Monday, September 14, 2020

The Book


I've spent 18 years getting to know someone with a mental illness.   This will be my observations and conclusions on it.   She has bipolar disorder.   I always assumed this meant really happy or really sad.   I was wrong.

Bipolar is a chemical mis-reaction in the brain.   It's the chemicals not working correctly.  Blocking of certain pathways and overuse of other ones.  It can also appear to be a chemical reason for a personality disorder.   

When I met her she was visibly manic.   Heightened states of activity.  Limited sleep.   More energy than I'd ever seen in a person before.   It made her seem like the perfect woman.   She could clean, cook, run a business and care for kids while operating on three to five hours of sleep a day.   It was like living with a super hero.   Unfortunately this is a temporary state of being.   While it's amazing while it's happening, it has consequences.   That kind of energy is addictive.  Who would want to take pills or medication to stop feeling like a super hero?   Not many of us.

The mania was short lived.   There were signs something was wrong.   Her judgement was often bad.  This condition often lead to bad financial decisions, unexplainable arguments, over the top reactions and agressive behavior.   Overall, a lack of concern for consequences.

Something I came to notice later on was that she also had a disconnect in the way her words and actions affected those around her.  She didn't see it and therefore had trouble apologizing or finding some level of contrition when she hurt someone.  She seemed to blaze right past that part of any relationship.  She didn't know how to control her words.  She didn't know when to stop talking.   She couldn't tell when she was getting on someones nerves.   It was like she lived on her own planet sometimes.   A very self absorbed, self righteous state of being.   All that mattered to her was herself even though she obviously cared about others.   I know this sounds impossible but another way to phrase it would be this.   She cared about others but not to the point of being able to control herself and find good ways to listen.

What information she did take in from others was often used against them in future conversations.   In a normal world this is a sign of narcissism.   She wasn't listening to empathise and help but rather to build an assault dossier to use against a person later.   If the brain were not malfunctioning it would be a gruesome example of selfishness.  The results are the same unfortunately.

She was a very nice person who was not very nice sometimes.  A good heart with a bad brain running it.   

She professed faith in Christ and often seemed to understand the premises of Christianity but had a remarkable disconnect in her ability to understand bible verses and teachings.  This while able to quote dozens of notable authors.   Strangely, unable to quote scripture in context and verbatim.  Almost like that spiritual side of her brain was dysfunctional.

All this went on for many years.   It wasn't until she really went off the rails that I started to study Bipolar, Personality Disorders, Narcissism and other related mental maladies.

About 6 months after the birth of our first child she was consumed with an internal depression and self loathing and seemingly, intentionally went on a crime spree.   Not a smart one for the purpose of some financial gain or to feed some drug addiction but rather a completely unexplainable one with no great end goal other than to be caught.   She stole credit cards inside a church with cameras everywhere.   

She was apprehended easily and without a struggle.  She drove into the church parking lot with a heavily marked company truck.   Once the credit cards showed up missing it was easy to review the camera footage, identify her, identify where the truck was from and catch her.

To do some background, when we met she was just out of prison on auto theft and credit card abuse charges she'd attained in her late teens.   She was 23 at the time.   

She was strikingly attractive and looked older than her age as a teenager.   She had an unplanned pregnancy and due to her diagnosis as bipolar her parents encouraged her to give up her child for adoption.  This weighed on her greatly and seemed to exacerbate her mental illness.   Her first crime spree ensued.

Interstate car theft and high speed persutes were involved.   At some point she was encarcerated in a mental facility, overpowered a guard and tied him up with a jump rope and staged a massive breakout.  This seems to have been before the interstate flight and ensuing first jail sentence.

From what I can tell she was in jail for a year and a half on that one.   She and I met within weeks of her release.   She was a superstar.   Beautiful and intelligent and able to run a life without sleep.

At one point she was laying on my office floor when a friend came in.   He said "wow I hope I don't wake her up".   My response was that she didn't actually sleep...  she waited".   It seemed funny at the time but it was really quite true.   It's possible that the lack of sleep also causes the condition of the brain to deteriorate.

When we met I was in a relationship with her younger sister.  Controversial I know.   I had just been through a mid life crisis and had become involved with a girl considerably my junior.  She was beautiful and I met her at church during a time of great disappointment in my life.  

Looking back, I sense both the girls suffered from some degree of psychological malady.   Their mother had battled with depression and I sense had bipolar or some other major depressive condition.   The mother did not communicate well with her daughters and I sense that some of that disfunction bled out to the daughters.   

In whatever case the older sister and I became involved.   I fought with the younger one a great deal partly due to our age difference and partly due to her immaturity which came out once we lived together.  For a short window of time I was involved with both girls and had justified in my mind the reasoning to keep them both.   Almost as a polygamous relationship.   In retrospect this was not only not possible but a terrible life plan and a serious lack of accountability and foresight on my part.   One of the four biggest mistakes of my life.  

