Saturday, August 12, 2006

In Which I Reveal That One Of My X-Chromosomes Is Clearly Defective

It's a bizarre and possibly somewhat disturbing thing, but, out of all the things in life that frustrate and fluster me, the one that seems to do so most consistently and profoundly is... window coverings. Yes, curtains.

I mean, god damn it. All I want is something to put over my windows so that my neighbors cannot look in and see me when I'm walking around the house naked. (Come on, tell me I'm not the only one who occasionally experiences an urgent, burning need to check her e-mail while in the middle of getting dressed?)

It appears that this is not what anybody else on Earth wants, however. I am not sure what they want out of window coverings. It appears to have something to do with "decoration" or "looking pretty," but since having garish flowery patterns and all kinds of weird dust-catching pieces of cloth draped around your windows is, to me at least, not at all attractive, perhaps there's something else to it that I'm just not seeing.

I like blinds. Blinds are good. Nice and adjustable, depending on how much sun you want, and they keep out prying eyeballs. Sadly, though, it seems I just can't have blinds on my utility-room windows. The cats like to jump up onto the windowsills, they bend the slats when they do so, the slats break off, and eventually there's a big slatless hole through which sunlight and the neighbors' line of sight can pass unencumbered. I've already replaced them twice, and it's a losing battle. I can't keep the damned cats off.

The thing is, my utility-room windows are 58" wide x 48" tall. As far as I can tell, curtains don't come in that size. Or if they do, they probably have some fancy French name and are intended to drape artfully around a doorway or some crap. I don't know what half these things they sell in the curtain department actually are or do, so it's entirely possible.

What ever happened to window shades? Don't people use those any more? Why can I not find them anywhere? Damn it, this is yet another example of how the world is run by day people and nobody thinks about us shift workers, isn't it? If everybody worked my schedule, the stores would be full of items specifically and carefully designed to block out light. (Also, real estate agents would stop prattling about east-facing bedroom windows as if they were a selling point, but that's a tangent.)

I did find a bamboo shade that was at least the right width. It looked like a pretty good bet: not as easy for the cats to destroy, nice and simple with no "decorative" crap. The store only had one, but I figured I'd try it out, and if I liked it I'd see about ordering one for the other window. And, man, I'm glad I didn't buy two. Because it's a really nice shade, except for one teensy little fact: you can see right through it. I mean, honestly, what is the freaking point?

Suggestions for where the heck to find inexpensive coverings to block photons from passing through my windows will be gratefully accepted, but anybody who tries to get all Martha Stewart on me is gonna get strangled with a pull-cord.

And nothing that involves words like "transverse rod," either, OK? It should not require that much hardware to do something that can be easily achieved with a couple of thumbtacks and a bedsheet. (Hell, I'd consider doing that, but, y'know, I'm trying to be a grownup.)


  1. One thing about the blinds, is never get vinyl blinds with cats!! I put metal ones of the front windows and have replaced the vinyl ones we had elsewhere with metal. The hold up nicely to the cat, when they bend a little they just bend back without breaking. But as I only have one cat who is now too fat to get up into a window, you obviously have a 3 fold cat problem.

  2. I did kind of wonder about metal blinds... I think they're a lot more expensive than the vinyl ones, and I was worried that they wouldn't hold up, either, and then I'd be really annoyed, but if they do... Hmm.

    I don't think I've really seen them in stores though.

  3. Hm, I guess the next bet would be the old standby: online.

    Might take a bit of doing but if you find the right spot online (maybe through Google or the like) it may be the best bet (short of driving over sixy miles to the nearest town big enough for this job. :)

  4. How about Roman shades? They're like curtains crossed with blinds. They block out the sun nicely for me. I got mine at Target but I recommend getting them somewhere else, the pullcords on both sets I bought came out the first time I yanked on them so now the shades are permanently down.

    But they're cloth like curtains, the cats may take an unnatural and unhealthy liking to them....


  5. 1) I'll never buy anything with Martha Stewart's name on it. It's not that I care about her business dealings, it's that she knows just enough about gardening to be dangerous.

    2) I went to a big box store for my blinds and was treated so badly that I'll never go there again. I went to the other big box store and was treated well for ordering and installation. Follow-up on my complaints, though, is poor.

    3) Yeah, whatever happened to window shades?

  6. Adam: I looked online, but, man, i found online curtain shopping kind of overwhelming. Why does everywhere organize things by, say, color or price, rather than size? It doesn't matter what color or price they are if they don't fit my windows! Fortunately, after reading this, a slighty more savvy friend helped me out and found some very basic and hopefully acceptable curtains at Home Depot's site. I ordered 'em. Here's hoping they do the trick and don't look too stupid in my laundry room.

    Jim: Somebody else suggested Roman blinds. I had no idea what they even were, but she showed me a picture, and they do seem pleasantly simple and attractive. I'm not entirely sure how far I'd trust the cats with them, though.

    Captain C: The fact that it involves dealing with people is yet another reason why custom-installed blinds do not appeal. :)

  7. Ok Betty,
    Any window covering with dangly cords or ribbons or stuff + cats = trouble. This unfortunately includes blinds and roman blinds.
    Try just plain rod top or tab top curtains. You will need two panels to cover your window. Trust me.
    Cut and paste this:

    This should also be at the Walmart there in Socorro, many colors available, it's thermal so it will help block out the sun and help with heat and cold. No strings to tempt the cats, you just pull them aside when you do want them open.

    One question: Do you already have a curtain rod on said window? If not-no worries! Email me and I will expound upon the wonders of the tension rod. (
    Hope this helps and I didn't let my Martha-ness show :)

  8. Based on someone else's advice, I already ordered some tab-top curtains. The advice is still appreciated, though!

    I did look at curtains at Wall-Mart, but 99% of them were ugly as sin, and the ones that weren't either seemed to be entirely the wrong size, or they didn't have more than one package of them, and I needed two. So I gave up in despair. I think part of what was causing me problems is the fact that the dimensions they give you on the package aren't actually the size of the window they're supposed to fit, nor is there ever any indication whether they refer to one panel or to both panels. Aargh. This whole strange domestic world with its strange unexplained conventions confuses me. :)

    And there is a rod already, thank goodness: a round thing about a quarter inch in diameter.

    You know, it occurs to me that I probably should have turned to you on this subject to begin with. You know a lot about this stuff without being at all intimidating. :)

    And, uh, how's it going, by the way? I haven't talked to you in ages!

  9. It seems to me that yau are a case of "the Blind leading the Blind"

  10. *groans, throws things at you*

  11. I think we used a bed blanket and some tacks for our bedroom window (which is aboot five feet away from our neighbor's driveway) during the first year after we moved into our current home...

  12. I did the bedsheet-and-thumbtacks thing for quite a while during my college years, but I think, like bookshelves made of cinderblocks and wire-spool endtables, you're supposed to give up that particular decorating philosophy after you graduate. :)

  13. I'm glad you have an end to your window covering madness in sight! I'm sorry that Walmart didn't prove very helpful. But I'm not surprised! I mean they _are_ an evil mega corporation specializing in limited availability at low, low prices after all. :)
    I totally agree with you though, even with having more experience with the subject, the conventional measurements and standards for window coverings leave a lot to be dsesired. We're doing really well btw, Jarrod says hello and should get an email off to you some time or another.

  14. You know, several times in the past couple of weeks, I've found myself thinking, "I should stay in better touch with people. I should e-mail Jarrod and see how he's doing." But I'm really good about thinking those kinds of things, and really bad about doing them. People leave Socorro and they just fall off my radar. It's kind of sad.