Why People Do Stupid Things. A Lock Story.

Friday, September 11, 2015

It's true.  People do stupid things.


(And by stupid here, I'm suggesting we are intelligent beings with the capacity to know better, that due to some inane lapse, a poor calculation leads to an unwelcome consequence.  Granted, some ahem just may not have the appropriate intelligence level at all, all together, Iiiiii dunno.  But, let's be nice and concede the benefit of the doubt here.)

Heh, but still, it's confounding sometimes, right?!  Why not do things the un-stupid way?

When we first moved in, I changed the locks.  Goodness knows how many of the flipper's people had keys and ya know, we weren't too keen on having random folks just pop on by whenever, right?  Surprise!  No thanks.

It's a lot of freakin' locks, people.  Knob and deadbolt on the front door.  On the back door.  The front security door.  The back security door.  A lot.  Four sets.  It's all like Fort Knox up in here but without the gold.

Back then, time was in short supply so I got new sets for the front and back doors, moving the existing ones to the security doors.  Almost -- I think I have the front security door still left to do.  Heh.  Two years later....

Anywhooooo.....so right, little time, in a rush.

Stupid #1 (on me):  in a rush.

Stupid #2 (again, on me):  bought lesser expensive sets.  Not the cheapest but I was trying to save some pennies.  I mean, did you see how many sets we have?

Ok so bam, two reasons right there why people do dumb sh*t -- they're in a rush and they're trying to save a buck.

Stupid #3:  taking the path of least resistance, or the easy way out, or just giving up.

At the time, I struggled with all four deadbolts re-aligning with the crazy existing holes.  Never could get them lined up enough to lock in the back (don't tell my mom).  So I gave up and vowed to get back to it, oh, some day.

Stupid #4 (on flipper):  let a hack who doesn't give two you-know-what's install things.

A while back I mentioned that I thought the front and back doors were salvaged from the side of the road or dumpster or something then installed here.  They're beat up, they're filthy, like unremovable ground-in filth that just will not come out, they're dented, scratched, they're tacky, just all around sad.  Back to reason #2 above, trying to save a buck.

So whoever installed the lock sets messed up the jambs in such a special way.  They never completely worked correctly then either.  Terrible job.  I mean, total hack:  ehhhh just uh, eh, whatev's man, it locks enough, no one cares about the workmanship of the holes or if these really catch or eeehhhh, ya know, who cares, ain't my house....

Mm hmm.

Anywhooo again....flash forward to a week or two or so ago.  The skies open in a diabolical fury of thunder, lightning, and torrential rains.  Casually I meander downstairs to pull a blankie out of the dryer when what do I see?

Ah, my fave:  puddles.  Arrrgggg.

So I'm cleaning up the water when Mike gets home from work, like quarter to ten at night.  He helps scoop the water still in his dress clothes, plugs in a fan.  Bedraggled, I am.

We're dolling out dinner (nummy cashew chicken, one of Mike's faves and I had just prior been all happy excited to make him something he loves) when he says, "hey uh, um, by the way, to add insult to injury?, my key broke in the back door.  Sheered off."

Snap.  Doh.
Crap.  Stupid things coming back to haunt me.  Which is what stupid things do.  That's why they're stupid.

During dinner I perused the interwebs for tips on how to remove a sheered off broken key.  And guess what?  Not a single one that I found worked.  Not a one.  Not a single one.

Frustrated, I encouraged the door shut.  I wasn't mad at Mike, it wasn't his fault.  Frustrated and annoyed to be spending money on something I already spent money on, knowing I had made foolish choices.

I hit Menards for a new knob and deadbolt set* (omg, like half the price of Menards!  Dammit!  Sigh.) the next day.

It's like the house wine by the fancy vineyard.  A little less expensive but still quality enough to be better than what I bought originally.
Yes, I went for a whole new look, a different shape and color, almost off the reservation as I'm sure no one would expect me to pick antique brass ever.  The ubiquitous silver toned round knob look has bored me, yawn.  This new set looks mid-century vibe-ish to me -- hence, there was the draw.

By the way, as an aside, changing the locks on doors is an incredibly simple thing to do.  Mike thinks it takes a call to a locksmith.  (That's not a jab, I love him very much.)  I think it takes like no time at all.  It's a DIY done in a snap.

Start by removing the screws from the knob inside, which was tricky for me here as the wall is right darn there.

Embarrassing photo #1.  This area is SUCH the train wreck.
Yes, opening the door is what one does here but it was stuck shut, the catch frozen in lock position since I guess we futzed with it too much trying to get the key out.  I had to go out the front, down the gangway, and open the door from outside after removing the inside knob.

Stuck.  Jammed.  Refuses to budge.  Lovely photo again, embarrassing me with the filth and mess.
After confusing the dog, once back inside all the parts essentially pop right out.  A little disconcerting as a general umbrella afterthought kinda but, that's how they're made.

Then, just go in reverse,

Door catch first...
pop everything back in,

...door knob next...Nice with the chewed up door edge there, oy.
align the knobs, tighten screws,

Oh yeah, all that charming grime.  Mmm, nummy.
test, and done.

The deadbolt is faster to install into the door, but I always find it takes eons longer getting things aligned properly for some reason.

Hey look, more dirt!  I discovered yesterday that that TSP substitute works well on getting a portion of the yick off.
Now making a big giant circle back....I decided since I had available time, why not address the crappy jamb mess.  Make the deadbolt actually latch!  Gasp!  Right?!