In some ways as time went on, I wondered if it was an example of some mental illness on my part.   Many years later I saw that a highly dysfunctional upbringing by my parents had given me great swaths of bad information that I had acted on in ignorance.   Time would show me the error of my ways but it would be many years before that came to light.

Up until then I had lived in a bit of a stoned stupor as I had been smoking pot every day most of my life from the age of 15.   I had effectively locked my personal growth up emotionally just past my fifteenth birthday.   

I had already developed an unhealthy sexual addiction thanks to my step fathers porn collection and his propensity towards teen girls also had given him an unseemly agenda of encouraging me to be sexually overactive to bring teen girls into his sphere of influence.  This was exacerbated by his regular assertions that I was gay.   It became a personal goal to prove him wrong.   I acted out on this training for many years.   I was a sex addict and a drug addict concealing my weaknesses and disfunction in a cloud of smoke.   I was leaving countless people in my wake as I did what my sinful nature found to be natural.   It was the 80's.   The battle cry was "sex, drugs and rock and roll".

Monday, August 24, 2020

Sound Rating Information on Windows

Sound Ratings for Vinyl Replacement Window Glass Packages.

I've been doing some research for a customer by Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

Noise is a big reason to buy new replacement windows.  Some of the widely accepted and published sound information shows that a typical single glazed window will allow you to hear any noises louder than 21 decibels.  Moving to a double paned glass package will cause a move to 24 decibels.  To add Argon Gas filled insulated glass will raise that noise threshold to 32 decibels.

This is a significant change and effectively makes the window twice as quiet.  From a personal experience standpoint I know that most of my customers say the house is significantly quieter at that point.  It's a huge difference.

Some of the industry articles seem to make mention of the STC or OITC.  These are actually testing terminology and will be direct indicators of lowered sound levels.  This chart from my website was originally put out by Cardinal Glass when Argon Gas first hit the replacement window scene.

Alside is one of my suppliers that does extensive testing on STC and OITC data.  They show their Mezzo Vinyl Replacement Windows, Ultra Max and other models have the following performance increases from varied glass packages.

The actual testing information is attainable for all their products at this link:

These options change the thickness and configuration of the window glass to provide varied results.  Overall consensus is that moving to a thicker pane of glass in a double paned application will change the wave patterns of sound as they pass through the glass package.

Typically double paned builders grade windows use single strength glass.  Modern mid range cost vinyl windows will utilize double strength glass and have a 1/2" dead air space that is optimal for Argon Gas.  Krypton Gas is best served with a smaller dead air space and is the upgrade used in a typical triple paned glass package.

From here the next step up is going to be triple glazed with Krypton Gas filled insulated glass.  This is a considerably better glass package from a thermal standpoint as it can lower the U Value from .30 or .29 down to the .16 or .18 area depending on the manufacturer, but it doesn't offer a huge jump in sound reduction.  It does make it a bit better, but not a significant noise difference.

In fact, as I read the data and research, it appears as though double paned glass with thicker (3/16") glass is a better sound barrier than is triple glazing with typical thickness single strength or double strength glass.

Moving up the sound barrier ladder we'd see a double strength glass over 3/16" annealed glass in a double paned glass package with Argon Gas.

The best performance comes from Hurricane rated windows as they are constructed with Laminated Glass in the insulated glass package.  Laminated glass is glass like in the windshield of a car.  It is effectively two panes of glass with a clear plastic between the two panes of glass.  When this is used as the outside pane of a double paned insulated unit you effectively have three panes of glass and a plastic laminate to block the sound.

Here's what data I could get from Archetectural Testing, an independent testing firm that works with glass manufacturers and curtain wall fabricators.  Many of these glass packages are commercial and not available in residential replacement windows but the data is interesting none the less.

There are two different types of Laminated Glass.  One has a plastic film that is .030 inches thick, the other has a plastic film that is .090 inches thick.  The cost difference is significant between the two.

Upcharges tend to run like this.  Double paned with Argon Gas filled insulated glass in a standard sized window will be around 450 to 550 per window installed from a good reputable manufacturer.  Going to a double paned with 3/16" glass in the package will add about 100 per window to that cost.

To upgrade to Triple Glazing with Krypton Gas will add about 200 per window.  Moving up to a Laminated Glass package will add $200 to $250 to the double paned pricing and the thicker laminated glass package will add about $430 per window to the cost of the double paned unit.

Mid range windows and high end windows use the same frame but the glass packages are generally the big variable as are simulated divided lite grids, two toned color configurations and woodgrain interior appearance.  Those all run the cost of a quality mid range product up to the high end range.

I tell people to budget at $600 to $650 for a double paned Low E with Argon that has a lifetime warranty from a reputable manufacturer.  As you can see this window can easily end up in the $1000 a window range when you put the top of the line glass package in it.  It can get even more costly when you utlilize the other upgrades mentioned.

