Cruising to fifty, part two: Frodo and the immovable bus

This is the second part of a series of blogs about the cruise the Wife and I went on last October.You can read part one here.

A quick set up:

I turned 50 on October 6, 2012. My wife surprised me about three weeks before, during a particular low spot in my life with a piece of paper. “Happy birthday,” she said. I opened the paper and quickly scanned it.

“We’re going on a cruise?” I said, and my mind kind of shut down with happiness after that. In fact, it wasn’t until several minutes later, as I was refolding the paper, that I saw the word “Greece” and just about shit. This is the story of what happened on that trip, taken almost exclusively from the diary I kept along the way.

Have mercy
Been waitin’ on the bus all day

ZZ Top

October 6 – My birthday!

I turned fifty over the Atlantic, but didn’t notice it until a couple of hours later. Could be I was tired. Could be I was old. Either way, I’d crossed that threshold.

The flight landed twenty minutes early and for the first time, I stepped on European land. Not that I had time to think about it. I think we’re spoiled in Canada and the U.S. when we walk off the plane and straight into the terminal. In Venice, we walked down a flight of stairs, stood on the tarmac and a crazed transport driver came by and did his best to make us puke, or at least drop us all to our knees on the ten minute drive from plane to terminal. Sharp turns with no warning, rapid acceleration and rapid stops were the order of the day.

We managed to hold down our nasty airline food and, once in the airport, desperately look for a washroom. I was quite happy I was male at this time, as I was able to simply walk in, find a free urinal, and do what I needed to do, which was to pee in my first European urinal. You’re a peein’ indeed! My wife, on the other hand, lined up for a solid twenty minutes. We both survived, then got our baggage, then we assembled to wait for our transport to the ship. If I’d known exactly how exasperating it was going to be, I would have hired a taxi. Ah well, hindsight’s 20/20, right?

So the first endurance test was to wait within the terminal. We had to wait until all the Transat travelers arrived. No biggie. The plan was to hop on the bus and get delivered to our various floating holiday accomodations, the Divina, the Jade, and ours, the Splendour of the Seas.

It wasn’t a horrible wait. We’d landed by noon local time, got our luggage by 12:30, and by 1:00, a short, balding, slightly anxious, hobbit-like driver walked us from the terminal to the bus with his hand raised to shoulder height–this from a guy barely scraping 5’3″–as though that hand could be followed through all of Middle Earth to the depths of Mordor.

Ten-ish minutes later, we were at the bus and we separated our luggage out depending on which ship we were headed to. A second group showed up, all headed for the Divina. We were all told to wait outside the bus. It was about ridiculously hot outside, but one of the other passengers described the bus as being “about 900 degrees” so we figured outside was better. Twenty minutes later, our hobbit driver started up the bus and the air conditioning and loaded us on. We were left with the impression we would leave shortly and, after eight hours in a cramped seat on the plane, here we were again, stuffed into a seat with no legroom. Meanwhile, Frodo was out chatting up another bus driver and sweating profusely.

Soon, a couple more groups showed up, stowed their luggage and got on the bus. It’s probably important to note at this point that this bus could likely seat about 70 people. I mention this because that first group I mentioned? The ones going to the Divina? There were eight of them, four couples. They obviously felt a deep, abiding love for each other and very much looked forward to spending a week with each other at sea, because when they got on the bus, they each claimed a section of two seats for themselves. Yes…sixteen seats for eight people. Four couples. Or, should I say, eight ignorant assholes. The other groups that got on the bus kind of gave them all the stink eye, then moved toward the back of the bus.

Anyway, it’s now about 1:45, almost two hours since we’ve landed, when Frodo finally climbs aboard and puts it into gear. Yay! I think, prematurely. We drive out of the parking lot, down a short laneway and get out to what looks like a main thoroughfare–a total distance of maybe a quarter-mile. Frodo then says, “Sorry!” and some other stuff in Italian that we couldn’t catch, then pulled a U-turn and we headed right back to the dreaded parking lot. He parked us in the exact same spot and leapt from the bus and ran back to the terminal.

Several minutes later, sweating worse now, he showed back up with more people and luggage.  He’d stow their luggage, direct them on the bus, grab a little fanny pack from the driver’s cockpit, say something about dropping off tickets, then scoot back to the terminal. Ten minutes later, he’d show up again.

With more travelers and luggage. Which would start the whole cycle all over again. Stow, direct, fanny pack, tickets, scoot, ten minutes.

