They say the windows are the windows to the soul


At long last! THEY’RE HERE!!!

Dedicated Casa Fickbonne readers (‘sup Andrea) will remember that this spring our house was BRUTALLY ATTACKED by fist-sized globes of ice hurtling from the atmosphere. That’s right: the hail did about $15,000 worth of damage to our house, and since then we’ve been working with insurance and an exteriors contractor to get it all fixed.

The most pressing issue was, of course, the windows.

Yeah. Not cool.

So we spent almost two months with our windows boarded up while the contractors replaced the roof and gutters. We had to wait a little while for them to order the windows because–of course!–our house is a century old and it’s not like anything in the place is a standard size. So we got custom windows!

Last week our team of brilliant and friendly contractors came in and replaced the broken windows. Because insurance was paying for the broken windows, we decided to spend some of our own money to replace some of the old but unbroken windows too. We got a little bit of a discount because we were giving the contractor so much business on our hail-damaged house.

So now we have new windows in the bathroom and both bedrooms! FEAST YOUR EYES!



Beauteous, right? My crappy photography doesn’t do them justice. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such perfect windows in my life. Check it:

These babies are DOUBLE HUNG. They slide up and down and all around!

They have SCREENS. Yes, that’s right! At last we can open our windows without turning our house into Mothapalooza 2017!

They even LOCK! Yes really! Gone are the days when we’d leave the house and just hope no one would slide a window open!

They AREN’T EVEN WOOD. Nothing against wood as a building material, but it leaves something wanting where weather-proofing is concerned.

They’re even DOUBLE-PANED. Think of all the energy savings from these well-insulated bad boys.

They MAINTAIN THE PERIOD AESTHETIC OF OUR 1921 CRAFTSMAN BUNGALOW. Our original windows have wooden grids in them to hold the panes in place. The new windows have the same grid patterns as the old, so they won’t look too out of place on our old home.

The one in the bathroom is even TEMPERED GLASS. Yeah! I didn’t have to do my own half-assed frosting job. See?


Have I mentioned I love my new windows? They’re Simonton, by the way.

The plan is to replace all the windows in the house eventually, and we’ve gotten a good start thanks to the insurance. If I have my druthers, we’ll replace the kitchen windows within the next six months. Especially since one of those jerks recently smashed my thumb so bad I’m probably going to lose the nail.

Much thanks to Energy Star Exteriors for all their hard work on our house. Charlie, Darren, Ken, and the whole team were just about the nicest, most reassuring people to work with. The owner of the company, Kirk, even came out to my house when I thought there was a problem, and made sure to work with me personally to make sure I was completely satisfied with the work. And as you all know, I appreciate when companies treat me like the queen I am!

The roof and gutters are 10x better than when we moved in, we have effective ventilation throughout the house, and our windows are perfect.

The last piece of Hailmageddon recovery: painting the house. Stay tuned!


Dog tested, dog approved


In the further adventures of Mrs. Fickbonne Learns About Carpentry, I made a thing for my pupper!

Strider is getting on in years, and his hips and back are starting to hurt. Poor little guy. Apparently, leaning all the way down to the floor to eat and drink is hard on an old dog’s back.

It’s hard to get him veterinary care regularly because of his behavioral issues, so I’m all about the preventative measures. (Don’t worry, our vet makes house calls and he’s wonderful.)

So I decided to build a stand for his bowls. An elevated canine feeding station, if you will.


Cute, right? Here’s how I did it!


  • A recycled wooden pallet (there are thousands on Craigslist)
  • Assorted screws and nails
  • Jigsaw (special thanks to Brock for loaning me his!)
  • Drill with boring spade, hole saw, or dremel attachment (you just need something to make a big hole)
  • Saw of your choice (I used a handheld circular saw but in hindsight a reciprocating saw might have been better)
  • ¬†Pencil
  • Dog bowls with rims (I just used the bowls we got for Strider at Petco years ago)
  • Orbital sander
  1. First, build your basic platform. Remove boards from one side of the pallet and nail or screw them in between the boards at the other end of the pallet. If you look at the picture above, I chose the side that had sort of natural “feet” on the bottom of it. You’ll also noticed I used kind of grubby nails and screws from the Garage of Wonders. I wanted that DIY, industrial look… which wasn’t that hard given my carpentry skills.
  2. Next, flip the bowls upside down and use them to trace circles on the platform where you want them to go. Make sure you have enough room between them and on the sides for the pallet boards to hold together.
  3. Cut off the excess pallet with your circular or reciprocating saw. How much? Dunno! Eyeball it, fool. I certainly did.
  4. Put your hole-making attachment on the drill. I used a boring spade, which comes standard with most drill bit sets, and it worked fine. Drill a hole in the middle of each circle.
  5. Make sure to have your dog hold down the electrical cord while you’re working with power tools. For safety, of course. Exhibit A:

    image1 (2)

  6. Jigsaw time! Use your starter hole to… start the bigger hole you’ll be cutting with the jigsaw. DO NOT CUT ALONG THE LINE. Leave yourself about a quarter inch of space between the line you traced and the cut. Don’t worry if the holes are a little rough at first.
  7. Oh no, a piece of the middle board fell off because it was no longer attached to anything and also PHYSICS! Good thing you have a whole pallet of scrap wood to work with. Flip your platform over and use a bit of scrap wood to reattach the middle piece to the boards around it with some short screws. Good job. You’re doing great.
  8. Once your holes are cut, see if the bowls fit! They should fit fairly snugly, with their rims resting on the boards. If they don’t, use your jigsaw and sander to widen the holes gradually until the bowls fit. Don’t go overboard or you’ll have to start all over. And don’t worry if the holes are perfect, because the bowls will cover the edges of the holes.
  9. Once the holes are the right size, take your orbital sander and sand down the edges and surfaces of the boards. Don’t want your pup getting a splinter, do you? Don’t sand too much, as that will get rid of that old-timey pallet board aesthetic you’re going for.

Make sense? Really? Wow, because I had no idea what I was doing. Anyway, here’s how it turned out!

image1 (1)

Strider was VERY resentful of me messing with his food bowls. They’re raised above the floor only a little bit right now. Soon, I’ll add bigger feet to them so they’re a more comfortable height for my old doggo. But in the meantime, I’ll let him just get used to the difference.

Still waiting for him to say thank you. What an ungrateful wretch.