FYI:  Simulated divided lite grids are grids that protrude from the surface of the glass.  This is in contrast to grids that are between the two panes.  A simulated divided lite grid is a grid system designed to emulate true divided lites in a window.  SDL's are somewhat costly at around $20 per lite as opposed to grids between the glass which add about $30 to$35 total to the cost of a window.  In a fifteen lite three foot by six foot tall window there are generally 15 lites and the upcharge is $300 to $350 per window for the cooler grids.

Also, custom exterior colors generally add $100 to $150 to the cost of a window.  This creates a two toned window with a painted or laminated exterior color and a vinyl interior color in beige or white.

While I've researched this on several occasions, I find the data to be somewhat incomplete as a whole.  For the purpose of today's post I'll include what I've found to be relevant links.

New information!   My customer came up with these links as well.

Perhaps it would make more sense to solve the sound barrier requirement with an insert: 
MI Industries offers this on STC ratings of glass packages.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Coppell Vinyl Replacement Windows from NT Window

Vinyl Replacement Windows Coppell Texas

This is a typical starting point for us.   Builders grade aluminum windows that are double paned but often fogged and certainly not energy efficient.  These had grids all the way around.  Grids in replacement windows are usually in front only if used at all.   They are falling out of favor in most remodeling contexts.

Half circle windows are often without insulation in the arches.   This is one of the many reasons they don't work well and seem very hot in the summer and cold in the winter.   We take steps to insulate that void when the old window is out.  No one can see many of the extra steps we take to provide a long lasting, energy efficient solution to modern replacement window and door issues here in the Dallas area.

You never know what you'll find working on an older home...   this time it was apparently a very in tact rat skeleton.   Creepy but kind of cool.

Window installation is the key.  Some crews are in a hurry.  Some are hourly and don't care as much as they should or have the skill level that we'd hope for.   We assure you that 33 years of experience on your job site, at your home, can make all the difference in the world.  We pride ourselves on better installation, better caulking materials and application, better insulation and trim work as well as better care for the property while we're there.

NT Window Energy Master Vinyl Replacement Windows

These are our NT Window Energy Master Vinyl Replacement Windows.  This home in Coppell will be better for decades.   This is a great example of doing it right the first time.

A happy homeowner and his owner....      Replacement Windows add value to the home, and energy efficiency as well as increase your standard of living.   We typically price windows 30% lower than Renewal by Andersen, Clarity Windows, Pella, Statewide Remodeling and many of the best known window installation companies working in North Texas.  We provide great windows with lower markup due to lower overhead.   Find out why we're a Best of Dallas Contractor.   Find out more about us at     

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Cedar Creek Lake Replacement Windows

We did one in Cedar Creek Lake this last week.   It was a challenge to make the trapezoids look good as the opening was out of square about an inch and a half.  That being said, I covered it up pretty well.

I've actually done around a hundred houses out there over the years.   Kemp, Tool, Gun Barrel City are a few of the small cities around Cedar Creek.  It's an awesome community and I love going out there.  About an hour and a half south of Dallas on HWY 175.

Before we started with Bronze builders grade windows from the 70's.  Fogged and pretty ugly.

The biggest trapezoid was heavy.  Around 300 pounds.  We lowered it with ropes and a suction cup.  It was jammed in there pretty good.   I later determined that the 100 or so square feet of windows was about 1 1/2" out of square.  It became apparent on trying to trim them as one unit.  I found a solution though.

To do these correctly you have to split up the out of square in as many places as possible.  Half inch here or there, eighth inch here and there.  I kept the bottom straight with the lowers and the top angle straight with the house.  It was one of the more challenging ones over the last year or so.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

NT Window Energy Master White and Presidential Adobe Vinyl Replacement Windows

A few of our NT Window Projects from 2017

We do around a hundred projects a year here in Dallas and Fort Worth.  These are a few cool ones from last year.   We love doing the highest quality installation work in North Texas.

The white ones are NT Window Energy Master Vinyl Single Hung Windows

We are proud to have been the winner of their "Dealer of the Year" Seven times over the last few years.  One of our favorite manufacturers with a locally made product produced in Mansfield Texas using Cardinal 366 Low E Glass with Argon Gas Filled insulated glass.

The Adobe colored ones are NT Window Presidential Vinyl Single Hung Replacement Windows

A relatively new color that's only been in production a few years but offers an alternative to the typical White or Tan colored windows.  We have these available in this color or a close variation to it from three different window manufacturers.  They are available from NT Window, Don Young Company and from AMI Industries.  AMI makes the Alside Mezzo, Sheffield and Ultra Max Windows as well as the Berkshire Model.  AMI is a frequent re-branding organization and they are often called other names by other window and door installation vendors.

NT Window Presidential Vinyl Replacement Windows in Adobe.

This project is actually one we did in 2004 and these pictures are of a product that is now thirteen years old.  When you pick the right window manufacturer you can count on decades of great performance and a look that really stands the test of time.