Every time he came back, there was a feeling of anticipation, of woo-hoo, we’re on our way! Each time we saw more travelers, that feeling would deflate again. This went on for five full trips to and from the terminal for Frodo. By now, it was just getting old.

A solid hour after he’d left the parking lot, then returned, somewhere around 3:00, we’ve now been in Venice a total of three hours and seen nothing but an airport, a parking lot, a bus and a tantalizing glimpse of what lay beyond. We finally left the parking lot again, the bus packed to the gills and the ignorant assholes finally having to give up their individual sections and sit with each other.

Mediterrean Cruise - October 2012 064

Our first real glimpse of Venice from the bus.

On the way into Venice

On the way into Venice

Our first glimpse of our ship

Our first glimpse of our ship

Fifteen minutes later, we were at our boat. We’d waited almost two and a half hours for a fifteen minute trip. Goddamn.

Anyway, the Royal Caribbean staff were all young, attractive and friendly and we were welcomed with big smiles. From their welcome, we then walked down a long, covered gangway and then…then we were on our ship. And it was beautiful.

The ship from the gangway

We found our way to our room and it actually had a birthday greeting right on the door. Karen let me open the door and I found the room decorated with birthday s

tuff. Holy crap! In all the fuss with Frodo, I’d forgotten it was still actually my birthday.

By now, it was about 3:30 local time, or about 9:30 am by what my internal clock was telling me. We’d been up for about 28 straight hours. We were tired and hungry.

We headed down to the solarium–a beautiful area, by the way–and had an excellent carved roast beef sandwich and it was nice to just sit in a comfortable chair with legroom  and look out at Venice sprawled in front of us.

Venice

At 4:30 (29 hours and counting), everyone had to attend muster–gathering beneath our designated lifeboat (ours was #10) and were taught, in English, Italian, German and Spanish, how to put on a lifejacket. It was interestingly refreshing to not get the instructions in French, as we would have in Canada.

We took a couple of pictures then went back to the cabin for a nap. Okay, I went back for a nap.

Mediterrean Cruise - October 2012 083

I’d just laid down when Karen dragged me back out–twice–to look at interesting things. The launch of the ship out of port and Venice sliding by.

Mediterrean Cruise - October 2012 085

I should say, it’s always been a dream of mine to go to Venice. And here it was. I wanted to enjoy it. I truly did. But 30 hours awake and 4500 miles of travel by plane, bus and ship had done their work. I fell on the bed and died.

Mediterrean Cruise - October 2012 086

I woke up at 6:30. Karen had been too excited to sleep, so she’d taken pictures and unpacked. I’d slept through it all.

Mediterrean Cruise - October 2012 090

It was time for dinner, so I clambered into the teeny, tiny shower and scrubbed off the exhaustion of the past day and a half, got dressed and we headed down for dinner. I had an excellent dinner of pork medallions, mashed potatoes and mushrooms in a ragout sauce with a Caesar salad. Dessert was Strawberry Povlova…which was crazy good.

Mediterrean Cruise - October 2012 099

We took a brief walk around the ship, then came back to the cabin and we both fell down in exhaustion.

Mediterrean Cruise - October 2012 114

And that’s how I turned fifty years old. A little rough in spots, but overall, it turned out fantastic. Story of my life!

Mediterrean Cruise - October 2012 124-2Tomorrow was going to be a better day.

See part three here.

And so this is Christmas

And so this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year older
And a new one just begun.

Happy Christmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon

This isn’t going to be one of those funny, heartwarming Christmas blogs. This one won’t put the fun in dysfunctional. This one’s pretty much all dysfunctional. So, if you’re looking for funny, if you’re looking for heartwarming, look elsewhere.

Every Christmas is a struggle for me. I have a family that loves it. The Girl will start looking forward to Christmas carols as early as July, and the second Halloween passes, she’s playing them. The Wife spends hours making the house look beautiful and Christmas-y, warm and inviting. The Boy starts throwing out hints for gifts as early as October.

Bauble On Christmas Tree Background by Petr Kratochvil

And then there’s me. I tend to try and shy away from the season as much as possible. Every year it’s a struggle to get me to decorate the outside of the house. It’s not that I hate Christmas, though that’ll always be my pat answer to anyone that asks. No, it’s just that I absolutely want to avoid it with all my soul.

