It’s Sunday night and I’m settling in after a long day. I’ve just put on my pajamas and am making some butternut squash soup. Already I’d changed light bulbs, cleaned, did a walk through, scheduled appointments for repairs, did a lease signing with a new tenant, and vacuumed. I’ve attempted to thwart an electrical problem in one apartment to no avail.

So, of course, it would follow that the moment my bra comes off my phone would ring. It’s one of my tenants sounding rather desperate because he’s locked out of his apartment. As in, his doorknob will not turn.

I hang up the phone, turn down the soup, throw on presentable clothing and make my way with screwdriver in hand wondering how in the hell I am going to be able to fix this one. I act on gut instinct, not training. I use logic and sometimes, trusty MacGyver-like skills involving paper clips, gum and duct tape. I learned the duct tape thing from my Dad, actually. He’d duct tape anything that was broken.

He and his friend are standing there forlornly when I reach his floor. Upon inspection it seems the turning mechanism on the old knob is definitely stuck. I unscrew the panel thinking maybe we can lift the thing off and thus remedy the problem until a locksmith can come out the next day. But the panel was stuck on with the old lock that didn’t even have a key. Some of the apartment doors have original door knobs that contain the original lock in the same panel but with a new deadbolt lock installed right above. What happens is that over time the interior turning mechanism gets jammed meaning you can unlock the deadbolt but you can’t get the handle to turn and open the door.

Can you tell I don’t really know that much about locksmithing?

We decided we were desperate enough to get a hammer and wail at it hoping to knock it free. I let the tenant have first dibs to get his frustration out. On his second hit the door opened without even busting the knob off. Hallelujah! Now we’re in the apartment but uh oops, the knob still won’t turn even from the inside. I tried not to panic and joked, “Well if we’re stuck in here, I hope you have food cuz I haven’t had any dinner.” We managed to remove the panel from the inside and he grabbed some trusty duct tape to seal down the offending mechanism. He instructed us to always tape vertically, not horizontally. Know why? Because of Watergate.

That’s what he said. No foolin’.


17 thoughts on “Locked

  1. He instructed us to always tape vertically, not horizontally. Know why? Because of Watergate.

    Okay, so I’m going to have to go to Wikipiedia or something on that one. Really? Watergate?

    Sounds like ANOTHER productive weekend. They are just happening all OVER the place.

  2. You should discover the joy of using a product,WD-40. It really works to loosen stuck parts & mechanisms! Also,you should ask the owners if they have a copy of the Master key for those locks &will they make you a copy. Works.

  3. OK, having your job is kind of like being a mom, I think. Somehow people get the idea that you are, like, useful and that you know things, and that they can trust you to fix their problems. When really you’re feeling your way around just as blindly as they are.

  4. I’m really, REALLY impressed. You’re an inspiring chick. You actually put your bra back on. 😉

    No, seriously. I don’t know how you do it.

    I’m not sure if you’re an SNL fan, but every time I hear or read about McGuyver, I think of McGruber. Which, well. That would be me, blowing up someone’s apartment trying to jimmy the lock.

  5. Ok. Dating myself but so what.

    I think the duct tape being exposed (horizontal) and not verticle is how the guard busted the offending and yet very unnecessary snoops.

    Real Slick, Dick!

  6. I believe that you subconsciously send out signals the second you unhook your bra. It’s as though your tenants know “This is the exact time NOT to contact her, but let’s do it anyway because it will be funny!”

  7. I’m totally going to steal this and start saying I’m doing things “because of Watergate.”

    “I’m ordering another beer. You know why? Because of Watergate.”

  8. And YES, to second Stacy’s comment: PLEASE TELL ME YOU’VE SEEN THE MACGRUBER SNL SKITS.

    “Making life-saving inventions out of household materials: MacGruber!”

  9. Just catching up 🙂

    I am so seriously impressed with your crazy landlord skills. I have no idea what I would do in the situations you find yourself in. In which you find yourself. Whatever.

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