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Saturday, March 8, 2003

Am I the only person who thinks you should be able to close a door without turning the knob? Don't most people just pull their doors shut? Or slam them, when that's the appropriate action. Maybe a hundred years ago door technology hadn't advanced to the point where you could slam a door when you needed to. That was then, this is ... then, I guess, at least at my house.

I think I made it clear to my landlords that I expected my front door to operate the same way every other door in the house works. When I'm going out, I want to turn the lock and pull the door shut behind me. I don't want to have to use the knob to close it and then use the key to lock it. Too many steps.

I'm not lazy (well, not that lazy), but this is the twenty-first century, and my house is less than ten years old. What's the deal here?

At least I'll have one more day to make a big issue out of this. That's because they couldn't fix the leaky kitchen faucet today. I had two little items on my list, and they did them both wrong. My landlords keep my rent improbably low compared to similar houses, so I don't have a lot of leverage to complain. Since I don't make demands, I sort of expect my petty requests to be honored. I guess that's na´ve.

As it turned out, I gave up my whole Saturday so they could take care of these two items. They weren't supposed to be here before 11:00 this morning, but Fred knocked on my door at 10:30 to look at the sink and see what kind of faucet he needed to get. I'd forced myself to get up and dressed, so it didn't matter.

Then I waited the rest of the morning and half the afternoon, while they worked outside on the fence. For some reason that had priority, but I was patient because I knew they would get to me eventually. At 2:00 pm, they were back at the door. Fred brought in the faucet he'd bought and Jerry started pulling apart my door frame.

From the kitchen I heard an ominous "uh oh," and then Fred asked if I ever used the sink sprayer. He'd bought the wrong faucet assembly, one without a sprayer. The old me would have said "that's okay" and let him install the faucet he had, but in fact I do use the sprayer, every time I wash dishes or clean the sink. I apologized, but I told him I really wanted to keep the sprayer.

Instead of taking the faucet back and exchanging it, they both went to work on the front door. At least they were going to get that finished today. They screwed and unscrewed, hammered and glued until the door would finally latch the way it's supposed to. I didn't realize at the time that it would only do that if I turned the knob while closing the door, so I thanked them and sent them off. They promised to be back later with the new faucet.

Fifteen minutes later, Fred was at the door again. They had a toilet fall apart at one of their other units and wouldn't be able to take care of my faucet tonight after all. Would it be okay if they came back tomorrow? Sure. "I won't be here until nine, because I know you like to sleep in."

Well, what could I say? To someone like Fred, nine o'clock in the morning is the middle of the day. To me, on the weekend, it's the middle of the night. This throws my whole Sunday out of whack. I'll get up and be ready for him, and then either he won't show up until noon, or he'll show up on time and I'll be tired and cranky all day. And then all day Monday, too. Like I need another reason to be out of sorts on a Monday.

So I'm in a pretty pissy mood tonight. I didn't get what I wanted out of the door project, and I have to get up way too early again tomorrow. That pretty much blasts my neat stack of weekend hours into a randomly misshapen mass of useless minutes. My routine helps me navigate the rapids, and any alteration in course is probably going to launch me into the rocks and eddies all around me.


Clouds over the trees to the northeast.

Landlord Fred is my neighbor. He lives in the blue house that I can see from my back porch (more easily since the storm in January blew half the fence posts down, which is the reason for the current repair work). He never bothers me, as I might expect a landlord living that close to do. I don't want to make too much of my dissatisfaction with minor nuisances, because (a) I don't like confrontations unless they're necessary or unavoidable, and (2) rocking the boat could have messy consequences.

So I'll just put the door situation down to one of those quirks I have to deal with to live here, like the weeds and the gophers.

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Not only do I have to keep my house clean for one more day, but I also have to find something to eat that won't dirty the sink. Oh, I guess I could wash dishes and put them away, but my lifestyle agenda includes a provision for doing dishes no more than twice a week (if not less).

The funny part is the landlords have never commented on anything to do with the house or the yard. They have to walk through high weeds between the paving stones just to get to my door, and it doesn't faze them in the least. I notice it every day, along with the cobwebs in the rafters that I can't reach. I'm not sure why I obsess about things I have no intention of doing anything about.

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One year ago: Money Maker
"I don't expect my opinion to carry any weight with the folks who make these decisions, since they're the same ones who thought Dennis Miller would be a good football commentator."

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