Six Easy Steps
By Diane Payne
'Look at all these doors,'Ě I pointed out to my fifteen-year-old daughter who would much rather be looking at bikinis. 'Which one do you like?'Ě
'Oh, brother,'Ě she mumbled.
'Hey, look at this one! It has a retractable screen!'Ě I was as excited as she would have been had she found her perfect bikini. Ania was actually somewhat enthusiastic about this screen.
The box said: Six Easy Steps. Installation in One Hour. I asked the clerk if this was true, six easy steps? 'Have you installed one?'Ě I asked her.
I could tell she was dreading this question. 'No, but it looks simple.'Ě
'Good. Simple, that's for me,'Ě I joked in good spirits.
Once we finally found a way to get the door in the car and make room for my daughter to have a seat, her enthusiasm waned. 'Why do I have to help you hang this door?'Ě
'Didn't you notice how heavy this storm door is? This is top-notch energy efficient.'Ě
'Oh brother,'Ě she moaned.
Once we got home, I opened the box and noticed there were three manuals. I double-checked the box to make sure this was the door with six easy installation steps. Hmmm, six easy steps but three different manuals. I opened the main manual and noticed there were several pages and fourteen steps, none that looked easy. The easy part was removing the old storm door. I looked at the box again and noticed it said something about two specific drill bits. Two drill bits I didn't own. We lived 50 miles from this store and our local hardware store closed at noon on Saturdays. I wondered if I'd be able to work around that drill bit requirement. I did buy a new hacksaw at the store after reading I'd need one.
'Hmmm. I wonder what I should do first?'Ě I asked Ania.
'Aren't you supposed to follow the directions in order?'Ě
'Probably, but I'm not sure about any of this. Here, help me lift the door up. First we have to make sure it's the right size.'Ě
'It's too heavy!'Ě Ania screamed.
'Use your muscles!'Ě
'The box says they'd install it for one hundred and fifty dollars!'Ě
'One day you'll own a house and want to hang a door. This will be a good learning experience.'Ě
'I guess it'll fit. That's good. Now I need to cut some of this stuff off.'Ě
'Don't mess up!'Ě
That was my fear so I cut only the smallest amounts off then hefted the door back, up, sawed off a bit more, then realized I probably should borrow saw horses, like the manual said. I'd have to wait until Monday to buy the correct drill bits for the door handle.
Sunday morning this project seemed just as futile. I tried drilling my first hole and realized my old, puny drill was worthless for this project. As soon as my neighbors came home from church, I asked if I could borrow the husband for a few minutes to drill a few holes. They looked at me with suspicion, but Don came over. When he saw my drill, he returned to get his real drill.
He had never hung a door that wasn't pre-hung and asked why I bought this door. I confessed I didn't know there wasn't a difference and was attracted by the six easy steps. He saw the manuals spread out and my Handyman Book with color pictures, and the print outs I got off the Internet. If I drilled one hole wrong, it was over. No putty for this mistake since it was aluminum, not wood.
After a lot of drilling, Don said he had to go home and eat. 'It should be easy going from this point on.'Ě
'Right. Thanks,'Ě I said, knowing nothing would be easy.
Monday I bought a new drill and the correct bits. Unfortunately, I didn't realize the importance of making sure the template was perfect after I made those false start holes and then realized the hardware wouldn't fit right. Later that afternoon, Don came by to check on my progress. The door was up. But the handle was not quite right.
'Yipes!'Ě he said shaking his head with disbelief that I could butcher the job so badly.
I finally got the handle to fix more-or-less, and was somewhat excited when I thought the lock would even work. When Don checked on my progress again later that evening, he said, 'Well, it's not a work of art but it will do.'Ě
Not a work of art? My expensive door with the fancy brass lock wasn't a work of art but would do.
The next day I bought a wood chisel to work on the handle again. This was day three of six easy steps. I finally got the latch to work but Don was right --it wasn't a work of art. Every day for the rest of the week, I kept chiseling hoping to get the door to shut perfectly. Finally, one week from when I began, I quit chiseling and realized there wasn't any more wood to play with. Not a work of art but I did hang the new door.
About the Author:
Diane Payne teaches creative writing at the University of Arkansas - Monticello.¬† She is the author of two novels: Burning Tulips and A¬†New Kind of Music.¬† She has been published in hundreds of literary¬†magazines, which most recently include:¬† Fiction International, The¬†Rambler, Tea Party, and Arkansas Literary Fiction.¬†¬† More info can be¬† found at: http://home.earthlink.net/~dianepayne/