When I was a kid, I loved Christmas. Even when there wasn’t much under it, I didn’t care. It was just a wonderful time full of anticipation and wonder. The world was white, perfect for showing off all those lights and decorations. The smells of the food that would be prepared days in advance would drive me crazy. Family was always stopping by, or we were visiting.

Christmas Tree Lights Effect by David Wagner

Christmas Tree Lights Effect by David Wagner

Maybe this all started the year my mother and step-father broke up. Because it happened Christmas day.

Or maybe it started the year after, when my mother was alone, and none of us had any money for gifts. But still, we were together.

Even if it was then, I should have gotten over all that in the years since, when I got married and had children of my own. And for a time, I must admit, it abated somewhat. It never went away, but it lessened for a while, this desire to avoid it all.

God knows my in-laws make it amazing. My father and mother-in-law are absolutely amazing, and every year, they come over Christmas morning for a big breakfast. Then we all head over to the Wife’s sister’s place where she and her husband put on a ridiculously amazing Christmas dinner. All of the Wife’s family is there, including all our nieces.  There’s always a lot of laughter and fun.

Yet still, for all of that, in the back of my mind, a big part of me just wants to go home and avoid it all.

I love the family I married into. I couldn’t have found a more amazing group of people. They’re funny, supportive and they treat me as their own. And our friends always make it better too. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve wouldn’t be the same without the Hickey family. There’s no one like them and I’m thankful for their friendship and love and support every day of the year.

I have other friends that know what I’ve gone through and are always there to talk me through it.

And maybe that’s it.  Maybe it’s the fact that, because my mother has never accepted my wife, she is no longer welcome in my home. Maybe it’s because my brother can’t be trusted with anything. He made the choice a long time ago to not act as a brother would. Maybe it’s because I haven’t really talked to my sister in almost three decades because she made the choice to live in a paranoid wonderland of hate and poverty. Maybe it’s partly due to knowing I have this other group of nieces and nephews…Todd, Tabitha, Ryan, Kelly, Buddy, Genevieve…probably even more that I don’t know about…all these people that I last saw as young children that are now all adults…and I know nothing about them. I haven’t seen any of them in far too long.

My brother and sister I’m done with. My mother I’ll visit at times during the holidays, to be served up the usual helping of guilt and sadness. It’s something I refuse to subject my family to anymore. So I guess I’m part shield, part martyr in that respect. But I do it to protect them. I’m sure the rest of my family has heard a startlingly different view of this and view me as the asshole with a bitch for a wife. I’m past caring about that, to be honest. If I’ve learned nothing else, I’ve learned people will think what they want and I’ll have little control over it. The ones who have taken the time to know both myself and my wife know the truth.

Anyway, back to Christmas.

Maybe I’m being selfish. I have all the family that anyone could want. And I feel extremely selfish for wanting someone from my side of the family to treat me that same way, to give me that same courtesy that these other people–people who didn’t know me half as long as my family have–show me. I feel selfish because I already have more than most.

So, as I attend all these Christmas functions, there always seems to be this black hole that sucks and pulls at me. It shouldn’t be there, I shouldn’t give it that power. I know I should turn away from it and look at all I have and how incredibly lucky I am.

But I can’t help feeling like an orphan at this time of year.

oliver_more

So for any of you that know me, please don’t ever shy away from wishing me a Merry Christmas. Just understand that I may not wish it back with the same level of passion. This is the time of the year when those cracks in my own family have the most light shone on them. The time when, at least for me, they become most obvious.

And so this is Christmas.

This post is all about you

“I pledge allegiance to myself
To me, myself and I”

All About Me – Drowning Pool

Does anyone else out there get the distinct impression that, as far as most people go, it’s all about them?

Seriously, in the past few days, I’ve noticed—more than normal, and believe me, normal is bad enough—that so many people don’t give a flying shit, a rat’s ass, a good goddamn, or even a lowly crap about anyone else other than themselves.

It’s Monday morning as I write this, but this is what I’ve seen only since Saturday.

First, I’m at a four-way stop. I do my usual, drive up to the stop sign and stop.  Because, you know, that’s what you’re supposed to do at a four-way stop. Then I watch some kid, looks maybe seventeen, with someone who could be his mother in the passenger seat.  He approaches the stop sign.
stopI see him look at me, look at his own stop sign. I see this. And I also see him, with absolutely no slowing down, blow through the stop sign, making a right to drive right by me. I also see him smiling and the mother figure actually laughing as I yell, “Nice stop, asshole!” Laughing. Yeah, because that’s funny as hell, right?

