In the midst of preparing for our New Year’s Eve party at my place and re-tiling the washroom floor on the same day, I had to deal with a jammed bedroom door -- with Gabriel and Markus locked inside the room!
I was taking a shower when I heard rapid knocks and Gabriel’s muffled voice. “Mom, our door won’t open.”
This sounds bad, I thought to myself. I couldn’t quite tell where he was calling from.
“Where are you?” I asked.
“We are inside,” he replied.
Ow, worse, I thought.
We didn’t have a key to that door, and the knob, if locked accidentally, could not be opened any other way, not with a pointy tool nor a plastic card.
“Wait till I get out. Leave it alone. Do something else…” I tried not to sound alarmed, trying to suppress a sense of panic rising within me.
I heard Mickey come to their door and try to open the darn knob. “Why don’t we just break the door?” he asked. I could already sense the two boys’ anxiety.
“Wait, just wait for me. Don’t break the door…” I told the three while quickly calculating the costs of a broken door and the trouble of repairing it. Think, think, think. Should I call 911? climb through the window? ...break the door?
After I got out, I calmly asked the two boys inside, “Do you see screws on the doorknob?... How many?... What do they look like? Straight or cross?”
Yes… two… cross…were their consecutive responses.
With these vital pieces of information, I thought of a plan. “Mickey, get a ball of string and a cross-tipped screwdriver from the toolbox downstairs.” Mickey ran downstairs and was back within seconds with the cord and a phillips.
“Okay guys,” I started giving instructions. “Pull this string under your door. Tie a pen or highlighter at the end. Pull as long as you need and throw it out the window to Kuya Mickey.” To Mickey, I said, “Go outside and get the string and tie the screwdriver so they could pull it back up.” Gabriel and Markus were intently following the instructions and did as they were told. I heard unscrewing sounds as soon as they got the screwdriver.
“Mom, it won’t work. The screwdriver is too small,” Gabriel, sounding frustrated, said from the other side of the door.
I asked Mickey to get a flat nose and a bigger phillips screwdriver and slipped the tips under the door as far as I could.
“Do you think these will fit?” I asked. Gabriel thought the flat one would do, but just the same, I asked Mickey to tie up both. “Okay, let’s do it again.” Mickey went back outside.
Moments later, I heard unscrewing. Then arguments as to who would undo the second screw. You said I can do the other one...
They successfully loosened the knob from the inside while I pulled out the knob on the outside. Unfortunately, there remained the metal thing in the middle, the horizontal rod that locked or unlocked. It was still jammed and the door wouldn’t budge.
I decided to get the hammer. “Mom, what will you use the hammer for?” Mickey asked.
Hmmm. I don’t know. I was thinking of hammering the rod, but chances were, that would ruin the wood as well. Aha! A little oil might do. I quickly got a small spray bottle of lubricant. Without any warning, I sprayed through the hole not knowing Markus was peering from the inside. A mist indirectly went to his eyes.
“Mom, you sprayed at Markus’s eyes!” Gabriel said.
“Ooops, sorry Markus.”
Gabriel and I put back the inside and outside knobs together and turned them a few times while pushing the door. The door finally opened. We were very relieved.
“Wow, you became handymen!” I told the two, now amused by the incident and proud of what they had accomplished.
“That was scary and funny,” Markus said. Gabriel had a momentary anxiety about closing doors shut after that.
I removed the door knob completely. I will replace it with a more fitting door knob I saw today at Home Depot. It’s one that doesn’t require a special tool in case it is accidentally locked. Good for the kids room.
Imagine if this incident happened with no else in the house but the two boys. Ooh, scary...