There is nothing quite like fixing a pocket door and drinking a gin and tonic afterwards.
Let me rephrase that.
Today I fixed the pocket door between my bedroom and bathroom and I rule the world.
For some time now this door has been getting more and more crooked and more and more difficult to open and close. The top of the door was flush with the jamb but there was about an inch gap at the bottom.
An inch is just enough for prying kitty eyes to peer in and enough for a quasi-perfectionist to freak out over.
So a few weeks ago I stood up on a chair and tried to figure out how to adjust the door. There was a plastic thing that rolled in the track and a screw and nut that were impossible to get at and some other wing-thing that stuck out. It didn’t seem possible to get any type of tool in there so I did what any normal homeowner would do. I ignored it for a few more weeks.
After a discussion about screwed up pocket doors at work the other day however, I got all Olympian about it. ” I can do this. I can win the gold in this pocket door event. Or at least medal.”
So today I dragged the chair over again and tried a series of flat wrenches on the nut to see if I could raise the door. And I made it worse. So I tried turning the nut the other way. It was difficult because there’s no room to maneuver the wrench. Eventually however, I noticed the door hanging straighter and when I measured the bottom gap it was only 1/4 inch.
That’s when I made the announcement, “I’ve fixed the door. Come see it.”
My son came in, looked at the door, which was now almost flush, tried to open it, and it promptly fell off the track.
“Oh shit. Sorry, ” he said, and lumbered away.
“Oh!” I exclaimed, while thinking, “Well fuck me. ”
Back up on the chair, I try to shove the door in the track. “I’m fucked, ” I say. There’s no way to get this plastic thing back in the track. But then a miracle. The door is back in the track. Lovely. I give it a few pushes and pulls for good luck, and it falls off again.
I examine the plastic piece. Is it broken? I shove it in the track again. Pull. Push. It falls off again. Times 3.
I draw a diagram of the parts and drive down to Babe’s hardware. In my desperation I totally abandon my “never ask for help or directions” rule.
“My pocket door was crooked. I tried to fix it. Now it keeps falling off the track. This is what the parts look like,” I tell the salesman.
We look at closet door parts. There is a discussion about the wheels in the track, whereupon I realize that I never saw wheels but there was some unidentified piece at the end of the track. The screw and the plastic thing are supposed to be connected to the wheels, and they aren’t.
$15.50 later I head home with a closet door 2 wheel hanger and an acme adjustable wrench.
Now I mean business so I get out the step ladder. I peer back up at the track, trying to figure out how I’m going to replace parts I can’t get to. There is a bracket that screws to the top of the door and no way to unscrew that bracket, and the wheels and screw and the plastic thing that fits in the track. And I think and I think and I play with the parts until I realize it comes apart. I can use the old bracket and slide the new wheels with the plastic thing onto the track and flick the wing thing and it will all lock in place.
In my excitement I install the new wheels and plastic thing easily before I realize the old wheels are still up in the track.
Old wheels off, new wheels on, trying to line the bolt up with the bracket and it’s not going well and the wheels keep moving. I’m sweating. There’s grease all over my hands and greasy fingerprints all over the door and trim.
Son of a bitch! Why is this so difficult? This is a 2 person job and I am the only one at home. The ladder’s not helping, so I get back on the chair. As I’m pushing the chair slides on the tile floor and I almost take a tumble. My arm hurts and this is stupid, there’s got to be a way to do this and I’m bracing the nut with the wrench and pushing up on the door and trying to slide it in the bracket and shut this wing thing and then… oh glory. It worked. It fucking worked.
The door rolls forward and backward easily. The door smiles. I smile. I jump up and down a couple of times. I say a couple of swear words like “badass” and “you’re damn right. I fucking rule. ”
I call my mom and dad to tell them how badass I am.
I slide the door a couple more times just because I can.
I rule. I totally fucking rule.
I will remember this day for the rest of my life. I’m sure of it. Women will say things like, “I had to wait until my husband changed the lightbulb,” or “I couldn’t get the garage door up because the power was out and it’s too heavy so I had to wait for my husband to come home ” and I will be all like “Yeah, well … I fixed my crooked and broken pocket door. I fixed it and no one helped me. And I rule. So…”
And then I will show them my silver medal.