March 2, 2023

On Tuesday I decided I would replace the door on our back porch.  It was rammed by a wheelchair before we moved in.  I had reattached the hinges with larger and larger screws on several occasions.  The plastic we placed over the door worked well but now Zena was going in and out several times a day.  Cold and rainy weather is forecast for this weekend, and it was time to replace the door while the weather was good.  I researched online and realized I needed to see the door before buying one, so I took off for the box store.  None of the examples were exactly what I wanted but I decided on a triple track with screen and sliding windows.  When we got home I decided to wait until the next day to install the door.  I figured that would give me the day and I would not have to worry about the critters getting into the bird feed as they did last year.  It was a good plan at least.

Day 1 – I got up late Wednesday and was hardly raring to go but the door needed to be installed so I cut it out of the box.  Loki has been driving Melissa crazy getting under the table, chewing on the pots, and knocking over the succulents along the wall.  She asked me to use the box to make a wall to keep Loki out of the plants.  While I did not know how to make a cardboard wall, I knew it had to be easier than installing the storm door (can you say procrastination?).  It took about an hour to cut the box and then attach the three 26 inch (65 cm) high strips together and then place the 20 foot (6 m) cardboard wall.  It worked, keeping Loki out and making Melissa happy.   By then it was time for lunch.  After lunch I installed the jamb kit to expand the 37.5 inch (95.25 cm) hole to fit the 36 inch (91.5 cm) door.  The jamb required finishing nails and caulk, so it was off to the hardware store.  After attaching the kit there was still a half inch (1.25 cm) difference.  I began to install the frame to the jamb before reading the instructions (wrong).  When I read the instructions, it said to first attach the hinge bar to the door so I took it all down.  I spent the next hour trying to figure out which way the bar had to go to attach it to the door.  I finally realized I had misread the instructions.  After attaching the hinge bar, I slid the door into the hall and fixed supper.  No door tonight.

Day 2 – Melissa was sensing my frustration and found a YouTube video on how to install a storm door.  I followed the instructions along with playing the video and hoped for the best.  As the video began the handyman mentioned installation should not take more than 30 minutes (really?).  Things did proceed faster, and with Melissa’s help I got the door attached to the jamb.  Even using the expander provided in the door kit, I was still short by the half inch I had noticed the previous day.  Back to the hardware to find a half inch (1.25 cm) by 2 inch (5 cm) by 80 inch (203 cm) shim.  While they did not have exactly what I needed, I found something close.  I used the finishing nails to attach the strip to the jamb I had installed yesterday.  The door kit had included a small bit to drill the holes for the various screws, but since it was a steel door it broke on Day 1.  I drilled the screw hole with bits I already owned (breaking one and bending another).  After installing the handle, I noticed there was the same problem with attaching the clasp to the jamb (half inch/1.25 cm by 2 inch/5 cm).  I tried everything I could think of to attach the clasp to no avail.  I finally used a small piece of the half inch shim and whittled it down until it fit.  The door was up, and once more Melissa was happy.

THOUGHTS:  As you can tell, I am more academic than manual.  I do like to at least try and perform simple electrical (fans) and carpentry (door) work.  This often results in procrastination and longer hours than a “normal installation”.  My brother-in-law is both literary and manual and plans extensive projects (building his house and his garage).  That means I do more writing and he does more building.  People have different skills but when we use those skills together, we can accomplish amazing things.  Act for all.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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