Monday, October 29, 2007

Yet Another Thing to Cross off the List

Duct tape? Check.
Blow dryer? Check.
Cool shrinky plastic sheets? Check.
Staple gun? Check.

It's that time again, y'all, for that seasonal rite known as "The Application of the Shrinking Plastic and Duct Tape to All Windows in the Cabin."

If you've never been a nearly broke, cheapskate, transfer-station-frequenting, Cabindwelling-type living in the gods' own special deep freeze1 you probably can't understand how obsessed a person can get with heat loss. One starts out reasonably normal, or at least semi-normal, but then spends winter in a succession of marginally insulated rental cabins.

Signs that your domicile is inadequately insulated:
  • The dog's water dish freezes solid. Inside the cabin in the kitchen.
  • The monitor heater won't get above 58 degrees running on 'high'.
  • The butter you left out to soften doesn't.
  • You stay up late watching tv wearing a knit hat and coat.
  • When you finally inspect the underside of the building, you find insulation. However, all of it is on the ground.
  • You burn through 300 gallons of fuel oil in two months.
  • You run out of fuel oil at 4 a.m., and it's somewhere in the mid -30s, and you know how quickly the temperature is doing to drop indoors that you have no choice but to drive the nearest gas station and fill every empty gas container you own with diesel fuel.

    Because nothing beats perching on a rickety ladder at 4:30 a.m. refilling your fuel tank with five gallon containers.

    Eight years and five rental cabins later, you're blowdrying that neat shrinky plastic stuff to every window box in the house.

    Oh, the duct tape? Right. See, the anemic tape they give you in the window kits can't hack how dry it gets here in the winter. Voila! Another perfect use for duct tape. And the staple gun? That's just to make sure the duct tape doesn't start peeling off either. Like I said, obsessed, with perhaps a touch of hypervigilance.

    Above: Shrinky plastic fun!
    1That would be Squarebanks.


Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Ahhhhhh, The Handyman's Secret Weapon! Red Green has taught you well.

Ish said...

If you were serious, you'd put it on the inside and outside of the windows.

Welcome back to blogging. You're my favorite and I've been in a funk for months that you've been gone.

CabinDweller said...

Yeah, if only we could just shrink wrap the entire house for the winter months. That would solve the problem.

Aw. Shucks. [scuffling toe in dirt, or snow, whatever.]

I've been in a funk for months, too, hence the sparse posting.

Thank God for Flic. She's really kept it going for a while. And doesn't she have a flair for writing headlines?

Deirdre Helfferich said...

We have to do this for the local library every winter, or else frost forms on the books--NOT good for encouraging literacy. Single pane windows, even cool historic ones from the old Bentley Dairy, are just not adequate, climate change notwithstanding.

And they do make shrinkwrap for houses: it's called Tyvek.

Phoebe said...

A few years ago I lived in a cabin out Miller Hill way where the squirrels had ripped out all the insulation underneath the house. So we shot as many of the little buggers as we could and the landlady threw a fit. "But...Squirrels are our FRIENDS!" she cried. Another way you know your cabin is poorly insulated: when your landlords won't kill the pests.

CabinDweller said...


Oh, when I had that problem out on MHE, we just shot em'. Our landlord, who was domiciled way out in North Pole, didn't care.

But I still have something of a vendetta against squirrels. Evil little buggers!