Beware the Man With a ‘Rare Breed of Expertise’

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comA brand-new spring means renewed hope, rebirth and a fresh new list of chores.

Even a mild winter plays evil tricks on the yard, as you well know.

This spring, I’m considering hiring someone to help for a day. I don’t know who to call, but I certainly know who I would never approach: myself 20 years ago.

Back then, I wasn’t nearly as proficient as I thought I was. And, I wasn’t even close to the expertly-skilled master I am today.

For instance, years ago we bought a backyard greenhouse which I assembled.

It was starting to show its age pretty badly, so we decided to revive it this year.

This reincarnation started with replacing the dutch door.

Let’s not forget I am a master of such things — not a novice like I was back when I assembled it. So naturally, building a new door would be a snap.

I ripped my new plank down the middle to give me two pieces the width I needed.

Then, I cut the lengths to match the old door.

Because of my rare breed of expertise, I was able to cut precision lap joints on the corners so the door frame would be perfectly flat.

I even cut a groove along the edge of two pieces so the little sliding window could open and close. We woodworking giants call that particular cut a dado, just in case you’re ever on Jeopardy.

Finally, I put the pieces together into perfect 90-degree angles.

I marveled at my door frame. All I had left was to remove the plastic panels from what was left of the old door and nail them on.

I chuckled as I pulled the nails 20-year-ago me hammered in back then. Some of them were crooked and a few more were bent.

Since the nails were a specialty item that came with the greenhouse, I reused them. I spent a fair amount of time straightening the ones that my 1997 self bent as he drove them in, which I’m sure he did hastily.

I’ll tell you the truth, 20th Century me was a raw rookie compared to this expert woodworker.

Before I could install the new door, I had to remove the old hinges from the door facing.

As I started looking at them, I saw where at least half of the rusty heads were stripped to the point where a screwdriver would never work.

Good grief. What kind of a hack put them in and stripped the heads in the process?

As middle-aged me shook my head at young me, I unscrewed the ones I could. Then I twisted out the stripped ones with a pair of locking pliers, which took several unnecessary minutes.

It was time to install the door, which by now you surely are picturing as a work of art. 

I put the top part against the door facing and marked where the hinges should go. Then I attached it while Kim held it. 

The bottom part was a little trickier, since it had to be perfectly in line with the top part. But, as I am sure you have already guessed, I attached it with laser perfection.

I stepped back and marveled at my handiwork as I swelled with pride.

Oh, if there were only more of me to go around.

In order to carry my ego over the threshold, I pulled the handle to open the door.

It came open about 6 inches before the bottom edge kind of hit the brick walkway Kim put in some years ago.

Of course, nothing ever “kind of” hits a brick, since bricks are not known for their flexibility.

Somewhere, good ol’ nail bending, screw stripping, 1997 me is sipping lemonade having a good laugh about now. My beautiful new door won’t open. And, I’m too tired to lower the bricks.

Maybe I’ll stop being so hard on my younger self. He could’ve been worse. 

At least his greenhouse door opened and closed for 20 years. 

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him:

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