Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pumpkin is not Lassie

It’s no secret that I love my new apartment. I find something new to love everyday. With any old building you sometimes have to love not so positive things because that’s what gives the place character. I like to call these things the “eccentricities” of a building since eccentricity is slightly more positive than calling something a problem. I’ve lived in plenty of old buildings over the years and part of the fun is trying to figure out the eccentricities of the place rather than trying to fix them.

My new apartment’s eccentricity is that only a few of the doors and cabinets actually close completely. Each door is coated in approximately 30 years worth of paint. Apparently, no one is familiar with the concept of sanding before painting. With that much paint, doors are bound to either not close completely (because of the layers) or stick because the most recent layer didn’t actually get to set properly before use or both. Last weekend I was talking to a friend about this. We had a good laugh about it especially since the bathroom door doesn’t close completely. Consider the hilarious and awkward situations that might cause if I ever throw a party (and cue the ominous music).

Now I’ve only told two people the rest of this story and of course, Pumpkin knows everything but she can't talk (thankfully). Last Sunday I went to take a shower and got stuck in my bathroom for an hour. I didn’t realize that I had actually closed the door all the way because I didn’t think that was possible.  Before I even got in the shower, I turned around to get something from my bedroom and realized I was stuck.

I temporarily panicked—I couldn’t call anyone since I don't bring my phone into the bathroom, I wasn’t sure that my other friend who was coming for lunch would call someone else if I didn’t answer, I couldn’t crawl out the window—what was I going to do? I did the first thing that anyone would do—I tried the handle. It came off in my hand. I tried pushing the door and then “running” into it (my bathroom is the size of a small closet so running is really not what I was doing but I needed more momentum). I also tried calling out the window but no one heard me or if they did, they ignored me. Thanks neighbors, I like you too.

Then I channeled my inner MacGyver and assessed my supplies and what I could do with them. Here’s what I tried using only items from my medicine cabinet and makeup kit:

·      Used the cardboard box from some medicine to try to jimmy the door (didn’t work)
·      Tried the same thing with the plastic sleeve from my travel makeup brushes (nope)
·      Used my tweezers to scrape paint off the door and wedge it open a bit more (I think this definitely helped since I removed so much paint)
My assorted tools

Had to buy new tweezers too

What ultimately got me out of the bathroom was my constant pushing and slamming into the door. Between that and the wedge/scrape combo with the tweezers the door eventually gave and I got out. I have since realized that I was focusing on the wrong part of the door (at least I think I was). It wasn’t the lock area that was stuck; it was the doorjamb and the hinges are on the outside so it’s not like I could take them off (I'm not sure that a lipstick brush would have worked for that anyway). The paint between the door and the frame was what stuck. The pushing and slamming unstuck the paint.

I have a feeling I'll get charged for this "damage" when I move
So here are five things I learned from this experience (other than that ridiculous things seem to happen to me all the time):

1.     Always take your phone into the bathroom with you. Now I hate people who actually make and take calls when they’re in the bathroom but for safety purposes this makes sense.
2.     Provide several people with contact information for your building just in case they can’t reach you.
3.     Keep a small tool kit in the bathroom. Imagine what I could have done with a flathead screwdriver or a hammer.
4.     Don’t ever close the bathroom door completely in my apartment. If you have plans to visit me please take note of this.
5.     Pumpkin needs to be trained to be more like Lassie. This will never happen but it’s a nice a thought. I’m fairly certain that she sat on the bed and ignored me the whole time. If Timmy had had a cat instead of Lassie, he’d still be in that well.

I have to admit that I’m pretty proud of myself for only momentarily panicking and using my MacGyver skills to try to open the door.  I hope that this qualifies me as someone who has gumption--I love that word. I've always wanted to be described as having gumption or moxie.

I also think I should have a theme song. Anyone want to write one for me (or maybe just suggest one)?


  1. Just sand and paint. they'll never notice.
    Put a regular screw driver under
    the sink always can be a wedge.(DAD)

    Erin,I can't believe you didn't tell us this on Sunday!These are the times you miss your dad the most.You should write another blog about people who got locked out and how they resolved the problem. This could be used a reference book and sold at Home Depot! (Mom)

  2. Thank you Mom and Dad for the advice! I'm putting together my bathroom tool kit this weekend. However, I vow that this will never happen again as I always check that the door is at least an inch open.

    If I told you everything than what would I have to write about? :)

  3. This is amazing!!! I went through the archives so I could find it and I'm glad I did! Picturing this scene play out is hilarious. I have this fear about getting locked in bathrooms in public and having to tell people. I had never considered getting locked in my own bathroom and the panic that would follow.

    I will say it, you have moxie and gumption!

    1. It's basically a scene from some terrible romantic comedy except that in the movie, John Cusack or Andrew McCarthy would come save the day because Pumpkin would be more like Lassie and go and get one of them.

      This happened again right before I moved. After y'all left I was cleaning the apartment and went into the bathroom. All the windows were open so there was all this airflow and the door slammed shut. Luckily, my brother was there and opened the door from the other side so I wasn't locked in again.