Big Screen Debut

A few years ago, during a nice little family visit, my dad took me out to lunch and we decided to leave his dog, Lila, in my backyard while we got some burgers.

Now Lila, not including the exuberances of her youth, is one of the most wonderfully behaved, gentle dogs you might ever meet. Yet . . . we did sorta abandon her in a strange backyard and in her panic she tore a big whole through my screen door.

Not a big deal.

At all.

I honestly couldn't have cared less.

But there was the fact of a big gaping hole in the screen door and somehow, through some strange trick of the psyche, I had gotten it into my head that fixing a screen door was an incredibly challenging process. I must have read something, or heard something, or ate a bad piece of fish.

I don't know.

Because being daunted . . . is not . . . I repeat . . . is not a thing I do.

And it's not like I'm unfamiliar with handy-work. I've got all my own tools. I've built bicycles, rebuilt car engines, erected massive stage sets, crafted furniture, installed flooring, and have a virtual Master's Degree in smithing medieval weaponry for a six year old. In ten years of home ownership, there isn't a single appliance I haven't brought back to life in some way and I've never even considered hiring plumber.

But somehow, securing a little mesh to a metal frame seemed beyond my talents.

And then it got worse.

I went out and priced replacements and found that because out doors are all custom sized, the mega DIY stores didn't carry the screens big enough for our door and even the internet was no help.

I went so far as to price an entire door replacement and saw estimates that ranged from a television set to a mortgage payment, and I just gave up.

For years . . .

I shit you not . . .

YEARS . . .

I have been looking a that big ugly hole and not only have I felt helpless to do anything, I've been aggressively insistent to everyone else that it couldn't be done.


Like really weird.

But I was totally convinced.

And I didn't want to hear another word about it.

So my dad and step-mom pop up for a visit, and like always, he looks at that big hole, gives me a scowl, cause he knows I'm being ridiculous, and offers for the millionth time to get it fixed, either with me, or for me, or in spite of me.

But I can't, I won't, so just change the subject.

Who do you like for the Super Bowl?

So we have a nice visit, say our goodbyes, make plans for the future and I go back to my spot on the couch and try to drown out the rest of the world. Fa la la la la.

Drowning out the rest of the world is a very unhealthy habit I have when I'm working on something and I've reached a particular impasse that I can't fully seem to wrap my head around.

I'm there now. I don't know how I got there, or how I'm gonna get out, but until I do, I'm a bit of a glassy eyed shell of a man.

And I'd like to think that it's an "artist" thing because moping about is a right of passage for writers and musicians . . . but to the people around them . . . it is certainly a dick move.

My wife will only put up with that shit for a day or two, letting me suck the joy out of every room I'm in, and then it's whooping time.

Actually . . . there's no whooping involved. (Though I'm perfectly open minded about experimentation.) No . . . she's found that motivating me to accomplish something else is a remarkable anti-biotic to my creative chlamydia.

Now . . . ladies . . . do not . . . I repeat . . . do not consider this advice to drop a 'Honey-do' list on your man's lap any time he's been on the couch for more than five minutes.

Just because there's nothing good on TV that doesn't mean it's time to mow the lawn.

What I'm talking about is a very specific set of circumstances wherein I'm in a very particular funk and she can tip-toe through my labyrinth and flush out my minotaur with a garden hose.

The garden hose, in this case, being a certain hole in a certain screen door.

"Get up"


"You're taking me to the home store and we're gonna get that screen fixed."


"I'm ready to go . . . like now."

"Alright, lemme just, do a thing."


"I gotta measure the door."

"Fine. I'm ready to go when you are."

And so I got my tape measure out, removed the door from the sill, took measurements, and away we went.

We wandered the aisles for a minute or two, found the screen door stuff, which consisted of exactly three things:

Rolls of mesh.

Some rubber tubing to seat the mesh.

A little plastic tool to push down the tubing.

That's it.

But . . . aha! . . . I was right . . . there's not a single roll of mesh that's long enough to cover our stupidly big screen door.

We'll have to special order something . . . shit . . . which means finding someone and talking to them.

But wait!

What's that up there?

There's a super-sized roll for larger projects. I only need 33" by 90" and that roll up there that I swear I never saw that last time I looked is 64" by 96"

But it's gotta be dreadfully expensive.

But it wasn't.

It was like a whole $12.

Turns out , I've paid more for an over-cooked steak than I did for all the things I needed to fix that screen.

Okay . . . so we get home and there's still about 35 minutes of daylight left and I've got the home project juices flowing, it's now or never baby.

My impossible project?

Yeah . . . that took, like, almost an entire fifteen minutes.

I only took the lord's name in vain once. And that was because the light had faded and I didn't notice a little ripple in the fabric in the upper corner until I had already cut the screen and reinstalled it in the sill.

So there's a little ripple.

So what?

The innards of my house, once again, get to taste the fresh spring air. And at about 2:00am this morning, I solved the allegorical paradox that had been making me an insufferable snot for a week.

So the moral of the story is this:

When things get messed up it's really never cool to blame the dog,

Also, most things in life are only as complicated as your head is interested in making them,

And if you get the chance to marry the right girl, go ahead and do that.

That's a thing you should do.

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