It absolutely blows me away what human beings can learn to get used to. I would really be perturbed if, say, every time I got into my car to drive somewhere, I had to pedal my feet against the ground, Flintstone-style to move forward. But even though I am no mechanic, I would eventually sense that something was wrong with this system by virtue of the fact that my feet were tired, and my Manolos were scuffed. But give us a front door with issues, and we can blow it off for years.
Our front door has issues, by which I mean it has trouble doing its job in any way. That is: Opening and Closing seem not to be in this door's skill set. From the day we moved in three years ago, we have been pushing and shoving with all our might for the simple privilege of entering and exiting. The thing would simply not open when needed, and when the icy glacial winds bore down on us in the winters, it would not stay closed. As in "Don't stand near the door, dear, you'll get frostbite". These problems were particularly irksome for the Smallies, who by their nature, have more need to go in and out than their parents.
I pointed these inconveniences out to Phillip, whom you will remember is less bothered by minutiae of this sort than the rest of us. "Yes, but what can we do?" he asked earnestly. Dude is not Mr. Fixit. "We can get a new door. It's easy: You just go to the door store, hand over all your money, and they bring you a shiny new door, whose knob turns and everything. We could even get one with a window, so that I can see to knit!" He did not consider this quite as much of a selling point as I did. My beloved is, shall we say, Change Averse. And by that I mean he freaks completely out when I launder the sheets. Don't even get me started on what he does if I rearrange the furniture. He just does not want anyone moving his dish, and to be informed that not only will his dish be getting moved, but he has to cough up money for the privilege is his idea of a sick joke. It took me a really long time to convince Phillip that we needed a new front door. While working on him, I tried to convince myself that it really wasn't so bad, and the children actually learned to walk around to the back of the house and come through the kitchen.
Under the constant barrage of nagging/After several gentle reminders, Phillip finally agreed that the door needed replacement. It helped to change his mind when he finally had to walk around the house and come in the back himself, one day, when the door absolutely refused him admittance. Apparently after all that time fighting to get in and out, it never occurred to him to try his key.
The day came to order the door, and we all hopped in the car to go pick it out. The first home improvement store we tried was a complete loss. I only narrowly escaped physical removal by my husband after getting belligerent with an employee in a red vest who suggested I just buy what he had on hand, rather than put him to the trouble of placing a special order for me.
Things went much better on our second attempt (I was not about to go home empty-handed after waiting this long). On our way through the store to the door department, I spied some of those flap-openings you put in so the dog can go in and out, and seriously considered it as an alternative. It turned out not to be necessary, however, and we were allowed to leave all our money in the hands of a guy in an orange apron, in exchange for several sheets of paper held together by a staple. To make the project seem more tangible, we selected a new doorknob and lockset, right off the shelf, and placed them, still in their boxes, in the foyer.
Weeks passed, and now each time one of the children threw all his or her weight against the door to go in or out, we thought longingly of our shiny new door, which we had been assured would be available for pickup in only a short while.
With the news that the new door had indeed arrived, I began a frenzy of usefulness paralleled only by my preparations for the birth of my children. Not least of these was the actual picking up of the door by Phillip and me. With only 27 bungee cords, we managed to affix our long-awaited treasure to the top of the car. I only inhaled once or twice during the trip home, during which I was sure the thing was going to sail right off the top of the car. "You always fear the worst," said Phillip gamely. Of course I do. I'm Scottish, and a Knitter. Duh. My relief at getting it home, and then getting it down from the car, was palpable. I caught Phillip inhaling then.
Paint was chosen by unanimous vote and applied by me, over the course of a whole Saturday. The many coats applied looked progressively better, and I imagined the shiny green color sticking its metaphorical tongue out at a cold wet winter. The smallies christened her "Doory" as I worked, and begged to be allowed a turn with the paintbrush, which I of course allowed. Finally she was done, and lay serenely across two sawhorses, awaiting her door installer. Her shiny green paint shimmered in the sun, and her sparkling window panes winked at me, promising more knitting light in the living room.
Installation day was scheduled and our excitement reached fever pitch. The children and I channeled our energies into a whole front-porch facelift. We scrubbed five or six years of moss off the front steps. We swept down the cobwebs and touched up the paint. We repainted the house numbers. We replaced both a ghastly old light fixture and a mismatched doorbell, picked out a new welcome mat, and even splurged on a hanging flower basket. What the heck, we said: It's not every day the Door Problem gets resolved.
Door Day finally came, and all was in readiness. I dashed off to buy some new moulding for around the inside of the new door while Dave The Door Man worked his magic. I found all the trim pieces on the first try, which was uncommonly lucky, because I totally could not remember where I had purchased the ones in the living room that I was now trying to match. I arrived home with another $75 worth of door-driven necessities just in time to hear the news.
Dave The Door Man shook his head and gently laid his hand on my shoulder. "I'm afraid it's warped." he said. "She won't stand weather. I'll have to call the factory for a replacement slab." I blinked in disbelief. "Slab"? You mean, as in, some kind of carcass? Our Doory? How could she do this to me after all we had been through? All those coats of paint? Replacing the light fixture because the old one wasn't pretty enough to share the front porch with her? We even have a mat that really says "WELCOME" right on it. How can my Doory be warped? The betrayal was more than I could fathom. "Don't worry," Dave The Door Man reassured me, "I'll put this one in for now, and then when you get a replacement, you can paint it again." I was glad he didn't say "just" paint it again. Dave is a sensitive fellow. Probably has painted one or two doors in his time.
If you look closely, you can make out the Smallies, waving at me through the window. Their joy is dauntless. They are spending the rest of the afternoon Opening. And Closing. Just because they can. Even though the saga hasn't finished, I'm still pretty happy: When the bar is set as low as our old door had it, there's nothing but improvement ahead.
And best of all, there is way more light to knit by.