Stupid #5:  doing all this on a super sticky humid day.  Heh.  Bleech!

Yes.  Seriously.  No joke.  Aside from the expanding foam I sprayed in there because there are crazy gaps leading to the dark pits of air leak hell, this is how they left this.  Mm hm.  Yup.  Go team!
Part of the problem is that they made a huge mess of everything, messed up holes, destroyed the wood, holes in places that don't line up with the current door, ya know...I mean...they clearly threw these pieces of junk doors on at some point therefore nothing lines up properly.  They clearly did not care.

It took for.ev.er and it's still not perfect, nor was I able to really entirely clean up the pathetic situation back there.  The only way at this point would be to redo the jamb which is too much for me' poor brain, skills, or patience to handle.  Maybe some caulk and paint to spiff it up and I'll at least feel somewhat better about it, I dunno.

It's confusing as to why but it took forever to get this new catch plate right-ish.
But!  I was able to get the deadbolt to work properly so that is a major plus!

But not after spending an eternity on it.  See those pencil marks on the side there?  Yeah, that's where the bolt was striking in comparison to how the new plate lined up in the chipped out space.  I had to use the old plate as the hole was larger and because I couldn't adjust the new plate down.  No where for the top screw to go, ya know?
The whole situation turned into a spiraling of man, I am so sick and tired of all the half-a**ed crap this dumb flipper did.  And continues to do to people!  Granted, #1 and #2 are my own doings but compounded with everything else....Two years of fixing stuff poured down upon my wee shoulders like Niagara Falls.

Ok, so...in summary, the main reasons people do stupid things?  In no particular order:  no one is watching; taking a shortcut seems "smarter"; "care" is nonexistent; knowledge of the topic at hand is lacking; someone is attempting to save some cash and/or time; laziness to a.) do it right, b.) find out how to do it right if ya don't know, and c.) general Overall Laziness Affliction.

It really is not difficult to do things right the first time, I swear.  Sure, maybe it seems like it'll take longer.  And who knows, maybe it will.  But so what?  Look what happens otherwise -- it ends up getting done a second time.  Which then means it takes twice as much time and money and effort.

I mean, sure, we all make mistakes.  Some mistakes aren't even mistakes really.  They're lessons, remember?  So, I wouldn't classify every mistake as doing a stupid thing.

Regardless, I say enough!, foot down, let's stop doing stupid things, mmk?  Take or find the time, be smart with the dollars available, do the research.  It'll make you, everyone, and the world a much happier place.

Boy, September has gotten off to a slow pace around the homestead and here!  I think my darn allergies are trying to rear their ugly head again with sneezies, headaches, and general worn-out-ness.  And I'm probably worn out from the kitchen cabinet project.

No time to get sick though as I got picked up for a pilot for Showtime, produced by Common.  So I'll be working on that starting likely the 21st for three to four weeks.  It's only one episode hence the short schedule.  Projects around the house and my visits here will be limited, sadly.  Sorry guys!  :(

In the mean time, my mom forwarded me an email she received from her friend who is downsizing her garden out in the 'burbs, offering up all sorts of amazing plants for the taking!  Oh my goodness is right, so I'll be up there next week collecting plants to dress up our new deck.

But I'll see what I can cram into the week ahead then report on during my pilot stint.

Have a great weekend y'all!

*The door knob set is an Amazon affiliate link.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. It sounds frustrating to deal with all those locks and keys. On the bright side you will not have to worry about someone breaking in as much. When installing door nobs and locks, it can be tricky due to the fact that you have to make sure everything is lined up. If you don't, it will not work.

  2. I recently found your blog through HomeTalk. Then I went back to the very beginning of your blog and I'm slowly making my way through it, so I don't know the ending yet, but I have to share this since, just last week, I replaced the last of my 3 locks and encountered almost exactly the same things you had on your lock replacements (minus breaking keys). I just bought a home, and it wasn't a flip, it had been a rental for many years and needs A LOT of love! In a past life, I did a lot of woodworking and discovered this miracle fix for misplaced screw holes and such. https://www.amazon.com/J-B-Weld-8257-KwikWood-Repair/dp/B002NJDAJY/ref=pd_sim_263_8?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B002NJDAJY&pd_rd_r=54KQ1PWVB0EQQ6GKVC7E&pd_rd_w=P0hdD&pd_rd_wg=8z6Ac&psc=1&refRID=54KQ1PWVB0EQQ6GKVC7E (That's an amazon link to J-B Weld KwikWood Epoxy putty. This stuff is awesome! In my deadbolt situation, previous owners (or their renters) had replaced locks and just made the hole bigger, so, for my lock, the top of the opening was right, but the bottom was was where the screws wouldn't hit wood. So, I stuffed the bottom of the hole full of this putty, waited for it to harden up (maybe 30 minutes), then drilled through the putty and into the wood behind it, because those screws are LONG and went beyond the depth of the putty, and shazam, I had my pretty new catch plate AND the deadbolt actually locked! I really need to start taking pictures and documenting like you are!!! Your blog is awesome!

    1. Thanks so much for coming by! And for starting all the way back at the beginning! I hope you find it all fun! Excellent tip on that wood epoxy putty -- I'll definitely be sure to look that stuff up as it sounds like a miracle fix, thank you. Congrats on your home purchase and for getting those locks worked out; that is not always an easy task. Yes, do document as I find it is tremendously helpful when you need to check on something. Thanks for the great comment and compliments!


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