Never a dull moment here in Balconia.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep tonight.  I’m all hopped-up… on VICTORY.  So now you know this story ends happily.  However, about an hour ago…

Imagine Jake and I are reading books in the bottom bunk.  Tonight we read Little Blue Truck to emphasize the importance of teamwork.  I heard James cuddling, then coaxing, then commanding Nathaniel to sleep.  This is day three of The New Nate.  I excused myself from book reading to check on the situation, grabbed the knob to Nate’s room and it wouldn’t budge.  Panic welled-up from my feet.  “James, the door is locked.  How’d he get the white safety thing off?”

“I dunno, Jaim.  He must have ripped it off.”

This happens to be one of our only doorknobs that has a push button lock on the inside and a perfectly smooth knob on the hallway side.  No hole.  Nothing.  We uselessly shake the knob for fifteen minutes.  Nate is crying.

“Turn it Nate.  Turn.  The.  Knob.”  He still doesn’t understand “turn.”  After a few minutes it’s quiet.  I quick grab the baby monitor.  All I see is a black screen and a red dead battery light.  It’s now completely quiet.  I think Nate has given up.

I give up, too.  When faced with intense stress I like to freak out quietly and watch Modern Family.  Come to think of it, this was the exact predicament of the last episode I watched.  Maybe James will figure it out or it will magically resolve itself.  James is not appreciative of this approach and so I mentally review our options (this seemed to work well during my last life or death situation in the garage):

1) Get James to kick down the door and then pay our contractor, Sam, untold amounts of money to fix the damage while he’s here already making untold amounts of money reconstructing our kitchen.  It’d probably be $2,000.  These days, any house thing you need done is $2,000.

2) Go outside and break the glass in the window.  Then we have to sleep with Nate in our room, suffer through a wet and drafty night, and pay Sam $2,000.

3) Wait until the morning and hope that Nate wakes-up with improved fine motor skills and opens the door.  Lie awake all night and pray there isn’t an emergency that requires we implement option 1 in the middle of the night.

4) Hope James comes up with some unknown handy-dandy fix.  He’d already told me he couldn’t take apart the doorknob, that a locksmith couldn’t do anything (because there’s no lock), that he can’t take the hinges off the door because they’re on the inside, and that a credit card wouldn’t work on this specific door.  He seemed particularly resentful that these types of problems always fall into the “men’s work”category and so I turned to…

5) My last and only hope: Google.

I click on the very first link as it looks crazy promising “How to open a locked door the MacGyver way.”  Apparently written by a former BYU-Idaho dorm resident.  Perfect.  I have a plan.  It involves a piece of paper, dental floss, and a vacuum.  Serious problem: our vacuum is locked inside with Nate.

I swallow the rising panic and re-read what the vacuum is for.

James comes in from outside with his flashlight.  “The windows are locked tight.”

“OK.  I’m going to open the door like MacGyver.  Get me a cord from the garage.”  (I’ll leave out the requisite disdainful skepticism of my plan and follow-on hushed squabbling.)  James returns with an orange extension cord.

After two tries we had the cord looped around the doorknob on the other side of the door.  It particularly helped that I was able to peer in from outside, call James from my cell phone, and coach him as he lowered the cord.  Luckily I could also see Nate was sleeping soundly… completely oblivious to the freaky lady peering in at him through his window with a flashlight.  The whole reason we’re in this mess in the first place.  How ironic.

We tried and tried.  Looks like the MacGyver method isn’t for us.  Our doorknob is too slippy.  Our cord isn’t grippy.  How could we expect to fix a $2,000 problem with the October school lunch menu, a box of free dental floss, and a dirty extension cord?  The internet always makes everything look so good.

I went back to the couch and started reading about the credit card method.  I also researched the hammer method.

James convinced me to go back to the extension cord and give it the ol’ college try.  Just one more time while he shakes the knob.  Pop!  We did it.  WE DID IT!

Nate didn’t bat an eye.





  1. I read the web link…very clever…but geez, guys, door knobs are less than $20 to replace and you could do it yourself saving a $2000 installation fee payable to Sam

  2. Aunt Sara– Matching period doorknobs are not $20… :) The $2000 would be to fix the splintered door jam, ruined door frame and add a new doorknob!

  3. Obviously, my hyperbole didn’t really work

    Hm-m-m maybe you could live with mismatched door knobs till Nate can be counted on to turn the door knob on command, then reinstall your period knob….no-oo? well then, don’t run out of floss????

    it was a good story and I enjoy reading about my grand nephews (or are they great nephews?)

  4. This is insane.

    Also, I am so excited I can comment now – when did that happen?!

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