Monday, July 20, 2015

Sleep on it

"I have a bit of wisdom you can put in your blog," said Lou.


"Yeah. Last night I was thinking about the problem with the screen door."

Lou had decided to make a sliding screen door for his vardo. Much better than the screen curtain held in place by magnets. So, putting our two old fart heads together, we had custom engineered the rolling mechanism using available hardware, tested it, made adjustments here and there, and were satisfied with the results.

However, there were still things to be done, like finalizing the door jam, installing the floor, and painting everything.

When we did the final installation yesterday, the screen door wouldn't slide nicely. It had been built with close tolerances in order to keep flies and mosquitoes from slipping in around the edges. It had worked fine when everything was bare wood, but now paint and varnish were rubbing slightly against each other, causing the screen door to bind. It needed to be a hair farther from the wall and door jam.

The simple thing would be to move the aluminum track a little, but we couldn't because now the ceiling was in place, blocking access to screws that held the track to the wooden strip. And we couldn't remove the wooden strip because it was glued to the wall.

We considered and tried several solutions, including beating on the rollers a little. Nah. So we cursed he problem and set it aside for the night.

That brings us to this morning, when Lou said, "Yeah. Last night I was thinking about the problem with the screen door. Here's that bit of wisdom: Sometimes the obvious isn't so obvious."


"I solved the problem. Go take a look."

Ah-HA! He'd recessed the rollers into the door, thus moving the door away from the wall. As a bonus, the roller installation looked more professional.

It's a well tested and proven problem-solving phenomenon. Concentrate on a problem for a while, then put it aside. Let your subconscious wrestle with the problem while you do something else. One or more solutions will percolate to your conscious mind. You'll have a Eureka Moment (though you might not go running naked through town afterward). I employed this mental trick almost daily in my career. It actually works. And now the screen door works, too.


  1. Sleep on it is my favorite response to a problem. Naps can do it, too.

  2. Man you guys are doing an amazing job.