The door to lost expectations

Yesterday did not go according to plan. It’s left me… just… hurt.

I do my best to be an upbeat person and I just keep plugging away until I find something that works. I take breaks and come back with renewed focus and energy. Each time thinking this will be the change that works.

I don’t know that I have that in me anymore. My current reality feels a whole lot like my future reality. And I don’t know how to change that.

Yesterday I bought a new door. A door filled with a string of compromises. The original plan was to replace the door when I remodeled my kitchen. I had gotten quotes from three contractors. The quotes were higher than expected so I held off for a few months to save up a little extra money for the inevitable cost overruns that happen when you gut a kitchen. I nearly had enough extra money saved when I was laid off.

I took the layoff in stride. I’d find a job and it would pay close to or as much as I was making before. That was 14 months ago.

As the months ticked by I had more time to think about my kitchen. I could save some money on the remodel by gutting the kitchen myself with some help from family. It’s only 9 cabinets. Demo costs saved.

My brother in law mentioned that I didn’t have to go down to the subfloor to replace the floor. I could just remove the top layer and replace that. More money saved.

There isn’t enough space where I want to move the refrigerator for a standard cabinet. I decided I didn’t need a custom cabinet and could use shelves to achieve what I needed in that space. More money saved.

I figured out a plan to remodel the kitchen in stages. The cabinets and countertops would be a big project, but the rest could be done as I had the money available. Appliances, backsplash, floor, new lighting and a back door added as money allowed. Every few months another part of the kitchen would get completed.

About that back door. The house was in foreclosure when I bought it 5 years ago and someone had broken in through the back door. The frame was split and starting to pull away from the house. There was no deadbolt because that part of the door and frame were beyond repair. The door knob was functional, but couldn’t be tightened because of damage there too.

I tolerated it for 4 years because I had this plan. This plan to remodel my kitchen. A plan I was so close to executing I had started to pick out the exact products I wanted. Closing in on the vision in my head of a completed kitchen and the first big thing on my house list complete. An expectation dashed by my layoff.

A few months ago I had some friends over for a get-together. It was a beautiful day and people were in and out of my back door. Well, they were until the door locked. No one locked it. It was just locked. I went to figure out what was going on and the door knob snapped off in my hand.

Ok. No biggie. I have a door knob that I bought for the garage but never installed. I’ll just install it here. Except I can’t. The door is so damaged that none of the screws will stay screwed in. I leave it be to deal with another day and rejoin the party.

The next day I take a close look at the door. There is no way to install the new door knob and not have the same issue. There just isn’t enough wood left to properly mount a door knob. I roll up a dish towel and shove it in the hole to keep the bugs out until I get a new door.

I start door shopping. Touring all the home improvement stores, checking out options and pricing. I research online what I should consider in my northern climate when buying a door. I research whether I need a storm door and my options if I just want a screen door.

New plan. A fiberglass door is a lower cost option than steel and a better weather option than wood. I don’t need to get a storm door because fiberglass doors do a better job of sealing than wood doors. That means I can just get a screen door. It also means that I can hold off on buying the screen door until the spring. I picked out a model I liked and headed to the store to make it happen.

Making it happen starts with door measurements. The store sent a contractor out to measure my door and I went in yesterday to order the door. The door was priced at $250 for any of their standard door frame sizes. That’s where things went wrong. I don’t have a standard sized door frame. I need a custom door frame. Custom means money. Lots of money.

The door with the store’s Labor Day custom order discount came to $1,200. I still needed to pay for installation. We priced out two other options to see if a different manufacturer or the store brand would be less expensive. Nope.

I can’t avoid buying a door. I need a new door. A dish towel is not a viable option for the winter. It’s disconcerting that I’m using it as a viable option for now.

The sales person is really great. He plays with the different options to get the price down. The price drops little by little and we get it down to $600. The biggest saving comes with some work for me. The door and frame will be primed, but not painted. I’ll have to do that myself. That saves me around $300 on the door. Time and a gallon of paint will eat into that savings slightly.

Installation and disposal of the existing door adds another $400 to the price. What I had hoped would cost around $500-600 is actually $1,000. Plus door knobs. Plus paint.

I had budgeted for $500. I bit the bullet and bought the door. I just won’t spend that $500 in October and I’ll be even.

Except drain in the utility sink in the basement is leaking. The plan was to let it leak until October and then hire a plumber to check it out. It’s only a few weeks and it only leaks when I do laundry. I decide to ignore this for now and worry about it another day.

I go home to an email about Boy Scouts. The kick off meeting is in a few weeks and last year the dues were $200. I don’t have $200. I was already over budget this month before I bought $1,000 back door.

I go to my daughter’s Jr. High Parent Night. Every year the 6th-grade class does something called Outdoor Ed. It’s a three-day outdoor camp where they learn team work and challenge themselves. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this opportunity. Tonight I learn that the opportunity costs a little over $200 and is due this month.

My day went from $0 to $1,400 in the blink of an eye.

I was done in. I cried in my car on the way home from Parent Night. I dried my tears in the driveway, went in the house and acted like everything was ok.

It’s not.

Today I am broken.

And I don’t know how to fix it.

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