Over the last couple of weeks, we'd noticed that our large sliding door was becoming harder to open and finally, yesterday, the runners just about seized solid and the door was a pain to open and sounded like someone was turning a Bowie knife inside a pig's belly.
So off I go to the Penny Pinchers (should be Megabuck Stealers with their prices) and buy the last two runners they have in stock, thinking "Kewl, now I'll sort this puppy out and be on the beach at 6pm." Ha-bloody-ha!!!
A quick call to Swartland Doors, who made the slider, and I know what I need to do. This is sounding easier all the time...should be on the beach by 17h30!!
I quickly remove all the screws holding the frame border with my new cordless screwdriver (replaced the old one following the burglary we had last week) and prepare to remove the plank. It's wedged in a little tight because of old varnish and contact with wet plaster some years ago so I wiggle it a bit.
Then things started going pear-shaped.
A couple of weeks ago we'd also noticed that a section of the plaster on the reveal had cracked away from the lintel and I was careful that I didn't want to bring it crashing down as I wiggled the plank. The only thing was, as I was wiggling away (holding onto the loose section of plaster), a section about a foot away (and about a foot long) comes loose and crashes to the floor instead!!!! I stare at the pieces of plaster in incredulity and then start pissing myself laughing. At least now I don't have to worry about not bringing down the first piece and I tear it off with less than a worry.
Once I'd stopped laughing, I unscrewed the track holding the top of the door to the frame and the whole door comes loose in my hands. I really do not want to drop this thing as I would never be able to find all the glass pieces if I did, so I enlist the help of SWAMBO (Sy Wat Altyd My Bakkie Oorlaai) to help me stand the door on its side to allow me access to the runners.
The old runners merely slide out as they had no screws in place on the older doors (the runners just wedged in snugly) and I immediately see they are different in size to the new ones. Not only that, they are smaller and I would need some carpentry to make them fit.
Anyway, to make a long story short, SWAMBO had to leave for her afternoon "Loop en Val" class (Run/Walk for Life) so I was on my own to finish the door ("Ja, I'll be fine, don't worry about me").
It's also in times like this that you find that there is no such thing as a straight line in the building industry and door frames are almost never square.
I needed to wedge some offcuts into the old holes and use the power file to sand the slots into the right size for the new runners, but it took me three occasions of fitting the door onto the rail only to find that the depth of the new runners was different to the old ones as well and that I needed to recess the new ones deeper to allow for the difference. Without doing this, the door was too high for the frame, so it was a case of take it out, take some more off the slot, refit it, curse and swear, take it out again, chisel some more off the door, refit the runner, refit the door, curse and swear.....you get the picture.
After about the third series of cursing and swearing, the door finally fit into its position and I could get the top track on as well. Have you ever tried to balance a 60kg door on a rail, while fitting a screw into a hole, while trying to get the posi-bit onto the screw head, while trying to not run the screwdriver too fast so as to make sure the screw goes in and doesn't fall to the ground (happened twice), while cursing and swearing at the screws on the floor........
Somewhere around 7pm, I stood back and admired my handywork and declared the pub "open" as I needed a drink after what I'd just been through. I was tired, sweaty and covered in fine meranti dust, so I also need a shower.
When SWAMBO came home at around 11pm, I made sure the door was closed so that she would immediately declare me her hero as she slid the door effortlessly on its new runners. Job done.
Now, all I have to do is work on my plastering skills so that I can close up the reveal under the lintel...