Monday, February 15, 2010

Door Knobs and Broomsticks

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the bath. To fully understand this embarrassing event I must start at the beginning.

My followers know that Thanksgiving has always been my danger holiday. The last one was no exception. No broken hips or split head this time, but a crisis nonetheless.

Last Thanksgiving I had been invited to a posh home in the Foothills for dinner and wanted to look my best. The bathroom that I use is at the end of my house and is always chilly. I, therefore, have a heater in the room. Before showering, I turned the heater on to warm the room and came in to watch TV while the room reached a comfortable temperature. Imagine my surprise when I went to take my shower to find the room locked. Living alone means I never, never, never lock an inside door. But this sucker was locked. Tight !

I tried poking things in the little slot to no avail. In desperation I called a friend who came with his tool kit to help me reach my goal. He didn't have any better luck than I did and decided the only way to get me in the room was to saw the doorknob off. My nerves matched the grating noises of the hacksaw as he mightily sawed away. Finally, 'Mission accomplished'. The door was open. I thanked him and he left me to my ablution.

Fast forward to Thursday. I had been waiting to replace the door knob until Tuesday Morning had another sale on lever handles. Happy Day! The long awaited day arrived; lever door handles at half price. When I reached the store my disappointment was huge. Half price on designer knobs was way beyond my budget. My good friend who took me to look at them realized how unhappy I was so she took me to Lowe's where I purchased 9 new lever handle knobs. Okay, I get it. I should have done that in the first place and I would have been enjoying my new door hardware for over two months. I am a slow learner.

Twenty five years ago I changed all the door knobs in my house by myself. With the confidence of that experience, I got out my trusty screwdrivers and prepared to take the remains of the old handle off. No problem, thinks I. A piece of cake. Only it wasn't. The existing knobs were not so simple and I didn't know the trick of getting them apart. I unscrewed the two visible screws but didn't know there was another one lurking under the face plate. For two days I kept unscrewing the two screws wondering why they didn't fall out.

My cleaning lady decided she could remove the pesky knob. She took a hammer and, although she gave up, she did manage to remove the face plate and the hidden screw was exposed. Aha! Now I have no problem. As soon as she left I rushed in to finish to job. Hoo boy! That screw was easy to remove and when it fell out everything except the center piece fell off with it. Oops! The bolt was in locked position and I was locked in.

I wiggled, I jiggled, I poked and prodded the blasted thing and it didn't move. Since I was in a room only good for two things, and eating wasn't one of them, I knew I had to get help. So I pressed my trusty medical alert button. The voice from the alert box asked if I was alright. I told her I was fine, but I needed help extricating myself from the bathroom. This is undoubtedly one of the strangest emergencies she ever had to deal with. I asked her to call a neighbor to come over. When the neighbor arrived the 'voice' was still there waiting to see if the problem was resolved.

I asked my neighbor to go get one of the few men in our complex to bring his tools to extricate me. My neighbor is a nice generous lady, but she is the kind of person who knows best. So she and the voice called the fire department. And that is the start of my embarrassing experience.

One of the firemen managed to move the part enough to release the bolt and the door flew open leaving me facing three young firemen. They didn't know when they came that they were not coming for a critical call, but to just do a carpenter job. One of them asked me if that's all I needed. (I'm sure he must have been disappointed to have nothing to do but just stand around.) With a red face I assured him that I was fine. I thanked them and saw them to the door where I saw the great big red fire truck parked outside.

I have created lots of excitement in the neighborhood since I moved here. But it's getting downright tiresome. I have had the firemen and/or the paramedics here 6 times in 10 years. I have broken my ribs in the middle of the night, had a gall stone attack that mimicked a heart attack, broken my hip, fallen in the street on my scooter, fallen by my front door and now the most pitiful one of all; locking myself in the bathroom. I am getting quite a reputation with my neighbors, but I shudder to think what they call me at the firehouse. They certainly know how to find my house now. One more "Help. I've fallen and I can't get up or out" will do it. Do you think I might be on their s---t list?

