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.

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Irritating Trends

Yep.  I know I’m going to basically brand myself as a crotchety old fart here, but I have to get some of this off my chest.

Where in the hell do some of these stupid trends come from?  You know what I’m talking about.  Take a walk down any suburban street near a school, or in any mall.  You’ll see our youth…out hopes and dreams for tomorrow…with their pants around their asses, or lower, with thongs riding high above tight jeans, dinner-plate sized spacers stretching their ears to ridiculous proportions, tattoos, piercings, spitting…

Okay, reading back that last line, I do feel like a crotchety old fart.

So, I should go back and state that, when I was young, yes, I made some unfortunate choices.  Multi-toned hair.  Parachute Pants.  Sugar Sacks.  There was even a point where I had, for reasons now long forgotten, a fork in a jean jacket pocket.  Had that for several years.  And yes, I’ll admit it, I even rocked a mullet for many years.

But every one of these things was temporary.  I could get rid of any of them as needed.  Not that I was ashamed of any of them.  I’m just saying, as the need arose, they could be hidden like Spider-man’s costume and I could go out as Peter Parker.

And yes, I do know that much of what the youth of today are doing is also safe, temporary rebellion.

Take the whole “Pants on the Ground” phenomenon.

Also known as “sagging” it’s when the pants are slung low enough that I usually get a distastefully full view of a dude’s underwear.  Okay, there’s a reason it’s called underwear.  And I don’t want to see it.  Just as I don’t want to see the “whale tail” from the females out there that insist on dropping their drawers and proudly flashing their thong.  Apparently this trend came from the U.S. prison system where belts (which can be used for suicide or fighting) are not allowed.  Then the 90s Hip Hop community picked it up.

I know a cop friend of mine happens to love the trend.  “Makes it a helluva lot easier to catch the morons when they try and run,” he says.  Well, yeah.  When your knees are knocking against the crotch area of your jeans, you ain’t got a lot of room for high-speed bookin’.  Then you’re left with your pants on the ground, lookin’ like a fool.

But the offshoot sagging trend I particularly enjoy is scrawny boys sagging skinny-legged jeans.  Watch them walk.  That’s a hoot.

And tattoos.  Okay, I get it, it’s a personal choice, and one that, though I don’t like them personally, understand and support anyone that wants them.  Even my daughter.  I’ve told her that, until she’s eighteen, I will not give my consent.  After eighteen, that is, in 13 more days, she can get one.  But.  The last thing I need is my daughter getting Hep C or whatever, so I want her to let me know so I can hook up with some of my tattooed friends to find someone reputable and clean.  Not to mention someone that can spell.  Because, you know, you want your ink to be awesome.  Not “awsome”.

Even with that though, don’t go extreme okay?  Tongue tats?  Eyeball tats?  Just say no.

I still don’t think many people really consider what those tats will look like when they’re 60, 70, or 80 years old.  But as I wrote yesterday, when I was young, I was immortal.  Age was something that happened to old people and I was never going to get old.

Newsflash, kids.  Everyone gets old.  And not all of us do it gracefully.  Just look at Joan Rivers.

Let’s talk piercings.  Punching holes in your body to hook things into or push things through.

We do this because….?

Again, I get it.  Earrings have been socially acceptable since forever.  But it’s the ones going through the eyebrows, through, or virtually every other piece of the body.  Sorry, grosses me out a bit.  Grossed me out even more a few years back when I interviewed a girl who was obviously heavily pierced.  But, for the interview, she pulled them all out.  So, there I sat, across from a candidate that looked as though she worked parttime as a dartboard.  She looked painful.  I’d have preferred she’d left them in.  I just wanted to spackle all those holes.

And what’s with this trend of making your earlobes as big and floppy enough to carry serving trays in them?

Seriously?  I don’t get it.

But you know what?  Hey, it’s a free world.  You wanna go out and modify your body to your specifications, why not?  God knows enough women get implants for breasts, guys get their penises lengthened, and everyone seems to get fat sucked, or collagen implanted or whatever.  Go nuts.

Just don’t be offended if I point it all out, okay?  You can’t do that shit and not expect someone to notice.  Admit it, part of the reason you do it is to be noticed.

I notice.

The one thing that drives me absolutely batshit though, the thing that actually gave me the germ of this blog, the habit I absolutely despise above all others, is spitting.

When did it become socially acceptable, or cool, or whatever, to constantly expectorate?  What?  Suddenly the next generation was born with overactive salivary glands?  They have so much excess that they’ve got to constantly drop it on the sidewalks for my dog to sniff and my shoes to squelch through?

I expect the old dudes that still, on rare occasion, use chewing tobacco to spit it out.  But the few that I’ve seen do that all seem to carry a can with them…seems society saw fit to get rid of spittoons a long time ago.  Judging from the kids in my neighbourhood, we’ll have to start putting them back in.  And at regular five-foot intervals along the streets.

I just want to state here.  Spitting does not make you look cool.  Spitting does not make you look tough.  Spitting does not make you look attractive.

Again, just say no.  Or, in the words of Monty Python, “come back and I shall taunt you a second time, you tiny-brained wipers of other people’s bottoms!”