Monday, July 18, 2016

Plant Sitting

A couple of weeks before we closed on our house, a friend of mine went out of the country and asked me to come over a couple of times to water the plants. Since she was, in fact, referring to not only her plants but the plants I asked her to watch for ME while we were between housing situations, how could I say no?

So, she gave me the garage code and the alarm code, told me how to turn off the sensors before they called the police, and left me a vase to water the flowers on her front and back porches. We figured we were set.

Let me tell you about all the ways I can screw up simple tasks, like say, closing and locking doors.

I went over, let myself in, watered my two plants (thanks Debbie and Bob, for caring for them!), and gave a good soaking to the pots on the back porch and the front porch, making sure they were dripping because it was hot that week! I came back in, and shut the front door. I went to lock it...

And the bolt wouldn't shoot. Like, won't move.


I go and set down the vase I'm using to water, and try again. Nothing. I open the door and shut the door, thinking that maybe I don't have the door latched properly.


I try and try. I'm like hanging on the bolt, waggling and wiggling, trying to get it to move.


This is a problem. Debbie and Bob are G-O-N-E gone. Like way gone, and I can't exactly shack up in their home waiting for them to come back.

Maybe something has just stuck. I ran through Bob and Debbie's house, looking for WD-40. None in the garage. I don't really know where else someone would keep something that, but I find, in the utility room, a cabinet with house repair type stuff, and thankfully, there's a can. I rush upstairs, grab some paper towel so I don't get any grease somewhere I don't want in their beautiful new home, and spray away.

Unthankfully, it didn't work. The lock didn't budge.

Maybe I can try to lock it from the outside? The problem is... no key.

Ok, where might Bob and Debbie keep a key? I go selectively looking for a key, because frankly, I don't want to be looking through their home. I try what I think might be what I would call a "junk drawer," which in their case was the most organized drawer I've ever seen, but no luck. I look on a side table with a little organizer in the living room, but no key. In their butler's pantry, I finally find a drawer that has a key, but its a mailbox key... but that tells me, I'm not finding a key in the house.


What COULD THIS BE??? I mean, I unlocked the door just fine!

I call Eric, and ask him. He tells me to send him a photo of the lock, so I do. I Google the brand name of the lock and find the user's manual. I download the manual, and scroll to the "troubleshooting" section. There's a question "I can't lock the lock." Bingo, right?


The manual literally says "If the lock does not engage, it is because the mechanism is not aligned."

Gee, thanks.

Ok, what to do now? Well, the door is really hot and the late afternoon sun is beating on it. Could it be that in the heat, something has swelled in the door that is preventing the lock from engaging? Well, maybe, right? How do I cool a door down to get the swelling to reduce...


I literally go to the freezer, where Bob and Debbie have an oversized ice cube tray. I pop out a 3 inch by 3 inch snowball-sized ice cube, and, with more paper towel in hand so I don't drip on their designer rug in the front hall, start icing down the door, inside, outside and lock mechanism.

You know that wasn't going to work, but I didn't at the time. I thought that maybe there could be a chance.

There wasn't.

At about this time, as I have only half an ice cube left and I'm holding it to the lock plate, Eric calls.

"Did you pull the handle up?"


So, this is apparently a high-tech system of a lock that requires that you pull the door handle up to nearly 90 degrees above the baseline, while at the same time turning the lock. And I'll be darned if it didn't work on the first time.

What I didn't know on top of that?

The door was connected to the alarm system, and registered to the system each time I opened the door. When Debbie checked her "house app" on her phone, it told her I had opened and closed the door 17 times in 45 minutes.


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