Melinda and I have lived in our new house for a year now, but we’re still at the point where we’re making weekly discoveries about it. There are three or four random light switches, as well as a series of motion-sensor exterior lights that don’t seem to have switches at all.
For awhile the biggest mystery was a giant gray box next to the hot water heater that had this flashing red light. Service, it blinked, Service.
“Service what?” I asked the blinking box. “I don’t even know what the fuck you are!”
I finally crawled underneath it and found a model number, and with a google search determined it was a humidifier unit for the HVAC. Because, you know, you need a good humidifier for those ultra dry Virginia winters.
I’m happy to let that humidifier service light blink until the end of time, but our most recent discovery prompted a bit more action.
It was after dinner Sunday night when Melinda yelled from upstairs. “You ready for the next thing?”
I groaned. If you’ve owned a house for any amount of time, you know there’s always a next thing. Recently, those next things have included epoxying a split in the dryer drum, changing the diffuser cartridge in our shower, and replacing a spring on the garage door opener—all of which involved a fair amount of YouTube videos, Home Depot trips, and cursing.
I climbed the stairs and found Melinda standing in front of our locked bedroom door
I’m no stranger to locked doors. I spent my childhood picking locks so I could get to my hiding brother.
But unlike my old bedroom door, which could be opened with an ice pick, the previous homeowners had installed a key lock—presumably for security, or to protect their sex toy collection.
When we closed on the house, the realtor handed us about 20 keys, the majority of which I STILL haven’t found the doors for. I collected them from the junk drawer and tried every single one.
So I did what any knowledgable homeowner would do: I googled “how to open a locked bedroom door.”
The first video link was from a young gentleman named OddPeanut, who spent five minutes showing me how incredibly easy it was to unlock a door using a common butterknife.
OddPeanut must have very shitty doors in his house, because all I managed to do with his method was gouge the trim around the lock.
Next, I called my friend Greg, who’s a locksmith. Greg suggested we use a credit card to try and slip the dead latch. “A credit card?” I said. “What is this, an ’80s heist movie? You’re a fucking LOCKSMITH and you’re telling me to try my Mastercard?”
Greg sighed. “Sometimes it works.”
I dicked around with it for a while, but I only managed to mangle my Costco membership. I was getting frustrated and desperate.
“I can kick it down, but we’ll need a new door and a new frame,” I said to Melinda.
“Why don’t you just knock the doorknob off?” she said.
So that’s what I did. I got my 7 pound sledgehammer from the garage and beat that fucker into submission. The door popped open.
It cost us $11 to replace. This time, we installed one I can open with an icepick.
One mystery down. A million more to go.