Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 5:52 PM

Have you ever just had one of those days? The kind where nothing at all goes right. The kind that go way beyond a bad hair day to the place where everything just merges into one big lump of ickness?

Well… OK… my day wasn’t quite that bad. Not quite.

The day, strangely enough, began around 11:15 pm last night. I was snuggled with one of the cats in my rocking chair in the family room, trying to keep my eyes open to watch a bit of the news. #1 Son paused in his homework to go out to the garage for something. When he came back inside, he called out “Mom! The door won’t shut!”

I can’t recall any time I’ve heard those words when it was a good thing.

True, the door from the house to the garage had been a little sticky lately. Just yesterday morning we’d had a discussion about squooshing a bit of wd40 into the lock. But when I finally got home yesterday, it was late, I wanted to watch Earthsea on the Sci Fi Channel, and I couldn’t find the wd40 in the garage.

The door, in retaliation, went from sticky to stuck. And the following conversation thus ensued:

Mom: Where’s the wd40?

#1 Son: In the garage.

Mom: Where in the garage?

#1 Son: I dunno. I’m sure I put it out there. Look on a shelf or something

Mom: I looked on a shelf. I looked on all the shelves. I looked everywhere. Is it in your room?

#1 Son: Dunno, mom. I think I put it back. It’s not in my room.

And that meant a trip to the store at 11:30 at night for wd40. When I returned, lubricant in hand, #1 Son met me at the door with our existing can of wd40.

It wasn’t in the garage. It was in his room.

Trying to feel thankful that the family now possessed probably more wd40 than we could reasonably expect to use for the rest of our lives, I also took the opportunity to mention (once again) that it’s easier to find things when one puts them away in their proper resting place. I was way too tired to make more of an issue of it that that.

At midnight I began squooshing the door lock with wd40.

1:30 am found me still at work on the door. By that time I had squooshed ad infinitum with no result, and was attempting to take the knobs off and remove the latch so that I could close the door. I could get the interior knob off, but the exterior knob was held firmly in place by the frozen latch. It refused to let go even when I left off squooshing in favor of prying with a screwdriver while swearing, and finally jiggling the latch and knob while pleading to both the lock and to any personal deity that cared to answer to please let go.

OK I said finally, I’m getting out the hammer and giving you a good whack.

Hammer in hand, I suddenly felt misgivings. I’d worked for 13 hours on Monday. It was 1:30 in the morning. I could barely keep my eyes open. I knew my judgement was not at its usual peak of perfection.

What if… what if whacking the latch with a hammer resulted in an even worse mess than the one I was in? What if I was forced to call in a locksmith and confess that I’d totally screwed up not only the latch, but maybe the whole door? What if, instead of costing the $100 or so for the locksmith, I had to spend a whole lot more to fix whatever damage might be caused by my well-meaning hammer blows?

I put the hammer away and joined the cats in bed.

Around 11:00 this morning, after my round of early meetings, I decided I might as well know the rest of the bad news and looked up “Locksmiths” in the yellow pages. But, I had the good fortune to call Precision Locksmith. And this was my conversation with the Nice Guy At Precision:

NGAP: How can I help you?

Mom: I’m having problems with my door lock. The latch seems to be frozen.

NGAP: Do you have a quickset lock? You probably do. Their most common point of failure is a frozen latch. We see it all the time. Just bring the latch in. We have replacements.

Mom: I can’t get it out of the door. The latch is stuck in the out position and won’t let go of the exterior knob.

NGAP: Just give it a good whack with a hammer.

Mom: OK… uh, are you sure it won’t cause more damage if I do that?

NGAP: No, ma’am, I’m never known that to happen. We could come out if you want, but really you can do this yourself.

OK… So, off I went, from downtown to Tigard. There was a brief stop at home to remove the interior doorknob, whack the latch a good one with my hammer (most common point of failure, take that!), pop off the exterior knob, remove the latch, and put the knobs back on so none of the pieces got lost. Then a quick dash across Beaverton to Precision Locksmith, where for the paltry sum of $7.50 I was able to acquire a replacement latch. Then back to Tigard to install the latch in the door with the knobs and make sure everything works right. Then back downtown for afternoon meetings. Whew.

But I’d really like to thank Precision Locksmith, because I fully expected to have to pay for a house call. They lost the $$$ for that, but they gained a public thankee and a lifelong customer!

OK… the day looks a little better now.

[ed 12/15/04 6:55 am PT] When returning home yesterday after a hard day’s work, there was not nearly enough appreciation from #1 son of the smooth action of the newly installed door latch. Even when I pointed it out and demonstrated how the door could now be closed with one finger. Sheesh. The children of today…

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