I will always remember the hardware store in my hometown, Greenwood Lake, N.Y. Despite the time of day, it always seemed like dusk inside and I can remember being fascinated by the uncountable bins filled with washers, nails, screws and other unnamed shiny metal things. On the hottest of summer days, the store emanated a mildly damp coolness that made walking the aisles a quiet treat and I don't remember ever complaining about it being my turn to run a hardware errand.
That store is long gone, but in the DelSo we have Bridgeford Hardware, a throwback to those simpler times. Unlike the "big box" stores it is unnecessary to waste time searching for someone for assistance. Employees are readily available to help with practical suggestions and expert advice. Last week I finally decided to suck it up and replace the the screening in my sliding door to the deck. Now generally I'm not the worst person in the world in terms of home maintenance issues, but my hesitation was prompted by my experience the last time I replaced the screen a couple of years ago. On that particular day, the door was placed back on its slider and within an hour Cassidy Lilly (our family's sweet black lab) felt the need to open the door with her sharp claw creating a new puncture. A hole which naturally has been expanding ever since until it ultimately became an ad hoc doggie door.
With the arrival of spring, and my desire to improve my homeowner maintenance capabilities, I called Bridgeford and asked what we could do to prevent another screen repair job from going awry. Was there plexiglass which could be screwed to the lower part of the door? Perhaps chicken wire (aesthetics are secondary to function in some instances) could be stapled over the screen to provide an extra layer of fortification from Cassidy's need to independently let herself out to the deck? It was explained that neither of these were an option as the plexiglass would crack when affixed by screws and chicken wire was not available. As an alternative, the patient man suggested using a flat sheet of metal, the type typically used when making covers for old school radiators. He did caution that they were expensive, probably close to $25, which would bring the cost of the repair up to about $50. I ended the call and considered my options. And then - I remembered that I already had one of those sheets of metal! I even knew where it was - bonus. I carried the door and the metal to my car and mere hours later, I was pleased to rehang the door that would let a breeze into my family room, yet keep the majority of pesky bugs out.
Despite the additional labor and hardware involved with affixing the metal sheet, I wasn't charged anymore than the regular price for a screen repair of that size, $25. As for Cassidy, she hasn't even attempted to let herself out, so the solution has been a complete success. And my childhood love for hardware stores, like my sliding door's screen, remains intact.