126. Mrs. Fixit Strikes Again

I missed Mass this morning.  Bad girl.  Bad.

I was up till after 6 this morning (Sunday).  Don’t ask me why, or I’ll have to explain about my skill with the Phillips screwdriver and the application of rollers to the top of my son Matthew’s shower doors.  Well, all right, if you insist.

This shower door has been an unpleasant experience for about a year now.   Whenever Matthew slides the rightmost door to the left, the leftmost door falls off where I previously placed it.  Once in the shower, the door keep falling onto him, and he has to push it off where it collides noisily onto the opening frame of the door.  Myself, I’ve gotten used to the banging and thudding that goes on up there, but sometimes during video edit sessions, daughter Susy and our Ford Video clients become quite alarmed.

Matthew can NEVER take a shower whenever a video shoot or recording is taking place in the garage studio. Never. Unless the video was supposed to include the sound of water running.  But in former years, during video edit sessions in other parts of the house, it didn’t matter.  Except for the faint sound of running water, nobody could hear anything going on upstairs.

For the past year, this has not been the case. Everyone in the neighborhood knows when Matthew is taking a shower.  At least until last night.  But I fixed it, almost.

Normally, fixing things is not included among my job qualifications. If I can find the user manual, I will make the attempt, but otherwise, if I can’t fix it on the sewing machine, it will probably remain unfixed.

At the beginning of every new year, I like to grapple with problems that would be otherwise ungrappled with. Such as Matthew’s shower door. Last week, I made up my mind that that shower door was about to tangle with Octo-woman and everybody better stand back.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the shower’s user manual. I would have to delve into the problem with only the support of my penetrating analytical skills.

According to my training in systems analysis, my first step was to investigate the ongoing system. “Why does the door keep falling off?”, I asked myself. “There may be a physical reason for it. Perhaps I should stop blaming its mother for not training it properly.”

Standing on a chair, I studied the top of the door, pushing it side to side. Eureka! I had discovered something. Along the top of the left door, were two square metal things and inside the leftmost one was a little round roller thing. BUT THERE WAS NO LITTLE ROUND ROLLER THING IN THE OTHER SQUARE METAL THING. There must have been two of them at one time, happily married at first perhaps, but then divorced after desertion by the missing spouse.  The cad.

The remaining mate was affixed to the square metal thing with a screw or bolt that would require a Phillips screwdriver.  I went downstairs to get it, and when I came back up to Matthew’s bathroom, I noticed that a long strip of plastic had fallen off one of the doors.  I couldn’t tell which door it fell off of, or whether it came from the top or bottom.  It didn’t seem like a friendly gesture on the door’s part since I was making such a valiant effort to restore it to good health.

Nonetheless, I proceeded to climb up on the chair, and with the Phillips screwdriver, I removed the round roller thing. I know that must seem like a strange move since the problem I was trying to solve was caused by a round roller thing which was not there.  And now I would have TWO round roller things which were not there.  But, I had a good reason for this bizarre action.

I put the round roller thing in a Glad bag and went downstairs.  The next day, daughter Gretchen and I went to Costco, and while she was getting gas in the car, I went into Home Depot and presented them with what was in the Glad bag.  Five minutes and two dollars later, I left Home Depot carrying a little package containing two Prime-Line Tub Enclosure Sliding Door Rollers (flat). It was so easy. I was beginning to think about a new career in construction.

Well, last night I did it. I finished writing yesterday’s blob, posted it at midnight, did some paperwork, made some popcorn and then Matt and I caught up with Saturday Night Live and two episodes of Law and Order.

At 3:30 a.m., it seemed about time to head up for showers and to get stuff ready to go to church.  “Wait”, I thought to myself. “First, I will try to fix the shower door.  How hard could it be?”

Upstairs, climbing back on the chair, I proceeded to successfully install the two Prime-Line Tub Enclosure Sliding Door Rollers just as described on the little instruction sheet that came with them. And then – then it happened.  I moved the door to the right. THE DOOR WAS SLIDING LIKE A SLIDING DOOR IS SUPPOSED TO. Let’s hear it for Octo-woman!

The only minor problem was that strange strip of gray plastic.  “Maybe it’s something that just fell off the ceiling”, I thought to myself, hopefully. “Or maybe it’s something that popped off the sink and then flew around the wall to fall in the shower room.”  At any rate, the shower door was once again sliding so what did I care about any old strip of errant gray plastic.

I could hardly wait till Matt got upstairs to try it as a sliding door again instead of one I had merely propped up.  And sure enough, he got in the shower, and wonder of wonders, I could hear the door SLIDE closed.

Downstairs I hurried around doing chores and getting stuff ready for church, all the while congratulating myself on my Mr. Fixit accomplishment and mentally exploring possible new career opportunities.

I was wondering where I could buy a hard hat – a yellow ones without embellishments would be fine, – and about where to find a pattern to make one of those little tool apron things they wear on a belt to hold important tools.  And of course, I will need a clipboard and some checklists, and one of those really fat pencils. And a measuring tape.  And some nails. I decided that my next project shouldn’t be anything too complex – maybe a new ironing board – just a little something to practice on before I start advertising my services.

Right about then, I could hear Matthew getting out of the shower.
“How was it?” I asked eagerly.  “Did it slide?” “Yes, it slides”, he said. “But it’s not supposed to flop in and out on the bottom.  It’s supposed to slide on the bottom, too.”

I tried it.  Sure enough, the bottom of the door is suspended in the air flopping in and out.  Hmm.  That’s where that strange strip of gray plastic must come in. I tried fitting it in at the top and all the edges but it won’t fit anywhere.  It was after 5 o’clock a.m. by then.  In the harsh light of dawn, I knew the truth.  I hadn’t missed my calling after all.  I was going to have to ask for help in the form of my son-in-law Brad next door.

Brad can fix anything except his mother-in-law’s hair (which is beyond repair). Later in the day I would have to ask him for a consultation. The trouble is I couldn’t have him come up to look at the shower door until I had the place cleaned up. So there I was up to my armpits in ammonia, shower cleaner, grout brush, and rubber gloves listening to the chickadees outside singing their good morning song.

By the time, I had my own shower, set the alarm for 9:15 a.m, and got in bed it was 6:20 a.m.

So now you know why I missed Mass.

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4 Responses to 126. Mrs. Fixit Strikes Again

  1. Josie Warden says:

    I’m not sure I can call you my grandmother anymore after hearing you missed ONE Mass. I am shocked!

  2. Joan Fitzpatrick says:

    Be careful !!!!! Remember ! Leo fell off a chair and broke a hip. At our age it is better to ask for help…………or get a new shower door.

  3. Linda Lewis says:

    Guess what? A year or two ago when I had my bathroom gutted and remodeled, I put in a nice sliding glass doors for my new tub. Then, watching one of the ‘what to do to upgrade your bathroom’ videos on Oprah, the first thing they said was: shower doors are so ‘yesterday’. The newest look is: shower curtains….the fancy, curvey rod ones like in fancy hotels. No more banging of doors, flopping in and out runners nor bothering ‘handy men’ after scrubbing grout. There are great choices in easy wash, nice looking shower curtains now. Do you want a ride to Home Depot with me before your next Costco run?

  4. susy says:

    Ha ha ha. I was really laughing hard after I read this story.

    I do hear such a big racket whenever Matt takes a shower but mom never looks too worried so I keep right on working. I found it very entertaining to imagine Oct-woman getting up and down off of that chair and in and out of the hardware store looking for those two small round wheely things.

    Anyway, Dad would of fixed that shower door with his favorite solution to anything that is coming apart …. just apply some long strips of gray duct tape!!


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