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Friday, February 19, 2010

The Difference A Lockable Door Makes

We've had this rickety bathroom door handle since we bought this house three years ago. It was a little bent and difficult to lock and unlock. The screws were always working their way out so that the door handle was loose. It  was getting more and more difficult to get the door to latch, and even worse for unlatching. It was one of those situations where everyone in the family understood the process, but when company would come over they'd try to lock the door, and then be unable to unlock it. Or they'd try unsuccessfully to lock it, or even get it to latch, and they'd come out of the bathroom looking more stressed than when they went in.

A few weeks ago, the door starting somehow sliding into the locked position and we'd have difficulty getting it back open. We've never had the key. Twice this resulted in the removal of the hinges to get the door open, but family members had all learned that there was a certain twist of the wrist that would usually persuade the door to open again without the tools and muscle required to take the actual door off the hinges.

Anyway, it's one of those things that's gotten high on the list of items to fix, but I just never seemed to be able to make it home from the store with a replacement door handle. Finally, my list for the hardware store was up to three items, so I made a special trip to purchase everything. I brought the door handle home and handed it to my son and asked if he thought this was something he could take care of.

He's nine. He's extremely handy with tools, and he's taken it upon himself in the past year or so to keep the existing bathroom door handle functioning. It's been a hard job that has only gotten harder.

At first, he kind of gave me a look like, "Really? All by myself?" I just shrugged. I mean, obviously, I could do it, but I have such a good record of procrastination going regarding our bathroom door handle, why get ambitious now. He pulled out his screwdriver and got to work. He had to get a hammer, too, to pull out some nails that were embedded in the door jam in odd places.

I loved watching him work. He never even consulted me. Not one question. Not one need for assurance that things were going okay. He pulled the old handle out and examined it. He pulled the new one apart and put it together a few times. Once he was sure he knew how it worked, it got all the parts in place. He even replaced the catch on the door jam, which is something I probably wouldn't have bothered with. When he was done, he opened and shut the door a few times. He sent his sister in to lock it, then unlock it, then they traded places and did it again.

Eventually he came out and pumped his fist in the air saying, "That rocked!"

I went to test his work. It's amazing, the difference a solid handle makes on a bathroom door. You twist the handle, it opens. You pull it shut, it latches. You turn the lock, and people can no longer walk in on you. Surprise!

Oh maybe better said, no more surprises.


Melissa said...

Yeah, K! What's his hourly rate? We have some things around here that could use that nine-year-old's attention!

heymom said...

I'm thinking that I'm as proud of him as you are!!! I think I was in my 40's before I replaced a door knob!

Anonymous said...

A fine tribute to #3, mom! oma

LoryKC said...

That's awesome! My nine-year-old uses the screwdriver often but it's to replace batteries in something or other. Maybe it is time to expand his horizons! LOL
Way to go! (Your son for doing such a great job and to you, too, for letting him!)