Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Our Day

Today was good. I got the kids up, fed them all, dressed them all, and we actually sat down and did school. And nobody complained or wandered away or argued or refused. What a relief!

Then, for Family Home Evening tonight, we drew names to buy each other gifts. Originally, the kids wanted just to "buy each other gifts." But then I started thinking about the logistics of that--trying to keep find and pay for 42 MORE gifts than I already had to collect before Thursday night, trying to keep track of who had found what for whom and who was still missing what for whom---it was overwhelming.

So we fell back on the old large-family tradition of drawing names from a hat (or pie tin, in our case, because that's what was sitting in front of me). Each person drew one name and we went to the dollar store. We bought gifts for each other, supplies to make candy houses (from graham crackers and frosting), and I got bunches of little thisses and thats for Santa to give. I was delighted to find they have a large "Party favors" section with bags of small presents for a dollar (like magnifying glasses!). So I was able to get the same small thing for each child for a dollar for ALL of them, instead of each of them. That was fun.

Then to walmart for Christmas presents and necessities (like diapers). Benji's diaper leaked before we got there, so he was wearing a sweatshirt and blanket (he wouldn't keep my socks on).

By the time we left, it was midnight and we were all tired.

We drove home, planning to finish the last details tomorrow, but when we got home, we found that I had unintentionally locked the front door knob. About two weeks after we moved here, I came home from a trip to Utah and the key just turned and turned in the lock but didn't unlock it. We jiggled it some and it unlocked, and we resolved never to lock that door again, and to buy a new one as soon as we had some money.

Tonight, I was walking out and from old habit, I locked the knob. Then, before I closed the door, I remembered it and unlocked again, but....either I messed up and locked it again or it just didn't work.

Either way, we found ourselves standing on the porch at midnight in the cold, locked out of our house. The key only unlocks the back door knob, not the deadbolt, and only the deadbolt there was locked (not the knob--confused yet? Yeah--and it only unlocks the garage deadbolt, not the knob, but neither of those was locked--but there's no door from the garage into the house). Benji had no pants, shoes, or socks. Baby was sleeping, Anda was wearing a knee-length summer dress and sandals. Nobody had coats but Dan and Tim (we all just threw on woobies and sweaters because we'd be shopping, not walking outside, right?).

Door wouldn't unlock. I'd carefully locked all the windows on the ground level. The kids were starting to talk about sleeping in the garage when I slipped in there and examined the back wall. See, when we bought the house, it was a foreclosure, and there was a large hole cut in the wall between the garage and the at-that-time storage room--now Tim's studio. In order to get a loan, we had to agree to let a contractor seal that hole, which was as big as the span across three studs in the wall (two spaces, really, with one stud in the middle), so about 36" wide with a stud right down the middle. What I was looking for was how the contractor had plugged this hole.

Sure enough, the screws were visible. Painted over, but not sealed.

And, luckily, Tim had brought home with us this time a box of random, miscellaneous tools and he had unpacked it into only the garage. I had looked at it yesterday to bring in and put away, but I decided I was too lazy and left it there. So Tim had a utility knife (to cut away the spray-in insulation foam we had put in to seal the cracks the contractor left--he was required to cover the hole with fireproof wallboard, but not to seal the cracks a fire could come through. Doh!), and a few screwdrivers--one of which happened to work.

Still, he had to chip away all that insulating foam with the old utility knife and then clear the screws of a thick layer of paint, and then break into the inside wall (which he wouldn't have the luxury of being able to unscrew, being on the inside of the screws there). Not a fast job. So I took my improperly-dressed children to the grocery store and bought a couple more gifts, and some food stuffs, and got them free cookies, and reassured them that we would NOT have to sleep in the garage but that if we were stuck, we'd call someone in the ward (they could each name a couple people who would help us--Meilstrups, Craners, Rogers, etc). We came home an hour later tired and hungry and found Tim had made it into the house and that, fortunately, he had managed to unlock the door from the inside.

So I guess we're getting new doorknobs for Christmas. 3 mismatched ones cost about $25. Three matched ones (all keyed the same) cost twice that. I'm also pondering what kind of knob I want, and how much to spend on it, and the keying issues....Merry Christmas?

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