Thursday, November 29, 2012

Discontent of our Winter

This is part of the wall on which we had to fill in a large picture window, formerly a source of sunlight and wildly romantic vistas and now blocked by a new building as I'm sure I've mentioned.

We hired a contractor recommended by knowledgeable friends of friends to come in and do the job. I suppose there was no way we were going to be pleased with the results, but not being pleased is not being pleased whether you expected to be or not.

The guys took out our lovely wood-framed window, built an aluminum frame inside the opening and covered it with a sheet of waterproof wall board. Aside from a plaster ramp on the exterior window sill to deflect any drips that get between the two buildings during the rainy season, the board itself is directly exposed to the narrow space outside.

Since there was no room for access to that outside wall, our workers next applied a heavy layer of cement to the inside, laced with some kind of sealant that supposedly will keep moisture from seeping through the wall and spoiling our paint job. On top of that they put a layer of ordinary plaster and a coat of white paint. We followed that with two coats of the pale blue we wanted.

But when we stood back from the finished job, we saw to our dismay that the outline of the old window was faintly but clearly visible, mocking our grief over the loss of the view. If you stare long enough at the picture above, you might detect the lower lefthand corner of it.

When we complained, we were told there was nothing to be done. The wall board is absolutely flat, they said, whereas the rest of the wall is like all masonry surfaces in Mexico, which is to say uneven at best and crudely pocked and off-plumb at worst. No reasonable amount of human effort, they claimed, could duplicate what casual haste created with conspicuous lack of effort.

As I wrote a while back, I'm actually a fan of the overall look that mediocre workmanship and materials  produce around here. So in addition to my unhappiness over the phantom window frame, I'm also caught up in some cognitive dissonance over why it's there.

If you're thinking that I've reached a place in life where I have to reach for a pretty high shelf to locate something to be unhappy about, no need to say so.

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