Apparently I’m as handy at installing a baby gate as I am at installing a car seat.
As you may recall from my last post, I dread weekend projects, because a) I have precious little free time with my job and the comics and b) I am as handy with tools as a blind monkey in a straight jacket.
This weekend, I set out to install a baby gate separating the living room from the kitchen where dangers such as the cats' litter box and cats' food dishes (and all the assorted cat cooties) lurk. For some reason, Baby Wright seems drawn to places he knows he should not be.
When Baby Wright first started crawling a couple of months ago, the first place he scrambled to was the cats' feeding area in the kitchen. My wife seems to think that it would be a good idea to put up a fence to keep the baby away from the cats' food. I'm pretty sure the cats agree.
The gate looked easy enough to install. The box proclaimed that all you need is a screwdriver (even an idiot like Dave can handle a screwdriver!. The fewer tools needed, the more likely I am to buy a product. So, I figure I couldn't screw this up.
I figured wrong.
But it's not my fault. The box lied.
One of the first instructions in the book that came with the fence was, "USING A DRILL AND 3/15 BIT, DRILL A BUNCH OF RANDOM HOLES IN THE WALL" Nobody told me I needed a drill!
So, then I had to go borrow a drill.
It's not that I don't have a drill. I just don't recall where I put the damned thing. It isn't in my garage with the rest of the cobweb covered tools. It isn't in the laundry room. The only thing I can think of is that my subconscious, in an effort to avoid all future home improvement projects, drove me to bury the drill in the backyard while sleepwalking.
The next step was to locate eight spots to drill holes where the gate will be connected via plastic connectors which are screwed and anchored into opposite walls. The box even included a handy EASY TO USE template! You'd have to be an idiot to mess this up!
While measuring with the template, which is supposed to start at the floor and measure up, I failed to take the trim along the floor into account -- which I realized only after drilling four holes and attempting to line the gate up.
Then I had to locate the proper spot to drill FOUR MORE HOLES.
Okay, halfway done, and only a little bit of damage.
Then I started on the other wall. Somehow, I managed to measure one of the sets of holes incorrectly, by JUST A TINY FRACTION. Just enough to completely throw off both connectors and require me to drill FOUR MORE HOLES.
To make matters worse, since I didn't realize my screwup until it was too late, I managed to lose 4 anchors in the wall. So, now I didn't have enough anchors to complete the job.
While I would love to have let loose a stream of obscenities, Baby Wright was watching his inept daddy work. I was pretty sure I saw him shake his head in shame at how bad I am with these projects. I almost expected him to lean over and say, "No, dad, you're doing it all wrong. Move over, let me finish."
It was bad enough that he had to watch me screw up, but I didn't want him to see me screaming at the fence. So I kept my cool, went to Lowes, picked up a box of 1,000 anchors (just in case I managed to REALLY screw up the gate).
I'm fairly certain my wife was ashamed and upset at the Extra holes in the wall. I wanted to say, "Hey, if you can do it better, than go ahead." Of course, if SHE DID do it better, then I'd lose whatever respect I have left in her for the things I can do pretty well. For the record, things I can do well include -- fix or at least figure out electronics and computer related things, figure out ANY television remote control in a matter of seconds and instinctively find the best tv shows or movies on TV at any moment in time without a need for any programming guide.
The rest of the job went off without a hitch. And for my efforts, I have a nice secure baby fence and eight extra holes in the wall. Which of course means I have ANOTHER weekend project -- repairing the holes and painting over them.
I can't possibly screw that up.