Friday, September 23, 2011

Able-Bodied Female Again - Almost

I've not written for awhile and I'd like to say it's because I've been doing tons of 'stuff' around the property. I've not, mainly due to finances, but I continue to plan and imagine. The past couple of days I've done a few things:

Back door
Being a single mother of three, there wasn’t much I couldn’t do. I could hang drywall, replace a toilet, build a deck, brakes, oil change and tune-up on a vehicle, or plant, maintain and harvest a garden to last a family of four through the winter. That was thirty years ago.

After 10+ years behind a desk and in an airplane seat traveling for business, then writing, teaching, and living in a city where everything is within walking distance, I became very soft. Very! This I knew and was prepared for when I made my move to the mountains. What I wasn’t prepared for was all the mechanical aptitude I’d lost.

The first example was the screen doors I needed to hang on the front and back doors. Simple wooden doors with all hardware included. Place the door in the jamb, mark where the hinges go on the jamb and door, drill holes and screw down. Simple enough, except I didn’t have a drill. Thankfully, I have neighbors that do. And, he had an extra screw gun that he gave me. Nice. Even with all the assistance, nothing ever comes that easy, at least, not for me.

The minute I placed the door in the jamb, or tried to, I knew there was a huge problem. Either the door or the jamb was out of square, because the door didn’t fit into the jamb. That was the front door. Tried both doors in that jamb, then tried both doors in the backdoor jamb, and none fit correctly. Off I go traipsing next door to ask if they have a plane. Of course, of course, I can use it, and of course, it’s been thirty years since I’ve even touched one. Thankfully, men have this need to take care of damsels in distress.

 He planed one side, didn’t fit; planed again, and again; then he planed the other side, didn’t fit, planed again, and again until finally it fit, so he went home. However, once I drilled and screwed, the bottom stuck. Off came the door and the bottom planed, again and again. Everything fit perfectly except when the door closed; the inside caught on the doorjamb and wouldn’t close. I quit. Took the door down and left it sit on the porch until the other neighbor came by. “I thought Floyd said he got it all hung for you.” I told him the problem. “I don’t know why Floyd couldn’t take care of that. It’s not rocket science. I’ll come over later and hang the door for you.”

Front door
I’ll be damned if you will!!

I hung that door back in the holes drilled and got an old fashioned utility knife and shaved the inside of the door where it met the jamb and wa-la, a screen door hung. I moved onto the back door. Planed the sides and hung the door. Both still need a bit of sanding on the bottoms to prevent the minute sticking, but they are hung and in operation daily. After all, it’s not rocket science!

Today, I finally hung the water hose holder. My goodness. I used to be able to look at a hole or a screw or drill bit and know—2/3, 5/8, 3/4—not anymore. Obviously, mechanical aptitude is a use it or lose it ability. It was going through siding and into cement block, so my neighbor said I definitely needed to use an anchor. He gave me cement drill bits to use and then he and his wife hit the road—over-the-road truck drivers.

The holder got hung but it took me an hour. I must’ve made fifteen trips in for different size anchors, different size screws, forgot the hammer to get the anchor in, go back for a different size drill bit, drill again, more anchors and more screws. Finally, I said fuck the anchors and used the heavy-duty screws. Solid! The worse part of this whole scenario was winding the hose. How can you possibly forget how to wind a hose? By the time it was over, my back hurt so bad I could barely make it back into the house. I won’t mention how I would’ve reacted if one of my kids hung a hose like that.

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