How not to open a shed door

shed door sm

The outrageously nasty winter finally, FINALLY gave way to a climate that wouldn’t eat your face off. We cautiously ventured outside to marvel at our seemingly alien warm, green backyard.

I opened the shed to grab some landscaping tools. My kid wheeled out his bike.

“Be sure to lock the shed when you’re done,” I said.  “OK, Mom.”

The shed has two deadbolt locks.  When I bought the house years ago, I matched locks to keys. All I remember from that day is the bottom deadbolt works with the hexagon key, and that’s how I shall lock the shed from now on.  

Fast forward to this evening. My kid tries unlocking the shed to return his bike, but can’t do it. I try too. The lock seems to have malfunctioned. The shed door is stuck shut.

I wish I could say I calmly assessed the situation. Instead, I lost my temper and tried to kick the door down. It was the final straw of a week full of house trouble and financial setbacks. I kicked and body slammed it until I got tired.

The next day I called a locksmith. The estimate to replace the lock was about $100, including labor. It occurred to me that I could probably just chop a hole in the door myself, reach in to unlock the door, then replace the door myself for much less than $100.  It’s just a cheap plywood door, right?

I had to buy the supplies I needed to perform the operation, because my tools were locked in the shed, of course.

Finally, I meet the shed with an old-school hatchet in hand, jonesin’ for a joyously cathartic axing. Whack whack whack!  15 minutes of chopping revealed the exact spot I chose to chop the hole was reinforced inside by a double layer of wood AND a large metal bar.

An alcoholic neighbor of mine heard the ruckus, chivalry demanding he step in to finish the job (or, perhaps, to gently take the axe away from the weird lady).  He briefly labored to expand the hole, then decided to knock the deadbolt out of the door instead. He hammered away at the bottom lock until it slid through the door and fell into the shed. We cheered.

But the shed was just as locked as it was before.

As my neighbor began repeating the abuse to the top deadbolt, a fuzzy thought began to creep into my consciousness. Bottom deadbolt wasn’t holding the door shut… that means… my kid used another key to lock the TOP deadbolt instead, and didn’t tell me. I could have just used another key to open the shed, but I forgot that was even possible. As that realization struck me, my neighbor dealt the death blow to the top deadbolt. It clattered into the shed, the door swinging open.

Now my shed has two bored holes where deadbolts used to be, a jagged hole in the middle just big enough to scrape your hand through, and a padlock I applied to lock the shed. The plywood purchased to replace the entire door turned out to be MUCH too heavy and unwieldy to install.  The shed will just look stupid until I can afford to replace the whole thing. It looks fine from a distance (except the victimized door) but is actually in really bad shape.

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