Karin's trusty Makita drill

The Gay Agenda – Saturday in February Edition

Karin Kallmaker LIFE + STYLE 10 Comments

Karin's trusty Makita drill
You’ve heard all about it, the Gay Agenda. So I’m going to put it out there, every detail, so we’re all clear about what The Gay Agenda is.

Rodentia a.k.a. Vermin a.k.a. Field Mice

This Gay Agenda item comes to you from the Department of Wish We Had a Cat. Not just any kind of cat, a mouser with over-achievement issues.

Here’s a secret Gay Agenda fact: Field mice don’t stay in their field. If they did I’d have no issue with them. However, they like dark, warm places, like near the battery in a hybrid car. They eat the wires, get stuck, and croak in the engine cabin. The brake warning lights come on while you’re driving and then you’re at the dealer being told that your insurance might cover it. (Phew, it is covered, rendering us a break even for the year from the insurance company’s perspective.) The car gets fixed, but the home To Do list now includes Vermin Proof the Garage so it doesn’t happen again.

So after the three-day weekend Gay Agenda Clean Out the Garage event to remove possible nesting places, apply bleach, paint, and so forth (which is what we Gays do with our three-day weekends, of course), it was time to stop future inroads by the field mice who don’t stay in their field.

Gaps around roll-up garage doors sealed – check. Side door to back yard was probably not the point of entry, but there’s a considerable gap under the door that can’t be left that way, just in case the field mice that don’t stay in their field are wily. So we acquired the necessary door sweep. I’m thinking a couple of minutes with a screwdriver bit in the drill and Bob’s your uncle. Sure.

very gay L-shaped door sweep

Very gay L-shaped door sweep, perfect for The Gay Agenda

Mixed All-Purpose Screws

No matter how cleaned up a garage is, it’s still filthy. I don already dirty clothes and tackle the task of attaching the door sweep to the door. All I have to do is cut the sweep to the right width, and power in the screws with my Makita. Two simple steps. Done in minutes.

The package says the sweep can be cut with scissors or a box cutter. I discover in about two seconds that neither will ever get the job done. No worries, I have a hacksaw. In the course of hacking and sawing I knock a can of creamed corn off a shelf. It dents badly. So, I think, looks like the soup I’m making for dinner is going to have creamed corn in it.

Sweep cut, I fetch the drill and the batteries I’ve been charging. My trusty Makita has two batteries. Two old batteries. They hold a charge for about 5 minutes each. But most of the jobs I need it for take about that long. No big.

I realize at this point that there are no screws in the package with the door sweep. There should have been, but I didn’t notice the small hole where someone had removed them. I’m annoyed, but not dismayed. I have a collection of mixed all-purpose screws.

Don’t judge and roll your eyes like you don’t have one too.

mixed all purpose screws

Dan Aykroyd and the Norge

Here’s another Gay Agenda secret fact: Exterior doors are solid. So after trying the “power in” method, I realize I’m going to need pilot holes.

Switch batteries.

Pilot holes are drilled, and then the sweep is finally screwed into place. But, instead of a job well done, I realize the sweep is about 3/8″ too wide, and it impedes the full range of the door a little bit. If I don’t fix it now it will bug me for the next 20 years.

The truth is, I can tolerate a lot of stuff bugging me, but on this day, The Gay Agenda did not include adding to the list of stuff that bugs me.

Reverse the screws, return to hacksaw station, trim sweep, return to floor and drill 3 of the 4 screws back in.

Switch batteries.

It’s Always the Last Screw

Sounds like a metaphor for life, doesn’t it? Screw number 4 went in easily the first time but the second time, nope. My leverage position is poor because I’m at floor level in a corner, so it’s hard to get my weight behind it at the right angle. The saggy baggy sweats I’m wearing are increasingly saggy, so while expressing colorful language about the last screw and vermin in general, I am picturing Dan Aykroyd repairing the Norge. (As always: Gilda Radner, gone way too soon.)

Finally, the screw lines up properly and I get it half in, switch batteries, and finish the job. Take that, vermin! You have run into The Gay Agenda, that’s right.

