My local radio station has a Facebook page and they often run memes with cute questions about your opinions, like “Overhand or Underhand?” with a photo of a toilet paper roll, or related to holidays, like “
Where are you spending the 4th?” Recently they had one that asked, “What can’t you do that other people think is easy?” This one made me feel a little isolated, because there are so many things on that list, but I’d have to explain why, like “using twist-off caps” because my hand is reattached, or “sitting on a barstool longer than 5 minutes” because I have 3 healed spinal fractures. I’m forever explaining myself to people. Once at a party, a friend asked me to open a wine bottle and handed me a waiter’s corkscrew, the kind that folds flat and was about as useful as a Q-tip for getting me into that bottle. I handed it back to her and said she needed to find someone whose limbs had all remained firmly attached since birth.
This weekend I had my back sliding door re-screened. My cat, Timbits, trashed it. It’s not entirely his fault; his predecessor, Nimby, started the gash. Timbits just turned it into a giant hole in it that I could walk through. I patched it by sewing new screening over the hole, but it looked terrible. I’m on my condo board and I would write any other resident a Notice to Comply with appearance regulations for that. I was hoping not to have to fix it before I move out, because I want to present a potential buyer with a pristine screen door, but I haven’t found an exit strategy that works yet, and I’m sick of looking at that door. Plus, Timbits is starting a new gash outside the patched area. He’s 18 pounds and, as you can see from the photo, very high-spirited.
Lucky for me, my local hardware store offers claw-resistant screening. I have it on my bedroom window where the neighbor cat tried to claw his way in one night, but got a nasty surprise when Nimby shot out through the hole and chased him down. Enough drama; I had the screen replaced with the cat-proof kind. It has a rubbery texture and stretches when clawed, then springs back to its flat shape as long as it’s not tested too often. It’s darker and harder to see through than regular screening. That’s a small price to pay for being able to leave my bedroom window open a few inches at night.
When I told friends I was having my screen door fixed, they all said, “Oh, that’s so easy to do yourself. You just buy this tool and…” Yeah, NO. Maybe for a room-sized window, but not a whole sliding back door. The chances of me being able to get it tensioned properly and not have it slanted or bulging are almost zero. I want to tell my friends, “Okay, try this—saw your ulnar and radial nerves apart with a serrated knife, then shake your wrist around good and hard before you stitch the ends back together, then tell me how easy it is.”
There are just some things we have to pay other people to do for us. I know how to change my own tire, but that doesn’t mean I’m able to do it without serious injury. In theory, I could lay my own Pergo floor, but it would take me weeks and I wouldn’t be able to do anything else during that time. It’s not worth it. Plus, I want it to look polished and professional. I spent 3 years in a rented cottage that an artist had lived in. Her wall frescoes made me happy. Her painted “windows” in the back fence with faux mountain views and real flower boxes brought me joy. Her hand-laid flooring in the bathroom made me sad. So did sweeping cat litter crumbs out from between the tile gaps. I know what my own work looks like and I doubt I would have done much better. I don’t want my place to look that homespun. When I have the money, I’m happy to pay someone to do a job well.
My screen door looks fantastic. I didn’t think to clean the cobwebs off it before I took it in. They presented me with a perfectly done screen door, the frame washed and shiny. It was worth every penny of the $67. (It’s not normally that expensive; claw-proof screening is extra and you can see how badly I need it.) Has this happened to you? Have you proudly presented a home improvement you paid someone to do, only to be nattered at for not doing it yourself? Join me in refusing to feel bad or “less” for that.