Between Saturday and Sunday I count around eight people driving—well, three of them were driving, the other five were more approximating driving than anything, sliding all over the road as though Ray Charles was at the wheel—as they carried on their obviously Highly Important Phone Conversations. Obviously more important that all the lives they endangered and the $155 fine they were never going to get.

Okay, sorry, that was an insult to the late, great Ray Charles. That man could easily have driven better than these dicks.

You wouldn’t think I’d meet an all about me moron walking my dog, would you? Yeah well, you’d be wrong.

I walk my dog every morning and every night. I can’t tell you how often I’ve experienced this scenario, and I again experienced it Saturday evening.

We’re walking along the sidewalk, me listening to an audiobook, my dog scanning every tree and telephone pole to mark (as though he hasn’t had the chance to mark that particular one in any of the eight years of trips) and some asshole in a car goes zooming by and then cuts into a driveway in front of me.  Now, I’ll concede the point that they likely didn’t see me initially, but everyone of them does see me as they sit in their car, firmly parked right over the sidewalk. I know this because I stare at that driver as I approach, making it very obvious that I’m damn near ready to crawl right over their goddam pedestrian-blocking vehicle. And in every case, including Saturday evening, I see the driver turn their head and look directly at me.

At this point, they have three choices. First, they can back the car up four feet. I’ve had a couple do that. Second, they can sit there like the moron they are and mouth an embarrassed “sorry!” as I give them the stink-eye on the way by. At least they acknowledge me. Finally, they can look the other way and pretend I don’t exist. If they aren’t looking at me, I can’t see them and we never acknowledge each other. Sorry, that one just doesn’t fly for me.  And that’s what Saturday’s driver chose to do.  So I chose to do what I feel is necessary in those circumstances.  I cut around the front of the car—so they can watch me—and I thump my left hand roughly and firmly on the hood of their car. Sometimes I get a lackluster, half-hearted “sorry” then, but more often I don’t. To finish with a flourish, as I cut back down the driver’s side, I’ll flip them off.
flip-the-bird

On Sunday, I took the Wife to see the last Twilight movie. Don’t judge. God knows she’s sat through enough of my movies, like the Lord of the Rings trilogy and all those superhero movies with all the dude in spandex. So I could go sit through some lovelorn bloodless vampires for a couple of hours.

BD2Now, much as I don’t care about the movies or the story, I know the Wife truly does. So, obviously I want her experience to be a good one. And I’ve never understood the person that drops $25 – 35 between the ticket and the popcorn and the drink, only to go in, sit down, then talk through the entire friggin’ movie.  Why the hell do people do that?

So when the group of teens sat down directly behind us, I had a feeling. When the movie was playing less than fifteen minutes and they’d already tossed out some comments, I got more and more pissed. I know how excited the Wife was for this movie and I didn’t want some pimply-faced, popcorn-eating high schooler ruining it for her. When a phone rang on screen and one of the quick wits behind me shouted, “hello!!” I knew I was done. With the next comment, I turned and, doing my best to be both polite (only for the Wife’s sake) and show my annoyance, and said, “All right guys, enough. Dial it back.” That earned me a nervous squeeze on the leg from the Wife.

To their credit, they shut up until the last minutes of the movie, when it really didn’t matter anymore. Which is good, because the next time I turned around, all the polite was going to be gone.

Finally, there’s the one that absolutely pisses me off. On Saturday, I went into the local No Frills. I grabbed exactly five items, then headed for the 8 items or less aisle. The woman in front of me was just finishing loading up her thirteen items. I put the little separator thingie behind her items and set my five items down. Then this absolutely harried woman came up behind me, grabbed the other separator, plunked it down behind my things, then loaded item after item after item onto the belt. I couldn’t help it. I laughed out loud and finished it off with a “Jesus!”

The woman looked at me, looked at her load of groceries, then said to the cashier with an aren’t I silly giggle, “I might have a bit more than the eight item limit.” To which the cashier said that it was okay.

express-lane-is-THIS-many

Why? Why is it okay? Why, when there’s a clearly marked sign that says, in effect, THIS LINE IS FOR PEOPLE WITH VERY FEW ITEMS AND IS DESIGNED TO GET THEIR ASSES OUT FASTER THAN THE REST OF YOU THAT HAVE NINE MORE AISLES TO CHOOSE FROM, SO IF YOU HAVE NINE OR MORE ITEMS GET YOUR SORRY ASS OVER TO ONE OF THE OTHER DAMN AISLES, why is it okay that this stupid counting-challenged asshole blocks up the aisle? Why is it not okay for the cashier to tell her to have some common courtesy…or hell, some uncommon courtesy and get her items to another aisle?

