When my daughter Michelle came into town, I roped her into helping saw the bottom off her bedroom door, which scraped against the flooring. YouTube had recommended using a reciprocating saw for the job but when we started it up, I realized we’d be safer wrestling alligators. We settled on the jigsaw as being easier to control.
Here is the problem with sawing the bottom of a door with a jigsaw but no dust mask. It takes forever, and all the sawdust flies up your nose.
“Mom, every time you look away to breathe, your line gets crooked.” She was right. The bottom of the door was as jagged as the teeth of a meth addict. (Or an apocalypse survivor. They say dental care is the first thing to go.) She took a turn with the jig saw, but it was exhausting. We gained an inch for every fifteen minutes of work. I took the last turn and promptly broke the blade, then foolishly touched the broken end and burned my finger. Those kids who lick poles when its 30 below never learn.
Someone told me how to change the blade in the drill. Since Michelle had to head back to her real life, I went out and fixed the door by myself. The sawed off bottom now looks more like the teeth of someone needing braces, but when the light in the bedroom is off, you can hardly tell.
My next project involved courage of a higher sort. My laundry room louvered doors needed some trim. Now that I’m no longer afraid of my mitre saw, I got the pieces cut and only had to nail them in place. The problem was that my clothes dryer sits six inches from the left door and I didn’t want to move it because then the vent hose falls off and I’ve never mastered the art of putting it back on.
So I placed a board across the top of the dryer, put my small kitchen stool beside it and carefully climbed up, making sure to point the nail gun away from my face. (This is not my first nail gun rodeo.) Now I had to contort my body, get behind the dryer and squeeze the gun in place to nail the trim. What with all the bending, the straining and the pushing, I felt like I was giving birth to the nail. I had to take a break just to sweat and curse. (Also happens when actually giving birth.) Finally, I did it. I was gold. Home free.
Or so I thought. Stepping down proved to be a bigger problem. Let me set the scene for you. You’ve already figured out that I’m not Mike Holmes with his ‘do it right the first time’ mantra. I’d love to do it right, but first I have to learn to do it. I’m a creative type, which means that I’m using the longest air hose possible on my compressor. It snakes thirty times around the laundry room, heads back toward the rumpus room and finally joins up with the compressor right beside the stairs. I’ve got boards lying around, hammers, measuring tape. It’s a zoo of wild tools and the zookeeper is not always on top of the wild game.
But the good thing is, I know this about myself. I know that having three pictures with the glass out and two broken mirrors does not happen to people who are really coordinated. So while I’m extremely disorganized in most things, I’m also wary. I work like I expect a horde of zombies to enter the room at any minute. I chant to myself, ‘don’t die doing this,’ and it seems to help. So when I leapt from the dryer to the low stool and it skated across the room, I held onto the nail gun and used my newly acquired gym muscles (thank you, Tracy!) to stay aboard.
This was one of those moments in life when you realize that two parts of your life are coming together: weight class and carpentry. Because I’ve learned to hold my position in a four hour squat (just kidding, kind of) I skated that sucker right across the room until I bumped into the vanity and stopped abruptly. I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “That was gymnastic!” Because if there’s anything that I’m not, its that.
I’m coming along in my weight class, but I have one remedial move where I have to hold onto a bar. It seems that the lunge, where you step backward onto one bended knee and then get up to do it 99 more times, is beneficial. My thigh muscles did not let me down. Ever since surfing the laundry room floor, I have begun calling myself Skater Girl, Avril Lavigne style.
I remain humble about my skills, and yet I have a certain sense of pride.
A. I got the job done.
B. I didn’t lose a hand, or die. Others might question my sanity, but I call my finished work while not dying on the job a success. Now, here’s a photo of my 45 degree upper corners on the louvered doors.
ps. I was missing a slat so I boiled a piece of wood in water and made it fit! It seems I’m turning into an older, more inept version of McGyver.