Old Screen Door

Fresh paint and a new wire screen spruced up the old screen door.

The vet stopped by for a visit and pretended not to notice.

I expected him to say something, not that I needed lavish praise or anything. I thought he might test the tension with a finger, maybe nod appreciation. Care and patience were required to dismantle and reassemble the screen section without breaking the old molding.

No, it doesn’t look brand new… it’s an old wooden door, vintage with scars and character, a bit of history in every layer of paint. I think the worn out screen was original.

He paid no attention to the door, not even after he opened it to exit. I was standing in the house, looking out that door while he standing out on the porch. He continued to ignore the door just like he ignored the photo I had posted on Facebook.

So I said, “Hey, I think I did a pretty good job on this door.”

Still nothing. Then he looks at me and says, “Why didn’t you paint the rails?”

Yeah, he’s talking about the vertical metal porch rails visible in this photo snapped from inside the house (love how “clear” the screen looks; it’s almost invisible).

What the hell?

I told him that I haven’t got to that yet.

It’s Fall. If you notice, it’s been raining. A lot. I’m also a disabled woman doing what I can as I can. It’s slow going. I do a little at a time. It took many hours and lots of breaks to get as much painted as I did.

He’s mad because I hired my son-in-law to finish painting the porch instead of asking him.

He’s mad because he thinks my son-in-law milked a 30 minute job into two hours and didn’t bother to paint the face boards up around the outside edge. I should have inspected the job better before I paid him. What exactly did he do?

The vet wanted me to show him, as he had already seen THIS photo (porch ceiling) of what I had done BEFORE hiring help to get where I couldn’t get by dabbing with rollers and brushes stuck up on sticks.

So, what now? He just noticed that my son-in-law painted only painted the wooden hand rail on top of the metal railing?

There is a reason for that… I assumed the white was all done when my son-in-law opened the can of “dark rum raisin” brown and started painting the wooden hand rail on top of the railing. I watched for a minute… then I decided to call the job done. He didn’t paint the metal railing because I told him to finish painting the wooden hand rail and we’ll call it done, that’s enough for today.

This is not my first rodeo. Anyone who has ever painted twisted metal porch railing knows that you have to paint those rails from all sides, that it is so much easier to lean over the hand rail to do it. Otherwise, you have to run around, up and down, on and off the porch multiple times, wiggling through bushes, and might even need a step stool in places to reach those rails. Unless you are a tall contortionist, you do not paint the wooden top rail first. I wasn’t going to pay $10 an hour to watch him try to do that.

I didn’t know that he skipped painting the outside around the top, as I had specifically told him, when I was outside showing him what needed done, to do that and finish the two wooden corner posts FIRST. (He was talking about going over what I had already painted and I didn’t think there was enough paint to re-do what I did AND paint where I couldn’t reach.) Yes, I should have looked. I should have walked off the porch, looked up, and inspected the work before I paid him. Oh well. Does it really matter? No… the whole house will be professionally painted next year, if I can save up enough cash to get it done. This painting was just to tide things over, prevent some wood rot this winter while making it look like someone actually does care about this place. At least enough to spruce up that old screen door.


FOUR DAYS LATER:  I got the rails done.

The vet said he’d paint those missed boards when we get some dry days again. This is Ohio so, never know when that might be. Snow could fly before then.

I realized something… painting that screen door was just another change. About every time the vet comes over, something is different. Every little change I make, inside or out, reminds him that everything is changing. Nothing will never be exactly the same as it was before. The house is different. The dynamics of our relationship is different. We are different. It has only been four months since we decided to take a break in our relationship to work on ourselves and here I am, making all these little changes.

I have to… otherwise, I’d feel like I was living in a shrine of what was. It would feel like I’m drowning in a stagnant pond of my own tears. Besides, some changes are just normal upkeep and all, things I would have done anyway.

We still love each other… that is the one constant in the flux of everything. Right now, there is no future and no past, just one day at a time, one text, one call, one visit. Can we roll with what comes?

Thanks for reading!