Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cats and Doors

It’s been six weeks now, and the cat still hasn’t figured out the new storm door.

When we moved into this house in 1996 one of the first things we noticed was that the back storm door had no closer.  It worked just fine as a door, but the little compressor thing at the top that would close the door for you was missing.  “This will be the first thing to be replaced!” we said, in that flush of new homeownership that long-time homeowners regard as so cute.

For you see, the door functioned perfectly fine otherwise.  It kept the cold out and the warm in during the winter.  It kept the warm out and the cold in during the summer.  Rain did not penetrate its glass panels and side insulation.  Bugs were foiled by its screens.  Yes, we had to leave a bungee cord wrapped around the landing rail so it would be handy for attaching to the door handle if we wanted the door to remain open.  Not a big problem.  There was surprisingly little incentive, in other words, for us to replace the door.

But then during a particularly icy stretch this winter Tabitha slipped while entering the house and took out one of the glass panels.  Fortunately the glass did not shatter and nobody was hurt.  But the panel was irreparable, and we spent the rest of the winter without it.

And the cold came in.  The rain penetrated.  The bugs saw it as a highway.  It was no longer a functioning door.  It was a decorative attachment.

So we bought a new door.

It sat in the garage for a while, sending guilt-rays about this fact, until we moved it closer to the actual door.  Oddly, this did not solve the problem.  So one weekend we took off the old door and put in the new one.  There were the standard number of extra trips to the hardware store and the contractually-obligated use of profanity and idle threats, but eventually the job got finished.

It is a nice door.  It has glass panels all the way down, so that Midgie can stare forlornly outside to see what she is missing without having to stretch.  It has a closer.  The proper temperatures are maintained on either side of the door.  The bugs have moved on to easier challenges.

The thing about the new door, though, is that we could put it on so that the handle was on the right or left as we came in – there were holes pre-punched to give us the choice.  And since the actual door has its handle on the right, Kim decided that the storm door should also have its handle on the right.

Except that the old storm door had its handle on the left. 

Mithra loved this fact about the old door.  Whenever she wanted to come in she would sidle over to the left-hand side of the landing, jump up onto the railing, and wait for us to open the storm door.  Then she’d jump down and stroll inside.

When she tries this now she just crashes into the glass.

We’re waiting for her to make the adjustment and jump up on the right-hand side of the landing, but so far no luck. 

The solution to the problem just changes the problem.

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