THIS OLD GATE (With a nod to THIS OLD HOUSE)

Under Temporary Repair

For quite some time I found ways to shore up the old gate. I removed the hinges and changed how the gate opened. That worked for a while. I changed the locking mechanism, and that worked for a while. I re-set the hinges at a different level.

Finally Motivated!

It was only in the last few weeks that I got up the gumption to do something. At first, I took action in my head, imagining the steps I would need to take to hire someone to put up a new gate. Calling friends who might recommend handymen. Going through the phone tag/texting match that would result in my saying, “Thank you, but no …” Then talking myself through the money-saving DIY conversation of, “How hard could this be? I have a college education!”

Die-Hard This Old House Fan

Of course, this delusion was fueled by the fact that I have been watching This Old House since Bob Vila hosted. I have been a virtual assistant on so many of those projects. I can use the name of most of Norm Abrams’ power tools and I can sling a hammer with Tommy and his crew. (I will leave the plumbing to Richard, though . . .)

Well, Actually . . .

Somewhere along the way I forgot that I am out of shape, stiff jointed, and lacking in day laborer construction stamina. Here is what actually happened.

Day 1

Thought about what I would need to fix the gate. Did nothing else.

Day 2

Went into the garage and found my hand drill. Had to reorganize the tools on one side of the garage in order to turn on the work light that is connected to the charger for the drill. Charged the drill.

Day 3

Removed the gate from the hinges. Set the gate aside.

Day 4–5

Day 6

Went to local hardware store and found a kit for framing a gate that was on sale and guaranteed to only take 20 minutes. Brought it home. Took a nap.

Day 7

Began to take old gate apart. 16-penny nails are highly resistant to being removed. 2 X 4s demolished. Panels salvaged and set aside. Took aspirin and took a nap.

Day 8

Re-arranged garage in order to create enough room to cut new 2 X 4. Purchased same at local hardware store who could not cut to size because I was using pressure-treated wood. Could not find skill saw and remembered I had sold it 10 years ago. Contemplated buying a new one, but decided I could make 4 cuts into a 2 X 4 myself.

Day 9

Made two cuts with hand saw that was incredibly rusted and dull. Took aspirin and took nap.

Day 10

Made other two cuts with hand saw. Took aspirin. Did not take nap.

Day 11

Unbelievably hot. Decided to remove nails and screws from panels. Nearly died of heat stroke.

Day 12

Put together 20-minute frame. Took 3 hours.

Day 13

Hung frame. Spent 3 hours trying to visualize how to set hinge to insure gate would open inward. Needed extra aspirin for that headache!

Day 14

Re-hung panels. Ran out of wood screws.

Day 15

Obtained more wood screws. Finished hanging gate.

It’s Not Perfect, But I Did It All by Myself

Aside from having to purchase more aspirin, I am now quite pleased with myself for having accomplished this task. I can see the flaws. My inner critic is going wild with suggestions and improvements to correct the errors in my work. In spite of those exhortations, I will not be doing that. My inner shopper, however, is contemplating purchasing some new power tools. The gate now swings effortlessly and locks like a charm.

How I Learned to Use Tools

I wouldn’t have even been interested in doing something like this if I hadn’t spent time with my Dad in his workshop in our basement. He tinkered and I just hung out with him. He let me try things out and made it so I wasn’t afraid of power tools.

Next Week on This Old Gate

I don’t know that I would undertake this particular project again, but I just might. There are other things that need repair and replacement. Stay tuned for up-coming projects!

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Mary L Flett

Mary L Flett

Dr. Mary L. Flett brings humor, compassion, and a deep understanding of human foibles to her writing about life and navigating the challenges aging presents.