Sunday, November 12, 2017

Big Costly Mistake

Ever have on of those ideas that you thought was just right?  An idea that is costly but you're willing to plunge right in because  you're convinced that it is the perfect solution? Sure you have. 

Here is my latest Big Costly Mistake. God, I hope this is the last one I have. I wasn't going to post about it because it is just to painful but being the kind of guy I am who writes about (almost) everything, here I am telling my Tale of Woe.

In our sun room and living room I have a wall of seven windows. I paid to have extra windows installed because I LOVE a lot of light. Also, our property is situated that we can see the sunset from those windows. But as with all grand ideas, there is a downside. During the late afternoon, when the sun comes through those seven windows, the sun glare is brutal. 

About eight years ago I bought wooden Casablanca style blinds. Bill installed them. It was expensive and time consuming to install them but it was necessary because of that brutal late afternoon sun glare.

We've been handling that late afternoon sun glare but closing the blinds. But then when those blinds are closed, I get claustrophobic. I hate that closed in feeling. Bill doesn't mind but I do.

For a number of years I've been looking for a solution.  And then this year I thought I found it.

While staying at Pat's new condo in Hamilton, Ontario, he had see through roll down screen installed on his wall of windows. 

I thought "How cool is that?"  Then last month when visiting my neighbor Marty, who has the excact same house that Bill and I have, she showed me her same roll down screen to block out that afternoon sun. She had the screens installed outside her windows. Note this important distinction.

After seeing her windows with the sun glare screen protection I thought "I now have the solution!"  Bill caution me not to do it. But being the bullhead I am I called our local window man (who is very good by the way) to arrange to have those sun glare protection screens installed.

He came two weeks ago and took measurements. He advised to have them installed on the inside because of the weather element. I agreed.

I made a down payment of $500.  He ordered the screen and came back this week to install them.  As he was removing the wooden blinds I said "Aren't you leaving them up?" He looked surprised and said "You want them too?  I can do that but they will stick out."  So I made an Executive Decision and said "No, let's just go with the screens."  

Fast forward about three hours later (as the video at the top of this post shows), he finished. He did a wonderful job.  Our living area was now transformed. It was more open and definitely different.  Since Bill was against this idea all along, he was downstairs in his bedroom during the hours long installation process.  

I paid the balance of the bill ($550).  My screen installed (no names, I hope he doesn't read this blog post) gathered up his things and left. He had already neatly packed up our blinds. He said he could "dispose" of them or I could. I suggested that I would give them to a thrift store.

After he left Bill came up to view the finished job. He didn't like it. I didn't like it.  The whole character of our living space was changed and not for the better.  Oh sure, we had a more "open" look and definitely could see our backyard landscaping and beyond much better but he cozy ambiance we had before was now GONE.  Gone, gone, gone.

I had that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that I just threw away a LOT of money for nothing. How could I be so stupid?  

I'm thinking to myself "Maybe I'll get used to this."  Buy in my heart I knew I wasn't ever going to get used to the new window treatments. With that Wall of Windows now open all the time I felt totally exposed.  Maybe those screen shades work in a minimalist modern condo unit like Pat lives in but Bill and I live in a more traditional house. 

The more I thought about it the more I realized that blinds have much more flexibility than these roll down screens.  

The first day I rolled the screens now. Oh sure, they block out the harsh sun glare rays and I could now see out instead of looking at the wooden slates of our previous window covering.  But to me looking out through those screens I felt like I was looking through a fly's eyes.

Nope, wasn't working for me.

It took me about a day to admit to myself that the new window coverings weren't working.  Something Bill new from the first minutes he saw the windows.

I told Bill that I would have them changed back and I would donate the roll down screens to our local Habitat for Humanity thrift store. He told me he would change them, after all it was he who put the blinds up originally.

Now I have a new appreciation for our wonderful Casablanca mood setting blinds. And I am glad I don't have to store these screens that I will never use and at least they will go in a home and be put to use. But I am still having a hard time reconciling the money that I put out for something that was totally unnecessary.

Last week I turned 76 years old. Like many of you (and you know - smile - who you are) I have made many mistakes in my life. Life decisions as well as monetary decisions, most of which I choose to forget, because the memories are just too painful.

Every time I make one of those mistakes I say to myself "Ron, don't EVER make that mistake again!"  Then I think, at what age will I stop making these mistakes?  Well, I've come to the conclusion that as long as I'm alive I'll make mistakes, hopefully not the same mistake. But as the old adage says "You live and learn."  I just wish some of my mistakes weren't so costly.  

