Closing and opening a door

image: hardware

I said something to a friend the other night about how I don’t know how to fix things, I just learn to adapt to them.  At the time, I was speaking explicitly about my wonky door which doesn’t close firmly unless you futz with it.  Wonky and futz are technical terms, obviously.  When the words left my mouth, my friend and I both mentally noted what I had said and, while I don’t know about him, I know I’ve been thinking about that personal epiphany a lot in the last couple of days.  My inability to fix things is kind of embarrassing, but at the same time, I think that learning how to accommodate for flaws can be a practical solution to a problem.  But are we just talking about doorknobs?

I think that one of the after effects of divorce, is a feeling of personal failure.  Public vows had been made with the best of intentions, as well as an abundance of emotion, yet the marriage has ended.  Two people living as one are guaranteed to expose flaws and demonstrate failures which require attention.  Are the repairs necessary to maintain a healthy, satisfying relationship something which can be taught as simply as how to replace a door’s faulty switch plate?  Does one develop a technique to close the door in a slightly alternative, but still ultimately effective way?

When I consider my lack of hands-on handyman skills, I console myself with the knowledge that I can’t possibly do everything.  But, you know me, I do always manage to see something positive in a situation, and a reality check about one’s limitations isn’t necessarily a bad thing, right? It isn’t as if I’m totally lame – I can sew buttons, fix hems and simple tears in clothing, and I am adept with a glue gun.  It’s just household repairs that I can’t manage and, if you’ve ever sat at my wicked wobbly dining room table or seen the spot in the upstairs hallway where Quinn pushed Liam through into the wall, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I’ve wondered through the years why I have no maintenance skills and think one of the reasons is that, prior to my current address, I’ve never lived in one place longer than 5 or 6 years.  Much less owned a house, of course.  I also didn’t grow up with an adult modeling these handy skills, so I didn’t get to observe how simple, (or complex), routine home repairs happen.  But, I’d like to learn.

Thanks to a friend’s thoughtfulness, and her husband’s forgetfulness when it comes to buying replacement tools for items he already owns but can’t immediately find, I have an adorable tool box.  I’ve developed patience over the years and generally can follow very explicit directions with accuracy.  I believe that doing something the right way is well worth the time invested and will result in something that lasts.  I can do that.  I want to do that.



Filed under musings, Random, relationships

5 responses to “Closing and opening a door

  1. blogs/timesunion/marymartin

    Nice maintenance connections. Well written and food for thought.

  2. Thank you, Mary. These sort of posts are such a mixture of “practically writing themselves” and tons of revising to select the most perfectly expressive word. Exercise.

  3. Kind of missing the point here, but it took about 5 years of home ownership for me to get into the swing of home maintenance. That’s the amount of time it took to transition from “I don’t want to hurt the house” to “what’s the worst that could happen?” The internet is filled with good tips (some are certainly better than others). I tiled the kitchen back splash this year after repeatedly watching a youtube video. And having the right tools makes life a lot easier. I’m slowly building my inventory.

    Another great source of information is a small hardware store. I bet you could take a picture of the door problem with your phone, show it to someone at a small hardware store, and they’ll tell you what you need and how to fix it. Phillips Ace on Central is great, so is Robinson’s on Western, and Shaker Ace on 155 too – all have very nice, knowledgeable people.

    Having friends that are experienced helps a lot and I am lucky to have a few. Since we’re cyber-buds, maybe I can help you out a little. I’m not sure what is wrong with your door, but I do know a Kwikset door knob for an interior door is very easy to install and pretty cheap. Maybe 10 bucks. And depending on the size of the hole in the wall, a California drywall patch might be the way to go. I’m not the best with sheetrock, but these patches aren’t too bad. Here’s a pretty quick demo of the technique:

    There is certainly satisfaction in a job well done. With home improvement projects, you get to see you handy work all the time. And really, what’s the worst that could happen?

  4. Jon – You rock! Thank you for your offer and I just may take you up on it.

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