My neighbor pointed out the fact that I could have just gotten out of the shower and could have been without clothing in there. Now that would definitely have been the most embarrassing experience of my life. I can just see the firemen rolling on the floor with laughter when they saw this old wrinkled lumpy body facing them. This is the vision of nightmares.

My ego is now like a deflated balloon. I was so sure I was still capable of doing the job myself. Sigh!!

My handyman just left.
And I now have 9 of these on my doors.

Alert: This morning's Huffington Post has a good article on the televised program on the 25th between Obama and the Republicans on Health Care Reform. The article includes the topics that will be covered (as released by the White House) as well as commentary on what might happen. I found it worthwhile and hope you will too.

The program will be televised starting at 10 am Eastern Standard Time on C-Span and, perhaps, other channels. I would guess the CNN and, perhaps, MSNBC will air it.
Click on the link to read the article.


Tabor said...

Oh, Darlene, what a brave and determined soul you are! You have certainly let me know that getting old is going to take a real sense of humor. All these little adventures are the price we pay for being able to hang around for a longer time, I guess. Also, if there is a young man/woman that is unemployed but handy, he/she can probably make a good living in your neighborhood until a job in his/her career opens up again.

Paula said...

Painfully funny, Darlene. I hope this doesn't prevent you from calling for help the next time you need it. I'm sure the fire department wasn't really upset with you.

Rain said...

Your story reminds me of a similar one at the farm here. At the time it happened, I was in Arizona but my husband had our son and daughter-in-law here for the days before they headed to Ireland on a job. She was taking a shower and the same thing happened. She was incredibly embarrassed to have to tell her father in law she needed help. He couldn't get her out through the door very fast and they had a plane to catch. Fortunately that room has a window and he was able to help her through it, then remove the handle totally. When we replaced it, it was with a non-locking handle which is what I basically prefer throughout the house. For safety in case of a home invasion, I have some bolts. They can't automatically lock...

Friko said...

Embarrassing? Certainly not. Your neighbours and the nice chaps from the fire department should be grateful to you. You know how to liven things up!

And we get to read about it!

Darlene said...

*Tabor - Unfortunately my neighborhood consists of a lot of old widows like me and the only young families are strangers to me. But it's a good idea.

*Paula - I have no option and will certainly call for help if needed.

*Rain - It helps to know I am not the only one to get locked in a bathroom. Your daughter-in-law's experience is ten times worse.

Bolts are a good idea.

* To all of you above, please note that I have added a P.S. to my post with a link on a good article.

tnlib said...

I'm glad you have a good sense of humor. With all these adventures you have, you definitely need one.
Do you have a black cat or something?

Joy Des Jardins said...

I know it sounds like a comedy of errors Darlene; but these crazy things DO happen, and they happen all the time to people...not just YOU. You have to laugh about it, don't you? At least it gives you great fodder for your blog...and it makes me laugh and want to give you a great big HUG sweetie. Love, Joy

Darlene said...

*tnlib - No cat of any color. Just the luck of the Irish, I guess.

*Joy des Jardins - I want to give you a great big hug right back.

20th Century Woman said...

You lucky woman! That escapade made a great post, and, as my elegant British daughter would say, you will be able to dine out on that story for years to come.


Barbara Blundell said...

Hi Darlene.
Enjoyed reading of your adventure !

Darlene said...

*20th Century Woman - I wish your daughter was right. ;-) Thank you !!!

*Barbara Blundell - Thank you for visiting. I do hope you will return.

Hattie said...

We had many experiences like this with my mother in law, who lived next door to us for eight years until her death now more than two years ago. She had been quite lucky up into her 90's, but she had some heart spells and a broken arm that never healed as well as depression.
I know how hard it can be for widows from knowing what happened to her. It's one of those really tough things in life that happens to so many women.
Moving next to us was not an ideal solution for her or us but better than most could manage.

Chancy said...

I am so glad you are ok after this experience.
As Roger Bourland, another octogenarian, says in his blog
"There's Always Something"

There IS always something.

Baino said...

Now Darlene, that's a desperate thing to do just to get into close contact with a Firie! *might try it myself*

Kay Dennison said...

