Friday, July 03, 2015


[To those who only like Snowdrop delights: she's gone for the holiday weekend and so you wont see her here until Monday. To those who seek out only travel stories -- note the side bar for distant travel schedules. Domestic destinations are announced only when they happen. I must retain some element of surprise, no?]

It's not that I shy away from challenge. Teach a new curriculum? Sure! Follow unmarked roads and paths in an unfamiliar country? No problem!

But my list of things I think I cannot do far exceeds Ed's list (of things he thinks he should not take on). Moreover, though he doesn't necessarily like impossible assignments, he derives great satisfaction in seeing them through. He loves adventure travel (alone, or with me) for this reason. And he rarely (never?) asks for help in fixing things or building things if he thinks (always?) there's a chance he can figure it out himself.

Now comes the weekend of the patio door installation. We could have waited until the end of the month, when a construction guy was available to help him with this, but I was impatient and volunteered to assist instead. I know what you're thinking: a 62-year old inexperienced me, to replace a guy whose business it is to install windows and doors. But, I offered and Ed decided that we can try to do this ourselves.

And so after a breakfast -- quick and dirty, in the kitchen...


We get going. Well, let me be honest: Ed does 95% of the job. I mainly assist in lifting and carrying and clearing and later -- staining and finishing. (Additionally, though I do not know this yet, I will help with sounding authoritative and lawyer like with various parties on the phone.) And so initially, as he toils, I tend the garden.


My plantings target early spring and then July (with carryover into the late summer early fall). By far, July is the best month for the perennials. This is when everything is at once abundant and still fresh.


Okay, I'm being called.

Perhaps the two hardest (and trickiest) tasks will be (we think, incorrectly!) the popping out of the triple window and then the popping in of the heavy patio doors into an installed frame.

There is a drop off from the kitchen to the porch and so the fear I have (shared a tad by Ed) is that when we pop the old window out, I wont be able to support it (I need to keep up my end) and it will come crashing down. Neither of us can tell how heavy it is.

Verdict: it's heavy, but not impossible. Difficult, but not as difficult as carrying up the biggest panel of glass for the porch roof up the winding stairs (project of two years ago).

We continue.


I have to say, for me, the excitement builds. Creating a large opening in the old farmhouse (for the specially fitted extra large patio door) is as grand as extending flower beds. Light and flowers - two things I can never have enough of.

Okay, ready to put in the new door frame?
Let's do it!

It wont go in. The frame is too big. Off by more than half an inch.
A major problem... Ed mutters. He measures the rough opening again, thinking perhaps he had made a mistake. No, it should fit.

He measures the door. It's 3/4 of an inch too tall.


So now we have a huge opening in the house and nothing to put in it.

Ed calls Home Depot. They sold us a custom made (ha!) Anderson door. Carving out a bigger opening is a major headache. I tell him it should not be our headache. I take over negotiating because Ed wont push people to do what they're supposed to do.

Many hours later, we have a cautiously remorseful Home Depot, but still no good resolution. (I dismiss the management offer to send over several pieces of plywood to cover up the hole while they contemplate the next step. From light to darkness, most of the summer months. No thank you.)

As I take on the discussion of compensation, Ed takes out the tools and begins the laborious and many hour work of carving out a slightly bigger opening in the farmhouse, assisted toward the very end by the extremely nice guy who actually sold us the door. He comes over to Take measurements for Home Depot  (I can't believe Anderson sent the wrong door, followed by: they sent the wrong door), but stays to help.


Many, many hours later the house is chiseled up the wazoo and the porch door frame is finally ready to go in. But that's tomorrow project. On this cool night, we'll sleep with a nice big hole in the house. I wanted light -- I have light.