Home projects sometimes include rescuing a trapped child
I followed the muffled sound to the end of a hallway that was mostly doors… three bedrooms, two closets and a bathroom.
“Daddy! I’m locked in the bathroom!
“Turn the little knob in the middle of the doorknob,” I suggested.
“It doesn’t work,” he says. “Something broke.”
“It’s okay,” I said. “Let me find something to open the door on this side.” It was an interior door handle with an emergency pinhole that could unlock the door from the outside. I straightened a paperclip into a makeshift key and stuck it into the small hole.
Three minutes trying to MacGyver with the door open and… nothing.
“Daddy, how long am I going to stay here?”
I was tempted to remind him that it could be worse. He MAY be locked in the bedroom and badly needed to go to the bathroom.
I had a foolproof home repair plan on a sticky note stuck to the fridge, but I didn’t think my handyman would appreciate a 7:30 am Saturday night call. I sat down on the floor and looked at the door; the hinges and screws that held the doorknob in place were INSIDE the bathroom. It doesn’t help.
Where is it?
On the other side of the door: “I’m still here.”
“Look at the small screws on either side of the doorknob. Do they have a straight line or an X? “
“Uh … an X.”
A Phillips screwdriver! I have one of those! I’ll take my ladder, go up through the bathroom window and remove the doorknob!
Proud of my ingenuity, I started to hum an old Joe Cocker song.
I opened the stepladder under the bathroom window.
Hmmm. Five foot ladder. Window 12 feet from the ground. It’s time for plan B.
Now all I need is Plan B …
“Steven, can you remove the screen from the window?”
“I think so …”
He fiddled with the clips that held the screen in place, then pulled it away from the window.
“Awesome!” I said. “I’m going to throw the screwdriver through the window, and you need to remove the little screws.” Go back! “
I was in the middle of my wind up when I rethought my plan and wrapped the screwdriver in a tea towel. Safety first, I always say.
On the third shot, the screwdriver went through the open window, and by the time I entered the house, Steven was standing in the hallway.
“Can I skip my bath tonight?” He asked.
“Just for tonight,” I said, slapping him on the back.
I enjoy these DIY programs where the construction guys teach real people how to install a new oven or renovate the kitchen, but they really need to do an episode on how to save a 9 year old when he is trapped in the bathroom.
Dan Conradt, a permanent resident of Mower County, lives in Austin with his wife, Carla Johnson.