Quick Fix: Trapped inside my house

The very first day it hit zero this bitter, bitter winter, I went to the back of my of my house (which I dorkily refer to as the West Wing) to take out a bag of super stinky used litter. I quickly discovered that the doorknob on the exterior door leading to my deck and the backyard wouldn't open. Not locked, but stuck. Frozen, I figured (cue an off-key Adele Dazeem Disney karaoke rendition). The temperature had dropped thirty degrees in eight hours and this door has no screen or storm door to protect it. Bad bad bad for extreme weather in Michigan. I assumed it would thaw once the temperature climbed back above 40. I should never assume anything. I am ALWAYS wrong. This is what make me so cynical.

So the knob didn't unthaw. It remained firmly stuck. On closer examination (i.e. completely removing the doorknob from the inside) I realized that the mechanism inside the knob had aged and snapped, causing the door to stay permanently locked.

Also, I messed with it to the point that I couldn't get the knob back in. Because this is my life and if shit CAN happen, shit WILL happen. No access to the backyard from the West Wing. So this is what I've been stuck with for three weeks now:


The hole was covered in painter's tape, so don't worry yourself about that. Thankfully the top bolt still worked, so I wasn't susceptible to break-ins. But believe me when I say that even if the Hamburglar himself wanted in, that pin WAS NOT budging. I tried to remove the door the opposite way by removing the hinge pins, but the bottom was so stuck that it wouldn't budge no matter what I did. THREE WEEKS of banging on one stubborn little bastard of a hinge pin. No dice.

I woke up early this morning to meet the guys that were coming to help on some kitchen projects. Unfortunately they cancelled on me. I thought about blowing house projects off to go see a movie, but ended up at Home Depot instead. That place draws me in like a frakkin tractor beam. I bought a set of small pry bars for ten bucks (a screwdriver wouldn't cut it--I tried) and a new doorknob/dead bolt combo.

It took about an hour of messing around with the pry bar to finally open the door. I really went at it because this is a metal door that I knew could take a beating. And I wasn't worried about dirtying it up. As you can see, it's in rough shape already. I'll clean it up and paint it when I tackle the big dining room project in the fall.


Hello freedom! Look at that glorious hole. A Glory Hole! Oh wait...


I followed the directions on the new lock set to the letter, but skipped putting in new strike plates, because the existing ones work fine and changing out strike plates is a pain in the ass, as I experienced when installing this same set on my front door back in November. It's a Kwikset Smartkey pair that allows you to rekey the lock to an existing key. Pretty cool.  

Twenty minutes, sixteen f-bombs, one adventurous cat and a last-minute assist from baby sister Kylara, the job is done. And as I said in my moment of glorious triumph when I flipped the lock for the first time, "Screw you door! I win!"


A win indeed.