The Desk: Where Genius Burns

I have to give a great big shout out to the Sauder people, makers of fine assemble-it-yourself furniture. My desk unit dates to about 1993. All in all, it’s in great shape. But elbow brackets that held on one front piece snapped years ago. Then another set snapped recently because I don’t know my own strength. I finally decide to see if I can find replacement brackets. After all, I have a good drill, and it’s just a matter of replacing the old brackets with new ones.

broken angle bracket

Sauder Customer Service Rocks

About a week ago, I visited Sauder.com and filled in the contact form, giving the date of the desk and describing the broken bits. Someone got back to me within 24 hours, asking for pictures. I sent pictures and 24 hours later I’m told the model number of my desk, and that the 4 brackets I need will be shipped out, no charge. Is that fantastic customer service or what? Free parts, mailed free, for a desk I bought 25 years ago. There is goodness in the world.

Upstairs I go with my Makita and the new brackets. I’m happy to be working in my office, at least. It’s way cleaner than the garage. Today, at least. The drill quickly reverses out the screws on the broken brackets.

Switch batteries.

A couple of squeezes of the drill later, the brackets are on using the new screws that Sauder also sent. That was the easy part. Now I have to attach the other side of the brackets to the desk itself in a not particularly spacious area. For any hope of leverage I have to shinny under the desk. Visibility is poor, and I’m lining up the drill screwdriver bit with the head of the screw by touch.

So I’m delicately sensing with a fingertip a barely discernible change in the surfaces, feeling for just the right spot. It really is a job for a lesbian, amiright?

Before my musings get too far off track I realize one of the previous screw holes is stripped. I have to back up a couple of steps, reverse out some of the screws and…

Switch batteries.

There’s a portmanteau four-syllable word that I don’t say often, but when the last screw went sideways and the head stripped, I said it. (Sam Jackson would have been impressed. It wasn’t in Deadpool’s league, but I was quite sincere in my delivery.)

Moral Support

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my wife did in fact offer moral support during both endeavors, and wisely knew when to go back to her own projects. And she was sorry that she thought there was no one in the garage and turned off the lights while I was trying to line up the door sweep.

dented can of creamed corn

The Soup

Not only was the creamed corn an excellent way to thicken the soup, it went deliciously with the other ingredients: carnitas, carrots and beans. Best of all, there’s leftovers. It’s supposed to rain this coming week, and we badly need it. Doesn’t that seem like another metaphor for life: When DIY hands you dented creamed corn, make corn soup.

Final status: Hot soup, no vermin, and my desk restored to almost original condition. I’m putting my feet up and contemplating the next page in The Gay Agenda.


Are we clear now on The Gay Agenda? Where gay people do pretty much the same things, day in and day out, that the not gay people do?

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Comments 10

  1. The mice built a nest in my year-old Prius in the air cleaner! Car still ran & I took it in for a regular service visit and the mechanic came into the waiting room with the mess in his hands & explained what it was & where it was. He was equally surprised the car was running fine anyway. It was a lot of work getting all of it out & as you said, thank goodness cost was covered.

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  2. Karin, I love this. So true to life.

    Our weekend Gay Agenda looks pretty much the same around here. Today, because of heavy storms, it was get the trash pump out and pump about 8 inches of water out of our tiny basement because the sump pump couldn’t keep up, then re-light the pilot on the hot water heater, one of the only things down there besides the furnace (which is raised 2 feet off the floor on a platform of cinder blocks because, storms). After that, we stood outside in the windy cold and contemplated calling our Amish carpenter friend about rebuilding the overhang that used to shelter the outside and only entrance to our basement so this stops happening – repeatedly – every spring throwing our Gay Agenda all out of whack. Why the previous home owner tore off the overhang over that and over the side entry porch remain mysteries.

    Yeah, the Gay Agenda is so much different…

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      We used to live in a house with a basement that took on water, so I don’t envy you at all! Do you ever want to find the previous owner and ask, “What were you thinking!?”

  3. I completely understand! I had much the same kind of day after the new dryer was installed. Yet…what sticks in my mind is “It’s always the last screw.” Kudos KK.

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      YouTube DIY videos never seem to include issues with the last screw. And their batteries never run down. I call B.S. 🙂

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