Regardless, that’s not what happened here. Instead, she said it was okay. Unable to shut my stupid mouth, I said, “Yeah, it’s obviously okay, because everyone breaks that limit.”

The woman looked at my five items and said, “Well, you’re playing by the rules.”

And I said, “I didn’t think you’d notice. I didn’t think you could count, because you’re not even close to the limit.” At this point, I notice a small smirk on the cashier’s face as she runs my five items through, but I’m still pissed with her.

The woman, by this time, is now looking back at her items. I figure she’s trying to count them now. I figure I’ll help her out as I finish paying for my stuff.

“Twenty-six.”

“Pardon?”

“You have twenty-six items. In an eight items or less line.”

She stared at me disbelievingly. “You counted my items?”

I lean in slightly toward her. “I always count,” I say, pointing to the 8 items or less sign. “Always.” Then I turn, grab my stuff, and leave.

Seriously.

Wouldn’t the world be a much nicer place if, just once in a while, everyone followed the do unto others ideal?

Even just once in a while?

By the way, just after that, I went into another store, and someone with two handfuls of bags came my way. I held the door open for them. They didn’t even look at me, much less thank me.

Sometimes I weep for humanity. Sometimes I think the Mayans may just be right.

mayan

How I turned into a door knob

Didn’t anybody tell her?
Didn’t anybody see?
Sunday’s on the phone to Monday,
Tuesday’s on the phone to me.

She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, The Beatles

Forgive me, blog readers, it’s been almost exactly two months since I wrote anything on this site. The reasons are varied and boring, and not really worth going into (mainly because I’ll sound whiny), so I’ll just apologize and leave it at that, okay?

In the meantime, my family has continued to provide a lot of fodder for the blog-mill. Especially the Boy.

Last Tuesday night, Election Night for my neighbours in the U.S. of A., was a long and late one in our house. No one can put on a spectacle like Americans, and Tuesday was no exception. Where probably a solid percentage of Canadians can’t even name the Prime Minister of our own country, and a higher percentage couldn’t tell you how our House of Commons actually works, many Canadians were glued to the various networks providing coverage of the Obama/Romney slugfest, our own house included.

Me? I decided to pack it in around 11, telling my family that I did not want to be woken up by shouts of joy if Obama took it or screams of derision if Romney got in. I was confident with the analysts’ projections of a 91% probability of an Obama win, and besides, I could always find out quickly just by logging into Facebook or Twitter the next morning. So, I tried to sleep as best I could while the Wife continued to watch the TV in our room with her bedside light on. Not the optimal conditions for sleep, but I manage okay.

Now, before I move on to where the night’s story really starts, I have to give you a bit of backstory here. The first thing you have to know is that the Boy breaks everything. Ev. Ree. Thing. Mobile phones, tablets, XBoxes, backpacks…the list goes on and on. However, one of the more mystifying things on the list is his bedroom door. Somehow, he’s managed–on two occasions–to pull the bottom hinge out of the wall it’s attached too.  Three screws securely fasten this to the door frame, yet he’s managed to pull it out. Twice.

Not the top one, mind you.  The one that, maybe if he decided to swing on the door or whatever, would rip it out.  Nope.  The bottom one. Twice.

I have trouble imagining the physical force required to actually attain this, but, when looking at it, I just have to shrug my shoulders and think, hey, it’s the Boy. Whaddya gonna do?

Anyway, the last time he did it, I guess I fixed it rather inexpertly, leaving it sitting out a bit from the doorframe. At the time, it seemed to make the door slightly stick when you were opening or closing it, but, again, knowing it was the Boy that would be providing that action to the door the most, and knowing how he can’t just open or close a door, but he has to slam it open and closed…and yes, I know you’re likely thinking, how do you slam open a door?Well, you’ll just have to take my word on this one, okay? But believe me, the Boy can do it.

So, after the repair, I thought nothing of it. Now, that was a couple of months back, and over time, the door seemed to get stickier and stickier when it was opened or closed. But it was always one of those things that just didn’t seem to have any priority, so it went unattended.

