the other rooms. During the time they had the old window out and got the new window in place, the house temperature only dropped by 2 degrees. Man, those guys really work quick!

We thanked Ed as he went home ...  and then from the inside we were finishing up the trim work around the edges.  After lunch I could touch it up with matching paint.

By evening the paint was dry and we could hang the valance back up and put the furniture back into place. It sure was different sitting on the couch in front of this new dual pane window. Not only was it quieter from any outside noise, but the room had an even temperature with no cold chills from sitting near a big expanse of single pane glass.


On to our Doggie Dilemma----

In speaking with our local veterinarian, we thought it might be a good thing to send Finnegan's x-rays to an internist abdominal specialist in Port Washington, Wisconsin. He agreed it would be worth it to check it out with an ultrasound and see exactly what was going on in the little guy's belly. We had made an appointment but it wasn't until January 7th.  I hated to wait that long. The very next hour they called us back and said they had a cancellation for the next morning at 9 am! It was 120 miles away but we set the alarm, loaded up the vehicle and headed out.

It was a two-hour long appointment with a curbside drop-off and then pick up when Finnegan's tests were all done. We waited in the sunshine in the parking lot, even in the cold.  It wasn't too bad, and we didn't need to run the engine too much. 

Sadly though, we got the final results when they brought him back out to us.  It showed exactly what the first vet had suspected. He said there were masses growing around the spleen and reaching further into the abdomen. There are also masses on the upper portion of the liver as well as round tumors within the liver. There are also fluids building up in the abdominal cavity around the stomach. None of this is good and it really is not operational. When multiple organs are affected, it means it's cancer, without even having to do an invasive biopsy. If we were to put him through a multi-organ operation plus chemo, it really would not enhance his quality of life. The vet also said it would not buy him that much more time.

So we are facing the reality that we knew was coming and we will do what we can to make him comfortable.

You know, pet ownership is a complicated thing, comprised of a lot of responsibility. 

  • There is always the excitement of having a new puppy, which we did seven years ago with adopting him from the Sheltie Rescue. 
  • Then there is the fun and enjoyment of having a dog throughout his life. Building a relationship of being our companion and partner and little buddy in our life.  He is not a pet, he is a family member.
  • Then there is the grim reality that someday this shall end and we need to be the responsible pet owner and do what is right ... in repayment of all those years of loyalty and companionship that he gave to us.

During the long sad journey home, Steve and I talked about other dogs that we have had. We talked about all the funny stories and the memories. Each dog that we have had in our lives has brought us unique and different experiences. The time passed quickly, as well as the miles, and we were soon back home again.

When we got home, the weather was beautiful and I took a stroll out through the Big Backyard. We always told Finnegan we bought this house just for the Big Backyard, just for him and Binney!  I think I took some of the best photos I've ever taken of him.  

The dogs ran and played together and wrestled and tousled. I took some videos of them romping around. You'd never know by watching this that he was sick.

Finnegan did a lot of important teaching to little Binney when we adopted her 6 years ago.  She was so timid and afraid. She was neglected and tormented at the hoarder/breeder she was rescued from. She needed to learn to be confidant and self assured. She learned how to be a "good girl" and he taught her to "come" and "stay" and "go feed the birds".  It's so funny how many words they recognize and understand. 

When we first adopted her, she only communicated to us through him, and relying on him to tell us when she had to go outside. Finnegan was her mentor.  He was her steady rock to calm her fears during her flashbacks. She would wake up from nightmares, and he would go over and lick her face until she calmed down.   

She has gotten a lot better now, and I think she has only had one or two flashbacks in the last year.  Much more well-adjusted and comfortable than in her first few years.  Thanks to Finnegan, her good buddy. 

It was a wonderful afternoon to spend outside, then we went in and curled up and took a nice long nap together. Both doggies pressed tight up against me for closeness and comfort. They may very well know what is coming up in their own little doggie way. But it was great to have such a wonderful afternoon, and preserve it in our memories.

After we got home, Steve decided it was a good time to still work on one more dining room window. It was good to keep his mind off things and keep himself busy. 

He had removed the exterior storms on both of the dining room windows and got the framework prepped and ready to get the old one out and the new one in.  Although it was getting dark out, he was mostly working from the inside. 

He got the new one into place just as I was done making dinner. A little bit of trim work and it would soon be ready for me to touch up the paint.

We just have one more window to finish in the dining room. That was our missing window from the order that took a long ride and extra journey up to Marquette, Michigan. The building supply manager at Menards had sent someone up to pick it up and bring it back to the store in Marinette. They called to say the window was finally back to Marinette, so we drove up there early this morning at 6 a.m. to get it. That is today's project --- to replace that window and fix up the trim. Again, it's supposed to be up almost to 50 degrees today. It will be a good time to get it done.

Now all of the windows all the way around the house are done except the two in the kitchen table area. We have those two already here in the garage, but they are not just replacement windows. Those are complete new construction windows with a flange. We will have to alter the framing a little bit to get them to fit. That will be a springtime job.  (Unless Mr. Zoom Zoom gets another bug in his butt to get to them done yet this year?)

But for now, with what we have accomplished so far, it feels very cozy and quiet and soundproofed. The outside sounds are muffled. It has been quite a project to undertake this ourselves, but after getting estimates from a couple window companies, we decided doing this ourselves will save us some money as well as add to the comfort of the winter home heating and summer air conditioning cooling.  With the new insulation we had added in the attic, it will be an added bonus. 

Now that we are done with this stuff, it's time to sit back, prepare for the holidays, and enjoy our time with our little dogs.  And give Finnegan the best love and attention that we can give him.


  1. Again, wow! The two of you take on projects and do them so well. I'm planning on replacing some windows next year but I'll be paying someone to do it. Your descriptions do help me understand the process though there are no storm windows to deal with.

    Thinking of you and little Finnegan. I hope he continues to have good days with Binney for some time yet.

    Take care and stay well.

  2. Always sad seeing a family member or friend slowly giving way to that horrible disease.
    Great job on the windows while still preserving the look of the house.
    Be Safe and Enjoy the Holiday Season.

    It's about time.

  3. Yes, Karen, as a foster mom I have had to go through that many times since my own wonderful Levi had spleen cancer and I had to let him go to Rainbow Bridge.
    It doesn't matter if it is a foster, sometimes you have had them for 5 years before they get adopted, you love them and miss them all the same. But I think back on all the good times we had, and I feel blessed to have those memories. Hugs. Penny


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