Why taking down the screens isn’t a 10-minute job

November. The leaves are falling. We had a beautiful summer and a gorgeous fall. But now it is getting cold. Northern Maine experienced the first snow fall this season already. The heat is back on.

We are working on getting the house ‘winter ready’. The lawn chairs will be stacked and brought inside. The lawn mower will move to the basement and the snow blower will take up its space in the garage. We need to put the drive way markers in, before the ground is too hard. And we need to take down the screens.

This last job seems a relatively simple and easy one. Not if your name is Edith.

I took the screens down, labeled them and placed them in the garage for my husband to bring them up the garage attic. So much more light! I smiled, then frowned. This was probably a good time to give the windows a good cleaning, inside and out.

Two buckets of water, some rags and there I went: first removed the moss and dirt that had accumulated between the windows and the screens, then flipped the windows to wash both sides. Salt-N- Pepa on Pandora made this an easy and fun job.  I emptied the bucket with dirty water and looked at my windows. Super clean!

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But look at the window sill! I grabbed a new rag, made some clean sudsy water and started cleaning. Hmm, this windowsill could probably use some fresh paint.

I wiped the trim and window sills and went to the basement to get my paint.

Better to take down the curtains. Making sure no paint will get on that. What was the last time I washed those? Can’t even remember, so I better toss them in the wash machine. That reminds me: my kids need to change their sheets.

While the kids stripped their bed, I started the process of taking down the curtains and then started a load of laundry.

I began to paint, still with Salt-N-Pepa radio in the background. Might as well do the trim too. Amazing what a fresh coat of paint does to your house!IMG_2660 2


It was two hours later, and I had finished 4 windows. Pleased with my work, I sat down with a cup of coffee and looking into the living room, I figured I should paint the baseboard as well. First clean it of course. Had do drag the couch from its place and the big, heavy chair. Maybe I should redecorate. I have always thought that the couch would look better in the other corner.


After an hour of hauling, pushing and shoving, I decided that the first set up was the best after all and I pushed it back into place (still with ‘push it, push it real hard’ in the background). The curtains needed to be moved to the dryer and I was happy with what I had done so far. On to the next room. I cleaned and painted the baseboard there, but boy, all these books in front of the bookcase! What a mess. We had either too many books or not enough book shelves, but really, this had to change. The room was now clean with freshly painted baseboard and windows that looked like they weren’t even there, so clean. Can’t have mess laying around.

I had changed the Pandora station to U2, was getting a bit tired of the nineties rap.

With renewed energy, I grabbed a stack of books, flipping through them trying to decide which one we could eliminate. And all these loose papers! I started organizing all the papers in the binders.

All papers and books were now neatly organized. I was about to clean up my paint, when I noticed the wall. The only wall in my house that is actually white didn’t look so white anymore against the freshly painted baseboard. Time to grab a roller!


“Mom, what’s for dinner?”


Dinner?? I looked at the clock. Sure enough it was 5pm. “Such a simple job, taking out the screens”, I thought, while emptying the buckets with dirty water, cleaning my brush and hanging up the clean curtains.


Dinner that night was frozen pizza.

Edith Schriever

About Edith Schriever

I am a Maine-igrant from the Netherlands. While my scientist husband fell in love with the beautiful research institute here, I fell in love with Mount Desert Island. Mountains, ocean, wild life, peace and quiet! A culture change? Yes, a bit. Americans are not at all like the Jerry Springer audience I saw on TV when living in the Netherlands, well, at least not everyone. Portions are big and toilets small and low; I have learned to embrace the cultural differences.