Until Election Night, that is.

The door seemed extra sticky that night and the Boy had a bit of trouble opening it, so I told him to ensure not to close it and I would look at it the next day.

So, on Tuesday night…well, to be more accurate, it was actually in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, I was awoken to the sound of the Wife saying one of those ridiculously silly things moms say.  She knocked on the Boy’s door and said, “Are you asleep?”

Really? How can you ever truthfully answer that question with a “yes”?

Anyway, you may have noticed that I wrote that the Wife had knocked on the door.  Because, in true Boy fashion, after me saying not to close the door and the Boy giving me his solemn assertion that he would not, indeed, close the door, he then closed his door.

Now, as his mother knocked, he mumbled something and she said something about shutting his light off and getting to bed, it’s a school night, blah blah blah… I wasn’t really listening.  It was 12:43 am and she’d woken me up and my mind automatically did the math and came up with the fact that I needed to get up in exactly five hours and 47 minutes. So then I was mildly grumpy.

When she rattled the doorknob to his room and then told him (louder now) to unlock the door, he responded that it was unlocked.

More rattling.

More talking.

Some banging.

Louder rattling.

Louder banging.

Slight desperation in the Wife’s voice now. “Open this door!”

Giving up on any sleep until the damn door was open, I got up and out of bed. Two things it may be helpful to know about me. One, I’m pathetically blind without either glasses or contact lenses. Second, I tend to sleep in my underwear (sorry if you were eating while reading this, I know that image does nothing for anyone’s appetite). They’ll come up in a bit.

I grumble as I bend down very very close to the doorknob to examine it.  I can’t see a damn thing. That angers me, but do I grab for my glasses? No. Instead, I attack the doorknob, turning, rattling and jiggling it for myself. The door won’t move.  It’s like it’s been welded shut.  In my newfound I’m-now-50-and-I’m-curmudgeonly voice, I tell the Wife to go get a butter knife.  When she asks why, I tell her we’re going to slide it under the damn door so the damn Boy can take the damn door of the damn hinges so we can open the damn thing and I can damn well go back to my damn bed.

Or something along those lines.

Anyway, she scoots downstairs and comes back with the knife which is duly slid under the door. Then we listen to the ineffectual sounds of a sixteen-year-old trying to take a door off the hinges, a task he’s never needed to do before. I lament the lack of life skills I’ve managed to impart to my children. I grow more curmudgeonly, but now reach the upper limit, which leads inexorably into asshole territory.

After listening to what sounds like a dying hamster using one claw to try and scrape his way to freedom for a few minutes, I say walk into the bathroom, grab my glasses and, heading downstairs, tell the Wife to instruct the boy to open his bedroom window. She says something which I don’t hear because I’m now heading to the garage for a flathead screwdriver.

I come back up the stairs and she asks why I need his bedroom window open and I tell her I’m going to climb out the damn bathroom window onto the damn roof and go in through his damn window so I can take the damn door of the damn hinges so we can open the damn thing and I can damn well go back to my damn bed.

Or, you know, something along those lines.

So, that’s how I found myself standing out on the roof of my own house in my glasses and my underwear at about one in the morning.

For the record, if I looked like this in my underwear, I’d hang out on my roof a lot more. For the record, I don’t.

Seriously. The shit my family puts me through.

Anyway, long story short, I came in through his bedroom window (putting a new spin on that Beatles song), got the hinges off… and still the damn door wouldn’t let go. No matter how much we tried. Next, I attacked the screws to the doorknob and pulled it off too.  Nope. Nothing. Nada.

We tried everything, including the old credit card trick (which always works so well on TV, not so much in a locked bedroom at one in the morning) and nothing worked.

Finally, it took the Wife attacking that little thing that goes into the hole in the doorframe (the deadlatch that goes into the strike plate according to Google).

She would stick the knife in and trap the deadlatch, then I would jam the screwdriver into my side and move it back incrementally, then repeat.

Then finally, finally the damn door came off. I heaved a sigh of relief. The Boy made muted sounds of thanks. I made muted, curmudgeonly sounds of yer welcome.

Still grumbling, I then damn well went back to my damn bed.

And, as I snuggled down into my now-cold sheets and blankets, it occurred to me that I’d likely acted kind of stupid through that whole ordeal. I get like that when I’m tired. I act like a dick.

I act like a knob.

Tonight, I’d acted like a door knob.