Friday, January 23, 2015

Some Days (Okay, Maybe Even Weeks) are Filled with Problems

Some time ago, I mentioned that I'd had a couple of bad days, days during which many things went wrong. It happens occasionally, but this really was an exceptional streak.

The first window I installed in the JayBee was broken. It could have been damaged during shipping. I unpacked the windows in the dark the day they arrived, so I wasn't super thorough with checking the windows over before storing them. When I noticed the window was broken before I installed it, I should have loaded it into my car and taken it to a glass-repair place, and then worked on installing a different window. But, no, I installed it anyway. As soon as I had the window installed, I knew I could not live with it broken. There is no way to know how long it would have taken for the window to become compromised but, eventually, moisture would have made its way between the panes and clouded it up. A few days later, I had a glass repair person come to the house to assess the window and work up an estimate for repairing it. I was surprised by how aggressive this guy was with the window. He roughly yanked and pried the molding pieces off the window--so roughly, in fact, that I thought they might snap in the cold. When one of the molding pieces resisted removal, the repair person used a pry bar. He set the curve of the bar against the crack in the window; when he pried, the window pane broke some more!

This photo shows the original break (the long diagonal crack) and the additional breaks added by the repair person (the two additional cracks within the corner triangle).

When I called the glass place to accept the estimate and make arrangements to have the window repaired, they started second-guessing their assessment of the window and suggested they come back again to reassess it. (Specifically, they were now thinking the window was one big pane rather than separate panes.) You may be wondering why I didn't cut my losses at this point and find a different way to have the window fixed. I wondered this myself, but I agreed to the second assessment as long as I would not be charged for two trips to my home. This time, the manager of the repair place came. He did not remove any of the window molding. Instead, he took down information about the window and said he would talk to Andersen. After he had returned to his shop, he called me twice to ask me to take pictures of the broken window and various window stickers and tags. It was all worth it, though, because he convinced Andersen to replace the window (not the frame, just the pane) for free! (I only had to pay for the labor to swap out the window.) Today, the manager returned and replaced the window unit. Ta da! New, unbroken window.

As I work, I am meticulous about picking up any screws, nails, or staples that I drop. I don't typically drop many such things, but I don't want to leave anything on the ground that my car tires might pick up. Usually I know where a screw or staple has ended up, just by hearing it ping on its way down. Over the course of these few unlucky days, I was dropping way more screws and staples than usual, and I couldn't find them! I spent more time on my hands and knees on the cold ground scouring around for these dropped items. Then, after collecting these things and other small bits of trash in a plastic container for days, the wind tossed the container across the driveway, scattering everything far and wide.

After I installed the first window, I installed the JayBee door. When I removed the plastic film from the large glass panes in the door, I noticed that there is a long, 5-6 inch scratch in one of the panes. The glass is not broken, but the scratch is deep enough that it cannot be buffed out. Aargh!

After the door was installed all square, plumb, and level, I removed the bracing from the inside of the door and opened it. But, then, it would not close! In the photo below, notice that the door (on the left) has enough clearance to close up at the top of the jamb but then does not clear the jamb at the bottom of the photo. It was really close--the vinyl on the outside of the door cleared the jamb, but the wood on the inside did not.

The bottom corner of the door had the same issue--the door cleared the jamb in the corner, but the middle of the door did not. Since the other three sides of the door had very even, consistent clearance from the jamb all the way around, I figured I had two options for making the door close: either plane the wooden edge of the door to make it fit the jamb, or drive screws through the door jamb to create the clearance needed for the door. I was hesitant to do either of these things because the wood on this door and jamb is really nice and I hated to mar it. Finally, after many days of stewing, I decided on option two. I marked out spots to drill holes that would be consistently spaced and would miss all metal braces, the door knob, and the dead bolt. I started with the spot closest to the middle of the door. I drilled the hole, and drove a screw until I could tell the jamb was pulled over just a bit. The door closed! I ended up using seven screws--two of them can be seen in the photo below.

I adjusted the screws until the clearance between the door and the jamb was consistent along the door's entire edge. I haven't plugged the screw holes yet. I am going to wait and see if the door requires adjustment over time. If it goes through a few seasons without needing adjustment, I will plug the holes with dowel pegs. See the nice, consistent clearance the door has now?

The door came with pre-drilled holes for a door knob and a dead bolt, but the jamb had no holes for the latch and dead bolt and their strike plates. This next photo shows my beginning work on the hole and strike plate for the door latch.

Here is the fully installed door knob.

Here is the outside view of the fully installed dead bolt and door knob.

As if all of these JayBee-related problems weren't enough, I was experiencing similar snafus in the rest of my life as well. I had been feverishly working on finishing an afghan I had been crocheting as a gift for my brother. Finally, I was at the point of connecting all of the long crocheted strips to assemble the finished product. Then, while connecting the fifth strip... Oops! What's wrong with this picture?

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