I was recently home in New Mexico again visiting my parents on the ranch. There’s always odds and ends to take care of when I’m there. This time it was the sliding door over the tub. Yup, one of the doors had not only come off the rails, the little wheel had fallen off. Of course, there is no room to get the wheel back up under there where it belongs, but Mom and I spent an hour finangling the thing into place. Half that time was spent getting the screw into the wheel to hold it in place and the other half was lifting the door back onto the rail. Yes, I screwed the thing in backwards the first try. But we finally got it on there. The problem was that the screw needed tightening. Dad wasn’t home, and I didn’t know where his angled screwdriver might be located. So I took a shower with the thing hand tightened. As soon as I got out, the wheel fell off again.
So later that evening, Dad brought his newly made phillips screwdriver to the bathroom. (Dad is a machinist in addition to rancher–he took a straight phillips and angled it). Neither of us has small hands. Shoot, you’d have to have fingers the size of matchsticks to get up in there. Neither of us is terribly patient either. But we were determined. We used a kitchen knife, tweezers, a flashlight, a stool, a flat-head screwdriver, the phillips screwdriver…we dropped every item at least twice. We nearly lost the screw down the drain. BUT WE GOT THAT WHEEL ON TIGHT. Of course, then, the door refused to go on the rails. The entire time we worked on this lovely project Dad peppered me with his opinion on the door, the parts and the engineer who designed the door. “This door may look nice, but it sure doesn’t work very well. I wonder who invented this door.”
“I don’t know. An idiot,” I said.
“I think he wanted to make a lot of money, because if the wheel falls off, he figures you will just give up and buy a whole new door.”
“That could be it,” I said. “But I’d rather just put up a shower curtain.”
“It’s a very poor design,” Dad proclaimed. “I don’t know how they expect anyone to get this to work. That wheel doesn’t turn. It should be a ball bearing up there, not a plastic wheel.”
After we finally got the wheel on and the door on the rails, it didn’t slide smoothly.
“I’ll clean it and maybe put w-d40 on it tomorrow,” I said.
“It doesn’t look right.” He stood back. He stood close. He shined the flashlight high and low. He pushed it. He pulled it. “It’s not level.”
“It’s on the rails,” I pointed out hopefully.
“It’s not adjusted right.” He shone the flashlight around some more. “This other side needs to be higher.”
“We can’t adjust that side,” I replied. “We don’t have an angled screwdriver for it.”
“What do you think we just used?” he said, holding up the phillips.
“That’s a phillips. Whoever put this door together used a flat blade screw in this side.”
“That is just ridiculous. Who would do that?” But he looked. And, I was right. It needed a flat blade.
(The shop with all the tools is down the hill. It was already dark out. Not that dark is really an impediment, but it’s an additional annoyance. And if he had to bend another screwdriver, that takes time and the torch has to heat up and so on and so forth.)
But Dad was determined. So he hacked away with a flat blade screwdriver even though it didn’t really fit in there. He finally pushed that thing up where it needed to be, and I held it there while he tightened it. When he was done, the door did, indeed, slide perfectly.
He packed up his tools and said, “Well, I don’t know who designed these doors, but I don’t like him.”
Me either, Dad, me either.