With hindsight we could have avoided that

Whatever else my little family have planned each day, I like us to sit down for dinner together in the evening. I see this as our chance to catch up on each other’s news, to discuss our experiences and to share thoughts on current events. Of course, it is not always possible for everyone to be there. Sometimes a planned activity involves eating with friends or necessitates buying some food on the go. Each evening though, I will work out when those who expect to be fed by me will be available and produce dinner for that time.

Last night my husband had plans to go out so our meal was prepared earlier than usual. I called the family to the table and all but my eldest son appeared. As he is often a little tardy we started without him, expecting him to appear in a few minutes time. He did not. My youngest son was sent to remind him to join us and we continued to eat. I was getting rather annoyed by his absence as he knows that eating together is important to me. He is of an age where such feelings are not always enough to sway his behaviour and nagging can be counter productive, so I try to stay calm and reasonable. Some battles are not worth fighting even though I do not wish to lose my family times.

Eventually my younger son, sensing my growing agitation, went upstairs to remonstrate with his brother. He came running back down the stairs and burst into the kitchen in a state of high excitement, gleefully announcing that the lock in the bathroom door had broken and my boy was trapped inside. The children found this unashamedly hilarious; my husband was not so amused.

Thinking that it was a simple case of user error, he left the table wearily and went to sort the situation out. We could hear instructions being given and responses made. The children finished their meal and excused themselves as they wished to appraise themselves of the events developing upstairs. They returned to inform me that the lock could not be dismantled without first opening the door. They suggested ladders and climbing through windows; there was talk of calling the fire brigade as they joyously envisaged their brother being rescued by a hefty fireman; my daughter updated her Facebook status and wanted to film what was going on – a suggestion that I vetoed. At times like this my husband’s sense of humour generally fails him.

Eventually it became clear that there was no straightforward solution. Becoming more and more irritated, my husband was trying to force the door and I was concerned that he would injure himself. I suggested the use of a sledgehammer – my daughter was practically dancing with glee.

Next time we see a hefty hero on a TV show or in a movie forcing through a locked door with a simple shoulder barge we will know how unrealistic such a feat is. Even with our mighty sledgehammer it took a great deal of effort to force through that cheap, modern, bathroom door. The lock had to be smashed to bits and forced from the wood. When the door flew open my son emerged smiling broadly and his siblings greeted him as a hero returning from battle. I suspect that they will remember that half hour of excitement for some time to come.

We now have a rather smashed up door. The price of the entertainment became obvious when my daughter wished to shower later in the evening and realised that she could not lock herself in. After I had put duct tape over the holes where the handle had been, enough of the door remains intact to provide privacy but not security. They will have to live with that for now.

The lock on the bathroom door had been playing up for some weeks so it’s failure was not a surprise. With hindsight, it is easy to say that this whole situation could have been avoided had we dealt with the problem when it first arose. We are not very good at this sort of thing. There are numerous jobs that should be seen to around our house, but we live with the irritation and inconvenience, sometimes for years. I do wonder how long we will live with the broken door.

On sorting the problem out my husband’s first question was why he had not been told that there was a known problem with the lock. The children and I looked at each other and simultaneously informed him that it had been discussed numerous times. The bathroom is used by our children and their guests so he may not have experienced the issue himself, but I find it hard to believe that he has not heard the mechanism creak and crunch each time it is used. It would appear that he really does manage to live in his own little world.

As events unfolded, I was grateful that my husband managed to contain his displeasure and that he had planned to go out later anyway. After tidying up I was able to have a much needed early night; by this evening all will have calmed down and we can discuss how to proceed. Actually, I will not be surprised if there is little discussion. Just as much of what we chat about as a family seems to pass my husband by, so he rarely shares his plans with us. No doubt he will have a solution in mind but may not see a need to disclose it. Our family has been running relatively smoothly in this way for many years.

As far as I am concerned, the most important thing is that nobody was hurt. The inconvenience can be borne and the door will be replaced eventually. I will suggest that we fit a bolt rather than a lock, although I accept that I may not be heard. I am just so grateful that this happened while we were all available to sort the situation out. How awful it would have been if the lock had failed on a child whilst home alone.

With hindsight we realise how minor repairs can preclude major inconvenience. As a parent I cannot help but run through all of the what if’s and hug my children that bit closer because they were entertained rather than left trapped and alone. One doesn’t usually feel the need to bring a means for calling for help into a family bathroom. One doesn’t usually need to use a sledgehammer to slide open a simple lock.

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One comment on “With hindsight we could have avoided that

  1. […] in April my elder son had an unfortunate incident with our bathroom door (With hindsight we could have avoided that). Today we had the door replaced. For just under six months the children have been using a bathroom […]

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