The Diary of a Curtain Rod (or Why Living Alone is Dangerous)

I think that since moving to LA I’ve become a fairly self-sufficient person  – in a good way, I mean. I’ve grown up in ways you don’t really seem to when you’re around people and places you’ve always known. So when I moved recently and had to put up new curtain rods I didn’t think much of it. This is after all something I’ve done several times before.

At my last apartment I bought a cheap drill expressly for this purpose, but as there were already rods hung I didn’t end up using it. So when I pulled it out last week it was for the first time. Let me give you some background context…

1st apartment – My roommate had an electric screwdriver, pretty straight forward. No problems. 2 curtain rods hung.

2nd apartment – My roommate’s boyfriend bought her a fancy drill with all kinds of bits and such. Very complicated, but with a bit of help 1 curtain rod hung.

Which brings us to the 3rd and current apartment and the “simple” drill. This drill is nothing like Teresa’s fancy one, and it is apparently so simple that they don’t give very clear instructions on how to use it. I see the various bit holders but can’t seem to get them attached to the drill ☹. Determined not to get frustrated I simply decide that then next night I am going to bring it into work and ask one of the guys to show me how to use it.

Success! It turns out it is very simple, but the instructions were missing one vital piece of information – which I lack the terminology to describe, but suffice it to say I got it figured out. Thanks Bradley!

Armed with my new knowledge I am excited to put up the curtain rod in my bedroom.  I get home around 11:45 or so and grab my step stool to begin. I select the right bit and get ready to drill in the first screw only to be thwarted as the screw just spins around on the drill, making no forward progress into the wall. I decide to take a nail and use it to get the hole started, and that helps, but it is still near impossible to get the screws in. One ricochets off and grazes my thumb giving me a nasty blood blister – ouch! And the last one won’t for the life of me go in the last few millimeters. Who cares?! At this point it is after 1 am, and I am so frustrated I just want to cry. And in fact I do start crying. I’m tired; I’m frustrated; I just wish there was someone else here to do this, and ugh, this sucks! Whatever! I slap a piece of white duck tape over the protruding screw and say I’m done; the curtain will cover it anyway, and it’s in far enough it’s not going to fall out.

I put the curtains on the rods and get them into the brackets…and you know what; they are dragging on the floor. Ooohhh! Now I’m just pissed! After all that I was too stupid to remember to measure before I put up the rod. Now I’m really crying. I decide that it’s way too late to fix this now, and I’ll just take care of it in the morning.

Morning dawns and with it a new determination to conquer the curtains! I decide that before I get frustrated with the bedroom window again I’m going to try for the living room. I measure the curtains against the window, plot out where I want the holes, start them off with a nail hole, and before you know it we’re in business. When the first screw doesn’t seem to want to go that last few millimeters it occurs to me that perhaps these screws are too deep for my walls, and why don’t I just try shorter ones? Brilliant idea! It’s amazing how much better the brain works after sleep! So 20 short minutes later the living room curtain rod is hung, and no injuries or mishaps have occurred.

I’m feeling pretty good at this point. I’ve concluded that the likely problem is I was too close to the window before and the metal frame they put around them was probably interfering with the drilling which is why I had so much trouble. Now that I’m measuring where the curtains actually hit and am a good 5 or 6 inches away from the window’s edge I should have no problems. Not so.

I do everything the same as I did for the living room, but this time it’s like I’m drilling into concrete. I just keep seeing drywall powder fall as the screw turns but makes no forward progress. I try again in another spot, and another. No luck. But I’m determined – this has got to work; I just need to apply more force. At this moment the screw ricochets off the drill and as it’s flying by my thumb, which is holding on the bracket, it drills into my nail bed where it hits the side of the thumb. It’s bleeding. The nail’s cracked. It’s throbbing!! And I’m in tears – this hurts!

I start talking out loud to myself (I do that in stressful or confusing situations – it helps me think) and telling myself to get ice, keep it elevated, sit down – because at this point adrenaline has kicked in and I’m in a cold sweat. It doesn’t appear to be too deep, but wow, it hurts!

Once I get to a place where I’m mostly calmed down – the thumb is washed and bandaged, still throbbing, but going to be ok – I decide to take one last try at the evil curtain rod. Nope. Can’t do it. Even with a glove on (a dishwashing glove, because that’s all I have) I’m still nervous. But what really seals the deal is the fact that I literally can’t put ANY pressure on my thumb without it inducing searing pain. So I have no way to hold the bracket in place while attempting to drill in the screw.

The tears that haven’t really stopped begin to trickle down my face a little stronger as I collapse on the couch. I grab my phone, text my friend Barry and sum up the situation ending by asking him to PLEASE come deal with the evil curtain rod – I’m done.

It’s pretty funny to tell now, but in the moment…


~ by Shannon on August 18, 2009.

One Response to “The Diary of a Curtain Rod (or Why Living Alone is Dangerous)”

  1. too too funny 🙂

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