Installing new door puts Bob in a jamb

Installing new door puts Bob in a jamb By Bob Karolevitz It seemed like such a small, uncomplicated project, even for a mechanical dumb-dumb like me.

All I had to do was replace a defective aluminum wood-core storm door on our porch with a lifetime-guaranteed replacement, complete with all the necessary parts.

That, of course, was after I slammed my finger in the rear door of the Explorer in the process of getting the warrantied package loaded. It only took two weeks for the battered digit to heal.

They were very solicitous and helpful at the lumberyard. They got out the first-aid kit and bandaged my bleeding finger without resorting to Medicare. Negotiations with the manufacturer were hassle-free, and I eventually got the door home without further damage to me or it.

Then the fun began.

"You don't need to call a carpenter," I told Phyllis confidently. "I can do the job myself with no trouble."

That was before I opened the big carton and found the instruction booklet � in English and Spanish. As it turned out, part of it was all Greek to me, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Taking the old door off was a bit of a challenge, although I'm usually pretty good at taking things apart. Putting them back together is another matter, though. Several of the hinge-leaf Phillips head screws stuck pretty tight, and it was quite a chore getting them loose.

(Incidentally, did you ever wonder who Phillips was?)

I finally got ready for the installation phase without serious complications, other than the old door almost went crashing down when I got the last screw removed. It � the door, not the screw � was heavier than I thought.

Now that I think of it, I should have read the instructions more carefully. There was a section called Tools Needed which I sort of ignored because, after all, anybody knows that various equipment is required for that kind of work. More important, though, I should have heeded the part that said: "Read the warning below before installation."

But in my haste to get the job done, I went ahead with preliminary things like taking the new door out of the box and identifying all the pieces. With a little bit of a struggle, I managed to get the door up near the opening, but I could tell that the project would take more strength � and hands � than I possessed. Even to me, it became obvious why the instruction booklet said: "The door is heavy and requires two people to lift and install it."

"Phyllis," I shouted. "I need you!"

Fortunately she was not in the middle of baking Christmas cookies or some other holiday preparations, and she came running to my rescue. Together we wrestled the door into place and marked where the screw holes should be drilled. That part went reasonably well, but the worst was yet to come.

Trying to match the holes in the hinge-leafs and the new holes in the door became an exercise in futility for us. When Phyllis got everything aligned, I'd drop the screw.

Oh, I forgot to tell you that I had started the project in mid-afternoon, and by this time it was starting to get dark. The temperature also had dropped to about 24 degrees, and our hands were getting sort of numb � which was why I kept dropping the screws.

Finally my helpmate � from her obviously uncomfortable crouch � said: "Let's quit till tomorrow!" And I quickly agreed.

So as I write this, the door is not yet up. We'll try again, and in the meantime, my frozen fingers have thawed out and I have now read ALL the instructions.

We've also looked up the carpenter's phone number. Just in case.

&#1691999 Robert F. Karolevitz

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