Fix that Door

Don’t you just hate it when the wife starts a project you know you will have to finish? Ok, so it usually is a job that she has been after you to do for months, without any success. But, still, why does she have to get going today?

Take for example the door handles on the front security screen door. Now, one of these broke, after many years of being pulled too hard. What with the recent drought and the drying out of the clay soils, the house has moved and moved and moved. Ever time it rains for half and hour, you have to invent a new angle to pull the door to get it to shut. So, what does the cast aluminum do? It breaks, after 10,000 extra strong tugs.

Of course I fixed this problem the day it happened. I found a scrap of mild steel, a few self tapping screws and a piece of nice looking off cut timber and I manufactured a perfectly good Zen door handle. If it works it must be the real thing?

This state of affairs persisted for a hell of a long time. When friends arrived there was a brief apology, again, about the Mr-fix-it door handle and then on into the kitchen we’d go. When strangers arrived there was a bit of extra banter about how it was only there as a stop-gap measure and soon it would be replaced by a new one.

So, the other day I get a phone call at work: “I’ve got a new handle set for the security door and I’ve put it in but now the door is locked and I cannot get it open.” Here we go! Of course it’s my fault for letting the matter rest for so long but what is a bloke to do at a distance? Some things cannot be fixed over the phone.

Next day it’s my job to remedy this. It’s obvious, if painful to reflect on, but my problem solving skills only come out when there is a real problem. Well, that’s how I justify my inertia. Here is a real problem that has to be fixed.

After I get the door off I realise I haven’t got a clue what is going on. So, true to my instincts, I call on a man. Off to the door shop that sold my wife the lock and handle set. “Now mate, what am I looking for?”

Armed with a vision of the interior recesses of a lock assembly, I now must puzzle a solution. Half an hour later I have bent a two inch nail in three directions and bingo, the tumbler is free.

Bugger, there was no one there to see my petty victory, no one to high five, no one to recognise the graceful solution I’d found.

What had my wife done wrong? Nothing that I might not have also done wrong. She’d put the tumbler in with the inside out and the outside in. There it was in the instructions, in micro print, with no warning of the consequences if you got it back-to-front. Some technical writer laughs every morning as he dreams of all the tumblers stuck and all the bent nails and all the proud and silly problem solvers.

Door back in place it still sticks because of the drought but then maybe that problem will solve itself if only we’d get some decent rain.

Fix that Door

Keith Russell

Newcastle, Australia

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