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Power tools make fabulous murder weapons.

14 May 2010 (Fri)

It’s safe to conclude I have officially lost my shit.

Storm Door (in tact)

Storm Door (featuring Reverse-Barn-Door Effect)

Here’s the thing: I’ve been wrestling with this god-forsaken apartment’s storm door for as long as I can remember. It has two panels: the top is a window, the bottom is a large metal sheet (see diagram). The problem? The metal sheet keeps popping out of place, and then I live with a gaping hole in the bottom of my storm door for approximately two years before maintenance finally gets around to ordering me an entire new door.

For the record, I have made the best of a bad situation: This second time around, I discovered that the gaping hole is like a reverse-barn-door: perfect for things like setting my groceries inside without having to actually go inside; sitting at my door to watch the rain/snow; even letting in small woodland creatures (still convinced that’s how The Bionic Mouse captured the castle…).

So really, living with a broken door isn’t a problem. But it seems to be the one thing all visitors comment on: in that sad, pitying, “Wow, you really live in a shithole, but if I couch this as a joke, maybe you won’t feel so bad?” kind of way… which is the sole reason I bother asking the rental company to fix the door at all.

So I’ve gotten two brand new doors, and both times they were being installed, I’ve heard the workmen exclaiming something to the effect of (loosely translated):

“This is weird. Someone ordered the wrong size door.”
“There’s no ‘wrong size,’ they’re all the same.”
“They can’t be; this one is too big. It won’t fit.”
[fumbling and cursing and a smoke break or four]
“It’s just the width. Push real hard. It’ll go.”

And that’s when they install a door that’s about half an inch too wide for my doorway. While it’s true that storm doors come in standard sizes, that does not negate the possibility that some doorways are not standard size. Would it kill the rental agency to maybe take some measurements, and maybe order a custom goddamn storm door, so maybe I’d stop calling and maybe they could stop replacing the standard ones that never fit?!

…Obviously, yes – yes, it would kill them.

So whatever…I get a new storm door, and I should be grateful and get over it and stop writing about stupid shit on the internet. Because really, once they shove the door into place, it shouldn’t much matter that the door is too big, right?

…You’d think that, but you’d be wrong.

Here are some facts: That stupid m.f.-ing bottom panel is made specifically to fit in the storm door at a certain width. Sure, it’s pliable. You can force it to fit into a narrower space than the manufacturers intended. But, much like murder and too many burritos, there are consequences. As soon as you shove that panel into a too-narrow space, it behaves a lot like this layer of fat on my midsection behaves when I try to shove it into pants two sizes too small. The same rule applies: At some point, something has to pop loose. Solid matter does not just disappear because you want it to. Physics is a total bitch that way.

I’m sure there are other factors: namely low-quality rubber grips that hold the panel in place; and/or low-quality glue holding the rubber grips to the door frame, resulting in the panel ripping the rubber strips from the doorframe in its effort to free itself. But the general principal is clear: this is about size, and spatial relations, and shit that’s not very difficult to grasp if you can count, and also have a general understanding of the most basic laws of nature.

I have tried explaining this to the workmen before they install the new door(s). This is futile, and I don’t know why I bother. Having a uterus means I am not qualified to understand, let alone explain, anything involving hand tools or basic engineering. Attempting to argue this fact always results in one of two reactions: A) The blank stare (in the workmen’s case, presumably because they neither understand physics nor English… or possibly both); or B) The bemused smile, because look at me! I’m a circus freak! “Woman Pretends She Has A Brain; May Actually Be Able to Fix Something Besides a Meal.” (The joke’s on them; everyone knows I don’t fix meals. But I can replace a shattered car window and pour a concrete sidewalk, saving you far more money than it takes to order some fucking take-out because I won’t cook. It breaks even.)

So last week, I noticed the panel was beginning to bow a little. I pretended it wasn’t happening because that’s a source of rage I don’t particularly need right now. But this morning, I had to admit defeat. Round Three of “Door vs. Physics” goes to Physics. Sure enough, the lower right corner of the panel has popped out of place. Give it a week, and the entire bottom edging will have slipped out, and then it’s really just a matter of days before I hear the whole thing crashing to the concrete outside my front door. With the sad little rubber grips waving softly in the breeze… And me, laughing maniacally, because sweet Mary Mother of God, I fucking told them this would happen.

So the next step has been decided: I will be pulling the goddamn panel out myself; shaving down an edge to make it fit, and then billing my rental agency for parts and labor. I will also be adding fees  for Workmen’s Idiocy & Laziness, and a surcharge for, “Dear Assholes: Next Time, Don’t Assume the Chick Doesn’t Know What She’s Talking About.”


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