(The title is courtesy of my dad. If I or one of the kids say, “I have to go pee,” he responds, “Go’n peace.”)
You know how parents like to complain that they can’t even use the bathroom in private? Usually it’s the fault of kids who just don’t respect people’s privacy—or more likely, don’t really think of their parents as separate people in need of privacy from their offspring. This time, however, it’s my builder’s fault.
No, really. Although I didn’t notice it right when we moved in two years ago, it soon became apparent to us that the powder room door wasn’t really closing, nevermind locking. If I closed it and a child so much as tapped gently from outside, the door would pop open whether or not I had engaged the lock. It simply didn’t latch in place.
For a while we just advised any guests that it didn’t really lock, and that maybe they should keep one foot behind the door while they were in there (it’s not hard to do—the bathroom is tiny.) Then COVID happened and guests were a thing of the past, so it basically became a non-issue. I mean, half the people here don’t even close the door when they’re using the bathroom, and the other half just use another bathroom if they need real privacy.
So “fix the powder room door” languished in the parking lot of my to-do list for a long time. It was simply not on my top 10 (or even top 50) list of things to do next.
Last night I got tired of Facebook: it was mostly commentary on the U.S. election, and I have a policy of not spending a lot of time dwelling on things I can’t actually do anything about. So I clicked on each of my open tabs (only about eight of them today) and finally landed on my Trello board, with its lists marked “Parking Lot,” “To Do,” “In Progress,” “Blocked,” and “Done.” I wondered what small task I might accomplish before Mr. December’s work meeting was over. For some reason, “fix the powder room door” seemed to be taunting me. How long could it possibly take?
I started by taking a very close look at the latch plate. It was clear from the wear lines that the latch and the plate weren’t making contact in the right place; the plate was about five millimeters too low for the latch to engage.
The fix was pretty easy: I took some measurements, removed the plate, chiseled out some of the door jamb so it would fit flush, and screwed the plate in five millimeters lower than it was before. I may or may not have stripped a screw in the process. When I tried closing the door I realized that I needed to chisel out a bit more of the door jamb than I thought. I’m lazy, so instead of removing the plate again (and further stripping the screw) I took a knife to the interfering wood and hollowed out a bit of it. That solved the problem.
So now our powder room door works as intended. If I were more of a perfectionist I’d try filling the cracks and gaps that resulted from moving the plate. I’m not that picky, but I didn’t like how I could see some bare wood against the dark plate and jamb. I did the easy thing: I grabbed a blue Sharpie marker and coloured the bare wood so it blended better with the door jamb. As you can see in this tiny picture, it looks fine now unless you’re taking a very close look. And if you are taking a very close look at the latch plate on my powder room door jamb, I have to ask: why?
With that fifteen-minute investment of time, I can finally “go in peace”…or just pretend that’s what I’m doing, when really I’m just taking the opportunity to think my own thoughts for five minutes…and maybe finish a sudoku.