On top of a piece of newspaper lay the pieces of my back door lock. And I had put them there.
The lock worked from the inside, but couldn’t be locked from the outside. This wasn’t the first time it had happened.
The first time I ignored the problem until the lock was stuck in the locked position. Something of a fire hazard since it made it impossible to exit. I called a handyman. He got a saw, cut through the bolt, and we replaced the lock.
Effective, but primitive.
The second time it happened I called a locksmith. He fixed it. For a while.
The third time the locksmith was out of town so I called a different guy. He fixed it and told me to lubricate the bolt twice a year. I did it at 6 months, but didn’t make it to a year before the lock acted up again.
I called another locksmith.
He fixed it. Had a plausible explanation for why it kept breaking. And, told me if it happened again, I should just remove it, open it up, tweak, and reinstall. Very simple, he said.
As I stared at the pieces of my lock feeling the panic beginning to cloud my thinking I wondered why I had ever, ever believed him when he said it was a simple fix.
My husband always says that what comes easily to us we undervalue.
Clearly I had been caught. It came easily to the locksmith so he assumed it would come easily to everyone.
He was wrong.
As my head started to pound, my body itched to get away, away from pieces of that disassembled lock, and my thoughts to took a sharp dive into helplessness and despair, I grabbed a possible lifeline.
Time for a meditation break!
The lock could wait.
I am not mechanically inclined (See Mommy Can’t Mow). You might say I have negative mechanical ability.
I have tried to tackle this deficiency the way I’ve tackled other problems, by drawing on skills I am good at. But this can only get me so far.
I had taken a series of photos as I had disassembled the lock, knowing that I would never remember how to put it back together. Did the photos even show a functional lock or would I reassemble it and recreate the problem? I sure didn’t know.
Now, armed with a, somewhat, calmer mind and rice cakes for fortification I stared at the pieces of the lock. What to tweak?
And, wonder of wonder, remembered YouTube.
It took several different videos to capture all of the steps I needed. My helpful instructors kept skipping over the bits they thought were obvious, leaving me in floundering in the dark, but ultimately, one might say miraculously, I had the lock back on the door…and it worked!
I sent victory texts to my husband and floated on the euphoria of my success for the next several hours.
Unfortunately, the lock broke again a mere four days later. With the brash confidence of someone who figured out how to fix it once before, I took the lock off the door. Tried to remember what I had done last time and panicked when it didn’t work.
Back to YouTube. Back to calming breathes. Back to perseverance and the promise that whether or not I fixed it this time, I was going to call the locksmith and get a new lock for the door. Three breakdowns in less than two months is three too many.
The lock is currently working. I have contacted the locksmith. I’m not making any statements beyond that.