Monday, March 08, 2004

Home improvement ...

It was such a great weekend and I didn’t feel like sitting in front of my computer, so I didn’t write about what a great weekend it was. It felt like spring was here to stay, until a cold front blew in last night. Today is a little chilly, but still more or less springlike.

It was so nice yesterday that I realized I could no longer put off a necessary task: I had to replace the screen in the screen door because the mosquitoes are going to turn up any day. This is something Mark could have done, but I wanted it done right away, and he was off seeing to his mom.

The last little thing I’ve done requiring tools and whatnot was the assembly of my new wheelbarrow last fall. That wasn’t a flawless procedure, but I do have a functioning wheelbarrow now. I had seen screen replacement demonstrated on HGTV before, and it looks like a snap. I didn’t remember the precise directions, but I knew you needed some screen, some rubbery stuff that holds it in the groove, and a tool to help you shove the rubbery stuff into the groove. So I took a trip up to the Big Home Improvement Store, where I purchased my supplies and learned that the rubbery stuff is called spline.

Even though I didn’t remember all of the directions from HGTV, I was able to quickly suss that I should remove the screen frame from the door before attempting to re-screen it. Upon so doing I discovered that the screen frame is very flimsy. Although the frame itself is made of aluminum, the little pieces that hold the corners together are plastic, and will break with the slightest torsion. Once the corners break, the task of holding the frame still and keeping it together while you stretch the screen across it and shove spline into its groove seems a little more daunting than it looked on TV.

One of the steps I didn’t remember from the TV program was probably something like: “Clamp the frame firmly into place on your specially constructed screen-frame clamp table.” I didn’t have a table or any clamps, which were clearly necessary. By the time it dawned on me that I was too ill-equipped to complete the task, I’d already taken down the screen frame, stripped out the old screen and spline, and broken two of the frame’s corners. I was too far into the project to just give up now, but I knew I needed some specialized equipment. That’s when I went and got the duct tape. I put a little piece on each of the broken corners to stabilize them and then taped the whole frame snugly to the deck. Then I positioned the screen and anchored it with duct tape.

Another thing I don’t remember from the TV program is any kind of warning about how if you slip with the little spline-shoving tool it’s quite likely to cut the screen, or any indication that the spline likes to twist around a lot, making it quite likely that the tool will slip and cut the screen. So my screen has a few security breaches likely to be exploited by particularly industrious mosquitoes. I also stretched the screen a little too tight (the program actually did warn me against that) and as a result my frame was a bit out of whack and did not want to fit back into the door correctly. I wasn’t taking no for an answer, however. At that point I would have destroyed my handiwork before I let it get away with defying me, but fortunately I was able to muscle it back into its place. There is a small gap where the bottom edge is bowed in slightly, but I figure a piece of duct tape will cover that right up.

Another excitment of the weekend was that I finally ordered my new bowling ball, a Brunswick Power Groove.

This ball was recommended to me by two guys from my league, and it's very affordable. I'm having it drilled for a semi-fingertip grip. I really can't wait to get practicing with it, but it won't be ready until Thursday or Friday. I hope it helps. I was back to scrounging for the odd strike here and there Saturday night. Mark tolled a 214 in the first game, though.

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