posted by Matt W on June 11th, 2014

Recently I was hanging out at Joe A.’s house. He wanted me to help him change out a sliding glass door. Cool, we like hanging out doing middle-age manly things. Bring it on.

There are two identical sliding doors opening to his deck and the sliding mechanism on the main door was wearing out making it difficult to open and close. He had been given a quote of $800.00 to change out the door mechanism. Crazy-talk! As the doors are identical and he rarely uses the other slider, he thought he would just change the doors and look at the worn mechanism during the change-out to see what needed to be replaced for later. No way was he going to pay the $800.00 until he had tried fixing it himself. I was in town, so working it out together was just an added bonus.

Joe A. and I are pretty handy. We have worked on numerous projects together and between the two of us there isn’t a lot we haven’t seen. This job was a piece of cake. So before we get started, I grab the door through the weather-stripping, and lift to see if the sliding mechanism is fixed in place like I assume, or if it is some advanced slider that needs to be loosened before removing the door. Nothing, the door literally doesn’t budge a millimeter.

So for the next 20 minutes, Joe and I try to figure out how to loosen the sliding mechanism. That wasn’t a particularly easy task, because (we will later find out) it doesn’t actually move. There was a slot that “looked” like it would be the perfect place to put a screw, but I couldn’t actually tell if there was a screw there, and the screwdriver certainly wasn’t catching hold on anything. I was about a minute away from driving to the hardware store and buying a longer screwdriver for Joe A.’s toolbox.

Finally after looking and trying and looking and trying and getting a little frustrated, I go get my reading glasses. With my reading glasses on, I can see that there isn’t a screw head at the bottom of the slot I have been sticking the screwdriver in for the last 20 minutes. Apparently Joe A. needs better glasses as well. On a whim, I try lifting the door again, but this time I really lean into it. The door moves like I originally thought it would.

As I get older, I find that most things haven’t changed all that much, except me. I’m certainly not in great shape, but I’m perfectly fine for the day-to-day ordeals of a typical middle-aged man. I will say however there are a couple of times a year that my lack of 30-year-old strength frustrates me. I would have easily moved the door one handed years ago. And without a doubt, my reading-glasses-necessary-life is a huge pain in the ass, especially when doing projects. I actually have a pair of reading glasses in each of my toolboxes, because when doing work a foot or two in front of my face, glasses are the most necessary tool. I can hardly screw in a screw without them.

After a few minutes of re-planning, we start the process over. It takes Joe and me about 20 minutes to change out the doors and re-grease the faulty mechanism. They both worked great. As the whole project took only 45 minutes and our wives probably viewed it as a “couple of hours and a couple of trips to the hardware store” project, we were still golden. A little frustrated in my body, but still golden.

File Under Jack of all Trades