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When a Door Isn't Just a Door

By Michelle Spencer

"We need a new front door," states my husband in between sips of coffee and flipping through the newspaper.

"Is that what your horoscope says, or did you deduce that from the business section?" I reply.

My husband's eyes peer over the morning paper and stare at me blankly. He proceeds to make his case. "Our door is one step away from us coming home to find it draped with caution tape from the town."

Personally, over the years, I have bonded with our door; we have a lot in common. She swells when it is hot and humid out, freezes shut after it snows, her skin has begun to crack, and the doorbell now moans instead of its youthful chime. Is this a midlife crisis, out with the old and in with the new? Will my husband come home and have this hussy with a new frame, in her sexy vinyl panels and shiny wanton trim, and then it's a new arm candy wife with fire engine red stilettos next?

I concede — after all, I am a woman, and any chance my husband agrees to go shopping with me happens as often as a lunar eclipse with a welder's helmet within reach.

It occurred to me that I have never shopped for a new front door. This is one of those things that you take for granted, like Band-Aids when your children leave the nest; one box will usually outlast you.

How does one ever prepare for door shopping, I thought? Is it like shoes and needs to match the siding, or should it be a bold statement of who we are? Maybe we'll go with the stately red door and feel like we are entering a luxury spa when we pull into the driveway.

I decided to go online to Door Design for Dummies to become an educated consumer armed with an arsenal of trends and designs and make this trip short and productive. This ultimately will cut down the shopping time for my husband, which will hopefully make him more productive, and he will cut the lawn, which I think engulfed the neighbors' Teacup Poodle last week.

The website lured me in with the words, "Turn your imagination into reality with these unique door design tools. Building a door that reflects your creativity and personality is now easier than ever." I took Outdoor Personality, Accessory Aptitude and Color My World tests for the next seven hours to determine "my inspiration and style." It turns out I am a Tradition Denver style with a Baroque flair with a Queen Anne twist; adding the required weatherproofing for my demographic area puts me at about 7K without installation. Actually, when I held up the computer rendition to my existing front door, they looked like twins separated at birth; only one grew up in Beverly Hills and the other one in a lean-to.  

I conceded, and we went to the Handy Home Store, where we were to look for our new pride and joy. We walked in, and towards the door aisle, I could feel my heartbeat a bit faster, and my steps were light and airy. It felt like adoption day at the shelter minus the wee-wee pads and chew toys. We were going to bring home our new front door. A monument that would act as a beacon for all to see that would welcome our family and keep out the peddlers. A place that would remain long after we are gone leaving a legacy adorned with seasonal floral wreaths like a shrine or the Statue of Liberty. Okay, maybe not the copper goddess herself, but more significant than a yard gnome, lawn flag or mailbox.

The sales associate, or "Home Helper" as they are called, took one look at us and, realizing we are savvier than the average door purchasers, hoisted up a book filled with doors. Doors with windows, doors with built-in blinds, smart doors, doors with eye security; every door imaginable lived in this book.

My husband asked if they had a simple wooden door, one with a doorknob to which our Home Helper, after calling a code on the loudspeaker, just hung his head and wept. After he returned from his safe space, he looked at us and, in a matter-of-fact tone, explained, "A front door is an extension of the family inside, and it is the cornerstone of the house that becomes a home and should be treated with dignity, honor and respect. You don't want ANY door; you want YOUR door, one that will scream "Welcome."

I looked around and could see a crowd of people around us, managers of every department peering at us, making us feel small enough to crawl into a peephole. We threw up our hands, bowed our heads in shame and rifled through the bible of doors until we found one that was nice and left $23 in our savings account for an emergency trip to the urgent care.

"We'll take it," exclaimed my husband. The group all nodded in agreement and, for the first time, gave us a nod in solidarity. Suddenly, the world's weight was off of our shoulders, and if we rushed, we could still make it to Paddy's for the Early Bird Dinner. We paid and were given instructions on where to park to pick up our new family addition when the Home Helper whispered in my ear, "Do you want to tell him the door doesn't come with a doorknob, or shall I?"

 — Michelle Spencer

Michelle Spencer is average but adventurous woman with a chaotic but lovable family who enjoys writing what she experiences.

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