I admire your pluck. Falling is one of my greatest fears since no one checks on me and no one except my landlord has keys. Think I need to remedy that?

Ugich Konitari said...

I think you are a complete inspiration to folks like me. It isnt easy to keep ones wits about oneself, think clearly, and try solve a problem of this magnitude. I know lots of folks who would have got palpitations if they experienced this....

I am just happy, that you have all kinds of helpful neighbors and friends. ...

Darlene said...

e*Hattie - We elders do create problems for our children. I try to be independent, but it isn't always easy.

*Chancy - Roger Bourland knows his stuff.

*Baino - I see you're on to me.

*Kay - I strongly urge you to get a medical alert system. Take it from me, laying on the floor in the middle of the night wondering if someone will miss you is not fun. At the least, Please have neighbor check on you at least once a day.

*Ugich Konitari - I think the only inspiration I can be is to not emulate my actions. Be more careful thaan I have been.

Rummuser said...

Never a dull moment Darlene! Have fun and laugh at all these experiences. Share them with us and make us laugh too!

Looking to the Stars said...

Darlene, I agree with Tabor, you are a brave and graceful soul. Believe me, you are not on the firemen s-list. They problay chuckled and were thankful you were not hurt. Your new knobs are wonderful. I love your spirit, you are a wonderful person and your little adventures add spice to all of our lives :)

Darlene said...

*Rummuser - A thrill a minute around here. ;-)

*Looking to the Stars - Thank you.

One Woman's Journey said...

Darlene, you surely have given me something to think about. Being so isolated I surely would not want to lock myself in a room
To give me more wall space in this smaller home - I put pocket doors but they still have locks on them??
Take Care and thanks for checking in on me...

Darlene said...

*One Woman's Journey - Ernestine, you should also think about getting a medical alarm system. You may not be able to reach a phone if you should fall, or your cell phone may be on the table.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Darlene, as much as I feel for what you went through, the entertainment value of your tale is priceless!

I HATE locks - of ANY kind! In December 1977, having been divorced for a few months, I was moving myself into a little house that I was buying. My first trip back to the house from my apartment, I found that I had left the chain on the front door when I exited through the garage - the key for which I lacked. I used a tire-iron to pry the darned chain- catch out of the woodwork (splitting the woodwork, of course); but...that very afternoon, I replaced every spring-lock with a deadbolt and removed every slide bolt and chain. Boy was I PO'd at myself! Every house, since, I've done the same - even when my husband and I remarried and I moved back in with him. (He doesn't like deadbolts, but he didn't get a choice!)

I like your knob - it is just like the ones we have on our exterior doors! (You have excellent taste!)
Cop Car

Sarah said...

Hey Darlene,
I just stumbled into your blog and when I read of this adventure I didn't know whether to laugh or to admire you... probably both!
It might seem like bad luck but you tell about it in a great way!
By the way, I'm 24 and I don't have any idea how to change door knobs - my respects!
I wish you all the best and not too many dates with young firemen!

Darlene said...

*Cop Car - We both have excellent taste. ;-). I'm glad I'm not the only one that goofed with a lock. Your story is funnier than mine.

+Sarah - Thank you for stumbling into my blog. I do hope you will return. Thank you for being my 'admiration society', but gee whiz, can't I have a fireman toy boy or two? They were so handsome.

Grannymar said...

Darlene are you a magnet for disaster? ;) Seriously that was a terrible experience to be locked in the throne room! I carry my Cell phone everywhere with me just in case....!

kenju said...

I'm sorry that I came late to the party, Darlene, but I wouldn't have missed this post for anything! Poor you! I can imagine it was embarrassing, but don't worry about the firemen - surely they weren't having a problem with rescuing you - they lead such calm lives in between fires.....LOL

I remember the time I fell backwards out of the shower and landed with my head wedged between the toilet and the wall, with my legs up over the side of the tub. Can you imagine if I'd had to be rescued? I shudder to think!!

Darlene said...

*Kenju - Late or not, I'm glad you made it. I can just visualize the predicament you were in. Ouch! That must have hurt.

Yeah, I can't think of a more embarrassing position to be in. ;-)