Hang the DJ

There are no words in the English language to adequately describe the complexities and horror of trying to hang yourself a storm door. Do not assume anything. Do not kid yourself. Do not pass “Go”. This is not easy and you will more than likely fail, supremely. Do people just say, “Hey today I’m going to hang a storm door on my house that was built in 1922. Before the depression. Should be fun”. They certainly do not.  They hire someone. A handyperson. Someone who talks about shims and shams. Smells like gasoline. My mom had the Home Depot people hang her storm door and they did a poor job of it. There’s a small flaw in the hanging of it. Some small thing they couldn’t correct no matter how hard they tried to bend the laws of physics. Let’s just say the odds are stacked against you.

Surprisingly though, people hang storm doors ALL THE TIME. Progress marches on and people drink Mimosas on Sunday morning. What the hell. It can be done.

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Directions, lolz.

At one point the directions ask me to subtract 1/8 from both measurements to “allow space”. Lolz. Allow space? This house was built in 1922. It’s got plenty of space. It’s roomy in the crotch. Let’s not subtract 1/8 of anything and just put our eyeballing skills to good use. Get over yourself Mr. Technical Writer. You’re a dick.

It takes me about an hour to switch the “z-bars” so it opens from the left. It’s confusing. I’m easily confused too. I don’t even know what a z-bar is until my neighbor John points it out to me. He easily saves me three hours of work. Also, there are hinges and when there are hinges mistakes are bound to happen. Figuring out which way the hinge opens is like quantum physics or some shit.

Things are going swimmingly until it asks me to measure point A and point B. Measure for what? I call for help. My lovely wife Christi answers the call. From where to where do we measure point A and B? The diagram might as well be a hieroglyphic. It’s asking me to figure out the slope of the door sill in order to cut the proper length and angle off of the “z-bar”. Whatever. I understand it in some vague abstract way but it is too futile to put the theory into practice. By now I’m on my second PBR and the cursing is flowing but I am nothing short of determined to hang this mofo. I eyeball it and cut away with my hacksaw. Good eyeballing. Christi agrees. Eff you again Mr. Technical Writer. I see your 1/8 and raise you another.

We go off script a little on the assembly steps of the actual hanging of the door. Putting the top z-bar on last seemed like a recipe for disaster so we did it first. That worked out swell. By the time we got to assembling the latch and handle  the instructions asked my to drill three 5/16th inch holes to mount the handles. It seemed like awfully big holes to be drilling considering the size of the interlocking attachments. Christi questioned it but I said I was taking this one on faith. I drilled the holes and it worked out. What else?

Shims. I suppose every old doorway is a little fucked up. We had to shim the strike plate an additional plastic piece so it would reach the latch. I found a quarter inch riser pad for my skateboard and cut it down to size. A perfect fit. That’s how you do it when you own a house built before The Great Depression. Did I tell you that it is also haunted? Yes, it is. His name is John and he hangs in the kitchen. He should be very pleased with the new storm door that enters into the kitchen. It’s a little upgrade for him.

We still have to prime and paint the trim around the newly installed door. Details details details but I’m not going to sweat it. It only took us four hours to put this door in. What’s another two hours painting and installing the other features that came with it? All in good time. I’m just happy we have a new door. It opens easily and closes with a satisfying click. It has a legit lock on it (not a hook) and has sliding window panes that allows air flow to enter the kitchen in a way never possible before. I can FEEL the difference.

Do I advise that you do this? No. Hardly. This is beyond you. The only way we made it work was through brute force and the collective wisdom and patience of 12 years of marriage. We don’t kid ourselves or hold back. Rulers are nice but neither one of us is ashamed to admit what the exact effect of missing an eighth of an inch is going to have on the overall results. It’s a judgement call. It’s eyeballing it. A minor detail in the big scheme of things when hanging a storm door.

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