Monday, November 05, 2007

Nobody knows the Trouble he's Seen ...

It has not been a good year for Rudolph the Cat and doors.

Rudolph spends every night in the office, a very small bedroom in our house. We lock him in. It may seem cruel, but it is a comfortable room, complete with food, water, litter box, cat hammock. Rudolph generously shares his room with us, allowing is to park a couple desks, filing cabinet, the computer, a cushy office chair--oh, and a huge elliptical trainer--in there. We have to lock him in because he just doesn't behave at night. When we forget to lock him up, he spends tmost of the night howling: howling at the kids' bedroom doors, howling in the bathroom for water, howling at the back door to be let out. It's horrible.

The first thing we do in the morning is set him free. This morning, when I tried to let him out, the door wouldn't open. The knob turned, but the latch wouldn't open. I tried everything I could think of to get it open, without any luck. The kids were upset, but that was nothing compared to the cat's reaction. When Rudolph wasn't throwing his 18+ pounds at the door trying to let himself out, he was reaching his paw out to us from under the door as he cried, piteously, Let me out. (Or perhaps, I'm innocent!) Good God. CatCrazy daughter was beside herself.

The doorknobs on the upstairs bedrooms are your basic modern bed-and-bathroom doorknobs, locking with a pushbutton from the inside. When your child throws a hissy fit and locks you out of her room, all you need to do is insert an unbent paperclip or a No. 1 knitting needle into the little hole on the outside doorknob and pop! you can chastise your child face to face and avoid the more embarrassing yelling through the door method of discipline.

To be fair, we did have some warning that this doorknob was failing, and new doorknobs were already on my Home Depot shopping list. The doorknobs in this house are the usual level of quality and technology that we have come to expect from the craftsmen at Ryland Homes, the builders of this development. By this, of course, I mean that they were CRAP. Every time we have anything replaced or fixed in this house, the repairman looks at the item in something akin to disbelief at the sheer crappiness of it (either that or unabashed amazement at the item's having lasted this long). I figured it would be pretty easy to find replacement door knobs at Home Depot and that even the least expensive knobs available there would probably represent an upgrade. And, as I said, they were on my list--my long-term, yeah-someday-we'll-get-around-to-that list.

But I foolishly did not recognize the danger of this situation--I thought that if we had a serious problem we could always just use a screwdriver to take the doorknob off. Unfortunately, I did not notice that there were no screws on the outside of this doorknob, only on the inside. Oops. A screwdriver doesn't help you much when the door is stuck closed with you on the outside of it. This morning, the only living being on the inside of this door not only was without a screwdriver, he was without the opposable thumb and the necessary brainpower to unscrew this doorknob. So we were, in a word, screwed.

Because I had to drive the kids to school this morning, we planned to go as early as the schools would let them in so that I could zip to Home Depot afterward and get a new doorknob. I also decided to get new ones for MathBoy's door and the bathroom door, as both those knobs were starting to give us some trouble as well, and I realized a preemptive strike was needed. I also hoped Home Depot sold whatever kind of implement of destruction I would need to get the old doorknob off the door, or, at least, open it.

The friendly sales associate at Home Depot had a lot of sympathy for Rudolph ("Aww, poor kitty!"), but little in the way of suggestions for me. No, they do not carry any implements of destruction that would help me. No, he had no idea what I could do. When I grumbled about the lack of screws on the outside of the door, he quite solemly advised me that this was because of "security concerns." I pointed out that the doorknob might protect against a burglar with a screwdriver, but a burglar with a paperclip would have open access. He had no answer for that.

Anyway, a locksmith visit, some cracked molding and a hefty bill later, Rudolph was freed. As the locksmith started to hammer the molding back in place, Rudolph took off like a cartoon character with the feet spinning out to the side. But he's no worse now for his ordeal.
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There's nothing more soothing than resting in a bed of Webkinz. The new doorknobs were a breeze to install (the locksmith company thought they should do it to make sure it got done right, "hon," but I told them I could handle it. I am Woman; hear me roar. I can handle a screwdriver, dudes, thank you.

In other news, MathBoy earned his Brown Belt this weekend at his karate test.
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He did very well. If he works hard, he could very well be preparing for a Black Belt test at this time next year. (N.B. Just noticed the lovely can of OFF in the background. This is the house of clutter. Sorry!)

I have no new knitting pictures. I've just been working on the same projects, and none of them are done yet. The Anastasia socks only have an inch or so to go, however, and the One Row Scarf is cruising along as well.

Happy November!

1 comment:

Morgan said...

Very interesting article. People usually don't want to spend a lot of money to secure their property from burglars. Hiring a good locksmith is never cheap. But hiring a dishonest or incompetent one is always expensive. If you need additional locks fitting to your premises a locksmith will help you choose the right lock and install it.