On Friday, at a time of the morning that probably wasn’t legal, my lawn guy Victor came to cut my grass. It woke me up, the sound of not just the riding mower but also the dang leaf blower. It was awful, and I’m going to go ahead and assume all my neighbors hate me. My intention is to tell him to come later in the morning but I never got to say that Friday and here’s why.
When I was awakened by the lyrical sound of BLAAAAAAAAA, I got up and showered.
I emerged from the shower to the sounds of poor Victor, who I like a lot, cleaning the glass from having shattered my storm door into 12 million pieces. He was mortified. “Miss June, I am so sorry. I’m going to clean this up and get you new glass and install it,” he said. He’d been so concerned about not hitting my car with his leaf blower, but instead hit the door with it.
Edsel and I watched him curiously while he meticulously got up all the glass.
I opened my front door, then stepped back 400 feet. “You know, Victor, I never really liked that storm door anyway,” I said. “Why don’t you give me a few free lawn services, the good one where you do all the weeds, and we’ll call it even.”
So we made a deal, not shaking on it.
After he left, I realized I was gonna have to paint the trim where the storm door used to be.
Also, I was gonna have to remove that hot-pink smudge off the column. bah.
On Saturday, I searched my snakey garage. I’ve never seen a snake in that garage/shed, but it’s an old building and I hardly go in there so I just assume it’s riddled with generations of snake families and also rodent colonies.
However, the man who lived here before me had a cool old car in there and was clearly in his garage all the time. He was one of those exceedingly tidy people, which has made living here an enjoyable experience and now I’m here to ruin the utter care he took of this place. The shed still has jar lids, because he was one of those people who kept nails and things in food jars screwed to wood. He was very organized.
I’m telling you this because I knew he’d be the type and I was right: in the snake garage, the sssssshed, are small cans of paint, all labeled with “front porch rails,” “kitchen walls,” etc. And sure enough, there was a can of paint for touchups to the house.
I’d like to marry someone like that. I wouldn’t like to live with someone like that—we’d kill each other. But maybe he could be in the next house over, organizing my thoughts.
So on Sunday, I got my small can of Sherwin Williams Smoky Quartz and painted my door trim.
Then I decided I should probably get a storm door anyway. Further reports as developments warrant.
Meanwhile, since I was over there at my door, I thought, “I’m gonna try to put on my new doorknob.”
In my old house, I eventually replaced every gold doorknob with a color that didn’t make me sad. Here, one again, my front door and deadbolt are a shocking terrible gold, and months ago when we were allowed out places I bought a nice unshiny black doorknob and it’s backup singer, the black deadbolt. I never put it up because I never felt like it.
And then I did. And that was a mistake.
Getting rid of the electric gold knob wasn’t easy. It’s old, and didn’t have the traditional screws you’d expect. But I YouTubed it and after a sweaty hour (it was hot out) got the doorknobs off. I figured I’d worry about the deadbolt second.
I unpackaged the nice black doorknobs. And? Too big. The hole for the doorknobs wasn’t big enough.
You know how Cokes at McDonald’s have gotten ridiculously bigger since the 60s and we all weigh 300 pounds? Same with doorknobs now. They’re bigger and more imposing. Why has everything gotten bigger? You should see the size of my great-grandmother’s china plates. The dinner plate is what we’d use for snacks at a party now.
I asked around via my texting machine, and my neighbor R walked over with this giant file. “Am I breaking out of prison?” I asked her, the two of us stretching out like we were Hands of God to exchange that file.
I rubbed hand sanitizer on the handle of the file, and then?
I filed and filed and filed.
I started filing at 1:30. I was still filing at 5:00.
I was sweating everywhere there was to sweat. Memories of me were sweating. My school pictures were sweating. My future self was sweating. My hair just got bigger as I file filed filed the hole, got the doorknob, tried to fit it, and filed again.
I was the Rockford Files. I was a sweater girl. Holy god.
Finally, FINALLY, the hole was big enough. The doorknob would finally — file-ally — fit in the hole.
The doorknobs wouldn’t get flush with each other. They’d meet up nicely when I clicked them together NOT in the door, but in the door? I was screwed. When you install doorknobs, first you have to install the silver clicky thing, you know, the thing that looks sort of like a slice of cake that opens and shuts the door? What’s that called? Anyway that goes in first, then the two doorknobs have to fit in the holes of that clicky thing. And these doorknobs weren’t fitting.
At this point it was getting sort of late in the day, and I had no doorknob at all.
I’d had to really rip the old gold, the Rold Gold, doorknob apart taking it off, and I helplessly held the many shiny gold parts in a panic. Could I stick them back in the door? The hole was now five hours larger than it had been.
The broom and dustpan are because, and I want you to brace yourself, there was a lot of sawdust from FILING FOR 100 HOURS.
Panicked, I texted Alf, my ridiculous handyman. “Eym in da mowntins. Whattup?” he texted, because you know how he texts. He tries to make his texts as unreadable as possible. I ignored Alf. What good could he do me in the damn mountains?
So I did what any normal person would do: I got on Facebook. “I have an emergency,” I wrote. “Does someone have a handy husband?” I know that’s sexist, but I didn’t have time to be politically correct. I needed a no-nonsense man.
Within seconds, my phone was booping and beeping and ringing and what-all, and maybe I should have asked in a less public way. Not only did I talk to the guy I went to 9th-grade prom with, I also Facetimed, looking RIDICULOUS, with a faithful reader’s husband, who told me a way I could jerryrig the door for the night, at least, till I could get a doorknob really on.
But then? Like the cavalry? Came my neighbor, A., down my street.
A and I lived across the street from each other during my Year Abroad, but we never met. Then she moved into this neighborhood just months after I did. Because she’s handy and can rewire and knock down walls and stuff, she started an Instagram page called MyMillhouse, where she shows her improvements she makes to her little house that’s identical to mine except for the part where you can see all three fireplaces because she’s knocked down walls to make them all visible and I waste entire Sundays tryina put on a doorknob.
I didn’t know about her Instagram page till a faithful reader wrote me and said, “Hey, June, isn’t this your neighborhood?” And that is how A and I became friends.
It’s weird, too, because at first I wrote her on Instagram and she wrote me back, and we did kind of a tentative, “We can see each other’s houses. We should meet” thing, but then we kept running INTO each other. At New Year’s, we were same party across town.
At the pub near us, we were both at the Inebriated Spelling Bee, where we were both knocked out in the first few rounds.
Anyway there she was, coming down my street with her tool apron and a face mask. I was never so glad to see someone, despite my 50-foot-side hair and lack of shower. I told her the doorknob just wouldn’t work in our 98-year-old door. “We just need to find a way to secure my door for the night or something, I said,” as I left the room to get her some lemonade.
All I did, y’all, ALL I DID was get a glass, dump ice into it, pour lemonade, and when I came back she’d already put the new doorknob on. IT TOOK HER A MINUTE.
“How did you do that?” I haired at her. Seriously, y’all, my hair.
“Sometimes it just takes another person to try,” she said generously, and we all know that isn’t true.
However, we couldn’t get the deadbolt off because like the gold doorknobs, there are no visible screws and here’s the best part: I don’t have a key for that thing. No idea where one is. A. says she’s gonna look up how to remove it anyway, and I’m going to try to deal with the emotional truth of having a black doorknob and a gold deadbolt.
Meanwhile I’ve now had electricians, Victor, R and A. here all in one week, so it’s been nice knowing you. Be sure to ask the paramedics to admire my new doorknob when they come get me.