Sunday, May 11, 2008

Door to Door

Remember when I said I have the attention span of a gnat? And I said my whole house is destroyed? And then I started another two or three projects? Well, I'm still in the midst of all that mayhem and destruction. All the dining room furniture is in the living room because I'm going to refinish my dining room floors. I am. Really. About a third of the living room's painted-over wallpaper has been scraped off and there are about 20 paint chips taped all over the walls. Almost half of the entryway walls have been scraped down to bare plaster. The big ugly White House drapes in the dining room are gone, and now the windows are covered only by lime green roller shades and Sears sheers. (Say "Sears sheers" real fast three times. Go ahead, try it.) The dry sink from the entryway is in my bedroom because I'm going to refinish the entryway floor when I do the dining room floor. Oh, and because I really hated the living room carpet I tore it up and stuffed it in the garbage bin last month. No more, I told myself, and don't start another thing until you finish some of this stuff.

And then the other morning the cutest little chocolate Lab pup you've ever seen broke into my screened-in front porch by pushing through the screen in the front door. I shooed him out, thinking I'd fix the screen later, and went back to bed. An hour later, he was back. This time the hole in the screen was even bigger, and he'd broken the corner of the door frame. Shooed him out again, stuffed the screen into its slot in the frame, and Gorilla-glued the corner back together. That worked for about a day and a half, until the little bugger chewed the corner of the door apart, ripped the screen loose, and broke in again. No one seems to know whose dog this is. No one can explain his fascination with my front porch, either. The screen door, like everything not original to the house, was made cheaply and not well, so I decided it must go. This was a sudden decision made at 9 a.m. after two hours of trying to sleep while listening to cats wail at the front door because they can't go out onto the porch. (We have Killer Possums in the neighborhood, so I don't let the kitties out unless the porch is secure.) I carefully measured the width of the door and drove to Home Depot to buy another one. Note that the nearest Home Depot is, according to Google, 32.64 miles from my house. Note also that I have a Kia Optima, so if you're looking for a mid-size sedan you can haul a door in, this is your car, folks. It wasn't until I got the door home and tried to hang it that I realized measuring the height of the door as well as the width might've been a good idea. Sleep deprivation, my friends. The new door was just over an inch too tall. And me, without tools of any sort to shorten it. So I called the local lumberyard--which I never ever go to because its employees are even more surly and unhelpful than the ones at Home Depot, if that can be believed--and asked them if they'd cut down my door. No, they said. Not, sorry ma'am, we can't do that; not, we can try; and certainly not, sure, bring it right over. Just a flat no. With silence to follow. So I called HD and asked them, and amazingly they said...sure, bring it right over. This may be the only case in history of Home Depot doing more than what is expected. So I drove the 32.64 miles up there again, had the door sawn down, and drove 32.64 miles back home. I'm not good at math, but I think I just put 130.56 miles on my car in one day over a stupid screen door. And then I tried to hang it again only to discover that it was about an eighth of an inch too tall. So I flung it out into my overgrown front yard (my lawnmower's not working and it's rained nearly every day for two weeks here) where it was well-hidden by the weeds and wild onion until today. Today my son ventured to ask me, after I'd had only three hours of sleep, why the front screen door is missing. I explained it, and he thought for a moment and came up with a plan.

Carpenters and woodworkers, intelligent do-it-yourselfers, brothers and sisters and Jan from Gear Acres, do not read what follows.

We went outside in the rain, waded through the calf-high grass and weeds, retrieved the screen door, and....and...my son ground an eighth of an inch off the top of the door with a belt sander. Manufactured by Sears circa 1985, so it's a big heavy one. An electric one. With a long cord. In the rain. 50-grit paper, if you must know. And it ain't pretty, but the door fits. Or, it will when I get around to hanging it on Wednesday or Thursday when I have another day off.

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