Just for the heck of it, I brought four lottery tickets on Thursday. Two for the Powerball and two scratch off tickets. Maybe I could win some money to offset my stupid decisions.  The Powerball was 90 million.  I didn't win that one (of course, I never do).  But guess what?  I won on BOTH of my scratch off tickets!  $5.00 on one and $20 on the other tickets.  Hey, it's a start. Only $1,025 to go.


Deedles said...

Big mistake? Every cleaning device known to man as seen on t.v.! I don't clean! All the exercise equipment sitting in the garage gathering dust and old clothes. A hot pink living room with an African motif. It was supposed to be Russet #5. I kind of like that one though. I feel your pain, Ron.

Ron said...

You're funny! I DO understand making wrong, costly decisions. A friend of mine not only build a garage but purchased expensive exercise equipment which he NEVER used nor the garage, except to store "things" he bought at thrift shops that he didn't need. I would like to think I was smarter than he was in making these decisions but my decision to go with those sun glare reducing blinds just goes to show that we're all vulnerable in making costly mistakes. God, I hope this is the last one I make but it probably isn't.

Travel said...

DOn't be too hard on yourself. In perspective, it is just a tiny blip on the screen of life.

Ron said...

Thanks David. But I'm still sick about making such a stupid mistake. Time will heal.
Have a great day!

Mike, Studio City said...

We feel your pain.

pat888 said...

Hey Ron - it's hilarious the way you tell your story altho I know the outcome truly wasn't hilarious for you. I guess you know your house and what works. I did like the clean look of the exposed windows - but that's me. But I also like you casablanca blinds. If you do give them away I hope they find a good home. Someone's going to get a great deal.


Jon said...

Don't be hard on yourself, Ron. Your intentions were noble - and I don't think it was a "stupid mistake". Actually - judging from your video - I think the screen shades look very nice on your windows.

I can only speak from my own experiences:
Long ago in California (when I was about 20), my parents had the screen shades installed in their living room windows to keep out the heat and sunlight. It worked fine - but they didn't like the fact that the shades made everything look dark, gloomy, and depressing.

Recently, when I lived in Texas, I bought the "Casablanca" wooden blinds for my home and I installed them myself (TWENTY-TWO WINDOWS!!!). I nearly had a nervous breakdown doing it but I loved the results. They looked great.

I like the shades and the blinds - - but if I had to choose again, I would go with the wooden blinds (even though they're a pain in the ass to clean).

nitewrit said...


next time it's curtains!


Jane Karwat said...

Ron, we have all done something similar. Take a breath. I am going to commit heresy here and say I kind of like them but it is not my house. It is nice Bill can fix this though.

Ron said...

Thanks Mike. You understand (smile).

Ron said...

The more we look at this new window treatment the more we're getting used to it. However, I think Bill's going to take them down when we're in Philly. I'll take your advice and try and sell the shades on the NextDoor app. I'll sell them for half price. There are a lot of houses (Ryan Homes) in this immediate area that has the same sized windows. Good advice Pat, thanks!

Ron said...

I agree with you completely! I like the shades but they do put a dark pall on a sunny day, which is what they're intended to do, cut out the glare. I like both of the window treatments but like you, I prefer the "Casablanca" shades. They create a nice ambiance plus they remind me of those Forties movies where the background was often the shadows on the wall behind the actors that created the mood of film noir. I think Bill will make the change when I'm in Philly with Pat at the end of the month.

Ron said...

Already got curtains! Just for decoration on the side.

Ron said...

I have to admit the more I see them the more I like them. I like the Casablanca shades too. Either one will work but I have to say I prefer the shades. Pat had a good suggestion, sell the shades to a neighbor which is what I will do if we remove the shades.

Anonymous said...

Mistakes happen...we learn we move on. I read somewhere that if something will not impact your life in 5 years, then don't spend more than five minutes worrying about it. Life is too short.

twice in my life I have been home shopping and had a contract, but my gut told me it was not right so I cancelled the contracts and walked away from my deposit.. Expensive, but I do not regret it for a second.. In both instances it was the right choice and had I not walked away it would have made me miserable.

Chalk up your oops to life and keep the story to share with friends who may need to hear it before they makes a rash change that could lead to regret.

Ur-spo said...

ouch oh the pain

Ron said...

Dr. Spo,
I'm getting over it. Time heals. Still hurts though. How could I be so blind? (no pun intended)

Ron said...

Good advice. Thank you. Hopefully others will learn from my experience. I know I have.