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Faux Wood Blinds for a Strapped Budget

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Shading for Peaked Windows

In the last six months, the Canadian economy is said to have shrunk by 0.8%, a cause for enormous concern, says Kevin Paige, former Parliamentary Budget Officer. The oil and manufacturing industries seem to be the hardest hit, and with oil costing $40.00 a barrel, that’s not a great surprise. That’s the same as buying a jar of maple syrup, or a few pints of beer! Agriculture, Forestry, and Construction shows flat growth while the retail and tourism industry reports what is called ‘mixed-bag’ – growth that fluctuates and is not very optimistic. “It’s a little like Armageddon right now,” says Jason Elvy, of JAB recruiting in Calgary. “We’re having multiple layoffs in the thousands from organizations and we’re up to the third wave of large-scale layoffs.”

I worked in the accounting department of Conoco Philips in Calgary. Life was not hard, we got by fine. Barry works for the Fire Department, where jobs are secure, by and large. But I just got a red slip, the company having cut 7% of its staff, in response to plunging oil prices and uncertainty over whether crude could keep falling in value. I now know what ‘going cold all over’ means. All of Barry’s wages go towards paying the mortgage. Our sons go to community college, and work part time in a department store and waiting tables in a downtown restaurant. Now that I’ve lost my job, I just don’t know what we’re going to do for bread and butter, and defaulting on bank payments would prove very dangerous for us. This evening, Barry announced that he got a job pumping gas, to supplement our income. Which now means that we’ll rarely get to meet each other – he’d be back home to just about swallow some dinner and hit the sack in a fatigued stupor. But he doesn’t seem too perturbed. It’s I who walks around with a lump in my throat.

And we coast along. I have stopped buying frozen dinners and convenience foods. The one good thing that has come from the loss of my job is that we have started eating healthy. I even bake bread now, having realized it’s quite easy to do, and the boys eat pies and meat loaves that are homemade, and according to them, tastier than anything else they’ve eaten! The house is looking cleaner and more organized, the windows now gleaming, the curtains and cushion covers all washed, the rugs regularly vacuumed, and the beds all made hotel style! No more sending the clothes to the laundry, it was all getting done at home. The windows were left open for a couple of hours every day to have some fresh air circulate, adding to the new brightness of my home. In the meanwhile, I have sent out applications for accounting jobs, primarily in the food and tourism industries that seem to be doing much better than oil and manufacturing. I perpetually have all my fingers and toes crossed, hoping to get a call soon.



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Hardly having used our living room all these years, except when we entertained on occasion, I never realized that the bare 8’ by 8’ window in the living room should be a cause for concern, as even the boys never used it – the AV equipment was in the family room that was more comfortable to lounge around in. The window was peaked, adding 3’ to its height, following the lines of the roof – ah, now I remember why we’d let it be. We had a clear view of the neighborhood, and we didn’t want to cover the peaked window. Besides, it would require loads of fabric that would hide the beauty of the window. But now that I was home, I realize that I spend a lot of time here and have absolutely no privacy – it’s a clear view inside, aside from which the room felt uncomfortably warm, especially as it was an inoperable window.

I decided to scour the shops downtown for deals to cover my window. And I was so disappointed, as everything seemed way over the small budget Barry and I decided to set aside, as it would certainly help reduce the load on the HVAC that was functioning at bare minimum when everyone was at home, and not at all when everyone left – it was just me, and I’d learned that natural ventilation kept the house cool. But this was something that needed to be addressed, and when Barry suggested that I might find something online, I pounced on the idea with alacrity. And it was wonderful – so many options, and really good deals, especially the Canadian online website that sold the same products one could buy from American websites, I found some really fabulous Shangri-La Sheer Shades going discounted, but they were an expensive product, and I finally decided on the Lake Forest 2 1/2-inch Faux Wood Blinds by a company called Graber, and for under $450.00, I had my windows covered with 2 panels within the frames (inside mounted). I chose a textured finish for the slats called the Coconut 7299, a shade of white that blended with my carpet and the ceiling with its molded edges. The blinds gave me control over both the amount of light I needed and privacy. I could turn the vanes up to deflect the afternoon’s sun rays to the ceiling, from where it would be harmlessly diffused, illuminating the room and preventing a view from outside. I also got a 3” common Majestic Valance with returns. The corded operations suited just fine for now. And they were shipped to me free of cost, DIY instructions to help me with its installation, all the components having arrived with the package – all I needed was a level and a power screwdriver or drill. The peaked area was covered with the same, cut to size, by was not operable. I left the vanes in the closed position. This way, it cut any undesirable heat gain or view through the peak while leaving its architectural splendor intact.
All I need now is another job!




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