Sunday, May 7, 2017

Installing new screen door requires sense of humor

Three or four times in my life a doorknob has come off in my hand, and I always do the same thing. I look at the knob, I look at the door, and then I do a stoic "take" at some unseen audience, a glance Jack Benny used to kill with on T.V. 

So it was again recently when the handle of my screen door busted off, only four years after installation. They don't make plastic like they used to. In fact, they never used to make it that way either. 

I am a do-it-yourselfer, due to a faulty gene I inherited from my dad, whose credo was, "Any job worth doing once is worth doing again right."  A do-it-yourselfer is not a "handyman," in the same way that a trapeze artist is not a skydiver, although superficially there is some overlap. 

My dad had a book called "The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Fixing Everything," which redefined "everything" as a lot of things sort of like what you need to do but just different enough to cost you about $200 in bad assumptions. 

After the handle broke off, I found an old phone cord and looped that through for a handle. It looked a little hillbilly, but it's not like we have fancy people over like the Trumps or the Nugents. 

Finally, though, the little pneumatic tube that keeps the door from closing too fast broke off, and triggered my "two fails" rule. If two things fail on the same item, it is time to replace that item, unless that item is a blood relative. Then you call a guy.

I cut the door channel flange wrong, mistaking the top for the bottom. I am such a chip off the old block. Unless you are a door connoisseur you won't notice. And who invites those people over, anyway? 

The kit was also short by four screws. I was unable to install the bottom draft-blocker flange. If this is a calculated tactic—figure four screws times 1000 screen doors—some genius at the company is saving them fully $17 a year. Kudos, Biff. 

My dad would have been proud. He always felt that blocking drafts was overrated. But a screen door is a civilized thing, like a doily on the back of the couch, except better at keeping the dog from slaying the mail man. 



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