Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Can't Get In My House

My front door broke.

When you spend close to $300 for some door hardware, I think you're allowed to have some expectation that said hardware will last a good long time.

We purchased the Baldwin door handle/latch plus deadbolt when we bought the new front door. The hardware is solid brass with a bronze finish. Style name: Madison.

A few days ago, the usual assortment of kids were running in and out of the house. I was ignoring the noise associated with this activity, until the clickity clack of the door latch became more pronounced, and was accompanied by a voice whining 'Mom, let us in, we can't open the door!'

"Whattaya mean you can't open the door? Why did you lock it?" If I had thought about this statement, I would have realized that it was impossible to lock the door from the outside without the key, and they had no key.

"We didn't lock it - it won't open!"

I opened the door. "It's working fine, what's the problem??"

My son proceeded to demonstrate that the outside thumb-operated latch wasn't functioning. Sure enough, the latch refused to do anything other than to hang there, limp.

"Damn it - what did you guys do to my door??? Your dad is going to go balistic! Do you know how much this thing cost?????!!!!"

"I didn't do it..."

"I didn't even open the door!"

"I don't know..."

I stomped around the house, irritated at this latest inconvenience. Money streams out of this house like an old garden hose leaks water. Darn money pit.

"Just wait 'til I tell your dad." At this point, my son breaks into tears. "Mom, I didn't do anything!"

At the sight of how upset he became, I relented, because I'm a marshmallow push-over. "Nick, it may have just broke by itself - although it shouldn't have given what we paid for it - I just want to warn dad before he comes home and finds he can't get in the house."

Later that evening, my hub brought out the neccessary tools and inspected the door hardware. He confirmed what I perceived was pretty obvious, but he did it with more technical terms and flourish - 'I've examined the latching mechanism...I can see the problem - it's not working.' My hero.

"I have the receipt, and I'll call the place we bought the door." He kept the receipt? I make a mental note to not nag him again about keeping every little crummy scrap of paper.

It paid off that we didn't buy a big-box-store-piece-of-crap. I believe most of Baldwin products are designed and engineered domestically, and manufactured in plants around the US, Canada and Mexico. The company is sending, free of charge, a replacement for our door. We don't even have to pay shipping. However, it chaps my hide that a heavy chunk of brass that looks like it was forged by Mars himself, and cost $300 would break at all. It was supposed to last a lifetime. So far, it's lasted the lifetime of a very old hamster.

In the meantime, I've closed the door on myself at least 8 times, and have had to make the less-than-convenient trek to the side of my house through the back door. If that lock doesn't come soon, I know it's just a matter of time before I lock myself out of the house, and will have to resort to crawling through a window, or sitting on the front porch until my husband comes home.

So Baldwin, please hurry and send my new hardware. I can't get in my house.

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