Of course, this being me, nothing is ever easy. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Even my therapist has decided my life will never quiet down.
I have only one door into my apartment. The front door. It was the original door installed when my apartment was built sometime in the 1950’s. It was a good door….When it was put in. There was, however, no weather-stripping. Needless to say, it was a bit breezy around the edges. I could even see daylight down the right side below the door knob.
I didn’t notice it when I first moved into the apartment because the weather was nice. When the weather turned cold and windy it became more noticeable. When winter brought snow and cold winds freezing cold air was always blowing into my apartment and laying in wait for bare feet across the floor.
A Simple Request
I sent the management company an email requesting some weather-stripping for my front door. Come down, install sticky backed weather stripping and be done. Simple right? Apparently not.
The handyman came and began installing heavy-duty weather-stripping. The kind that has to be screwed in. Awesome. I was excited. Then it happened. The door frame split straight down right through the latch. The handyman repaired it as best he could so the door would latch and lock.
A Simple Solution
I spent another two weeks waiting for this new door. Handyman is back to install my new door. He removes the molding around the door so that he can measure it properly. The frame splits again even worse than before. After careful measurements Handyman goes to the hardware store to purchase a new door.
This is where a simple story becomes a saga. A standard door will not fit. Since my front door needs to be wider, shorter and deeper it must be special made. Again Handyman tries to fix my door frame so that I can close and latch my door. The wood is too old and there has been too much damage. Now my door has cold air blowing in around the edges and it can no longer be locked. It does not even latch.
Another two weeks before my new door is to be ready. My apartment is so cold the heater never turns off at 69 degrees. I nail a flannel sheet over the door to keep at least some of the cold air out. I don’t have an extra blanket or I would have used one. I even weigh down the bottom so that it does not fly when the wind blows.
Daughter and I spend most of our time wearing two pairs of socks, sweaters and wrapped in blankets. Taking a simple shower has now become a polar event. The water may warm cold bodies, but as soon as you step out you start to shiver with cold. I have a gas heater and my gas bill has tripled in just two months since I am obviously trying to heat the outside.
The wind blows directly into my kitchen and on my refrigerator. Now things are freezing. A bottle of root beer explodes and covers everything with sticky brown syrup. Gallons of milk are solid blocks of ice. The butter on my counter is just as hard as the butter in my refrigerator. I know that I have been wanting more freezer space but this is going a little far.
The New Door
Handyman calls with fabulous news. The new door is ready and he will be down the next day to put it in. There is joy in my apartment this day.
Of course, it is snowing again when Handyman shows up with my beautiful new door. Since we will have no door for a while we turn off the heater, wrap up in our coats and snuggle under our blankets. Simply take out the old door and slide the new door into place. Right? Wrong!
Apparently the original door was installed to last as long as the building. It was a “tongue-in-groove” set up. This means that the top of the door came down and inserted into a slot on the door frame. The center of the door frame is smaller that either outside. The new door does not fit. While I am sure that both Handyman and I were thinking the words, there was no verbal swearing.
Installation From Hell
Handyman assures me that he will get the door in. Of course this is a necessity since I now have no front door at all. He goes and retrieves all his fun, big power tools. He will need to “adjust” the size of the door opening. In other words, there will be a lot of cutting and dust. I covered my electronics with the sheet that had been over the door.
Handyman does this work as a way to earn extra money. It is not his regular job. So, here he is at my apartment on a cold, snowing Saturday morning working hard so that I can have a door. What should have been a simple one hour job had turned into a five-hour adventure.
Finally the door is installed. Just one more hitch. The wrong door knob and dead bolt had been sent with the door. It did not fit. I did not know until then that there was a difference in size between an indoor knob and an outdoor knob. An indoor knob has a shorter latch and is closer to the edge of the door. An outside knob has a longer, stronger latch and is farther from the edge of the door for strength and safety. They had sent an inside set. He had to go to the hardware store and purchase the correct set.
Because the replacing of my door was only supposed to take an hour or so I had not cancelled Daughters harp lesson. I did text and make arrangements to come a half hour later. It is, however, time to go. I gave Handyman my spare key so he can set the locks to work with it and left. It is a half hour drive to harp lessons and it was still snowing.
After harp lessons we always stop at my mother’s so Daughter can play for her. During the drive between harp lessons and my mother’s I got a phone call from Handyman. My door was fully installed and the locks had been keyed. It is 3:30 in the afternoon.
Warmth At Last
On returning home we are greeted by a beautiful new front door. The apartment is only 61 degrees after having the heat off for the whole day. We turn the heat on and I begin to vacuum up all the dust. Luckily I have dusting attachments for my vacuum. Once I got the dust off my floor I begin on the furniture, artwork, lights and whatever else needed to be cleaned. It took me about an hour.
We are enjoying our new front door immensely. It is snug so it takes a little effort to open and close, but we really don’t care. Our home is warm now. No more cold breezes across the floor. No more freezing when getting out of the shower. My refrigerator is no longer freezing everything.
If I had the money I would have tipped Handyman $100 for his efforts on our behalf. As Daughter says, “He is my favorite person in the world right now.”