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Today the last of our door hardware arrived. We now have levers and locks for every door. In the February 27 story,  A Handle on the Door, I wrote about our first door handles and how strange it felt to have a handle with a lock rather than holes stuffed with insulation. For a couple of weeks after we moved into the house in February we locked the garage entry door by pushing a huge Dewalt generator against it. The front door was locked by scaffolding that blocked entry through the door from a porch that had no stairs.

The Dewalt door lock went out of service February 27 when we got a real lock and and handle set for the main door, the entry door to the garage. The scaffolding went away three weeks ago. Even without a front door handle set and lock, somehow having the handle set with a lock on the garage entry door overtook my awareness of the other doors. I knew I had ordered exterior door handles and deadbolts but were they were kept slipping my mind. A couple of weeks ago I set out on a serious search for the box and it was no where to be found.

If you have followed this blog of our recovery from our house that burned in a wildfire June 2012 through the original, failed replacement house on the same site, to our retirement and move to build this house 500 miles north of the original house, you know we have been lugging, losing and finding building supplies for over a year. Having things spread across two warehouses and this house means that it is not unusual for something to be lost. I started to be suspicious about the lost door hardware since we are getting to the bottom of the building materials. At this point almost everything has been hauled out of a warehouse and nailed down in the new house. The molding is up and the lights are hung. The cabinets are finished and nailed to the wall. There were no handles attached to the house and no box of handles I could find. I finally deduced that they had never arrived.

As it turned out the handles had been hanging out in a Cincinnati warehouse since January 27. When I concluded that the handles were missing, I  contacted the vender who contacted the shipper who found them in Cincinnati. When the order finally arrived it had written on it, “one box missing.” The box that did arrive was so torn up that I paid more attention to that–and the novelty of a 3 day shipping package arriving 6 weeks late–than I did to the missing box.

It turned out there actually was a box was missing. The shipper had lost that one too. I talked to our vendor again and they were immediately responsive and shipped out replacements. That did not arrive. I contacted them again and this time there was a mix up over how the locks were keyed. I ordered our exterior door locks to be keyed together at the factory. This means that all of the exterior locks can be opened by one key. No fishing for the front door key and finding that you have the utility room door key. One key fits all.

One key did not fit all for us. The first set of deadbolts one brand and the stray ones that never arrive had been lost so long that the company who make the handle sets where the deadbolts go had changed deadbolt manufacturers. We ended up having to change the door hardware trim so we could have matching locks.

After all of this, I was thinking that our insulation handles we had in January were a good idea. Doors come with two drilled holes, one for the handle and the other for the deadbolt. Because the wind whistled through those holes, before we had any handles we had scraps of insulation stuffed into them. You wriggled your finger in the insulation and grabbed the hole where the lock was supposed to be and opened the door.

I know you may be thinking about security concerns. I did for a while right after we moved into the basement apartment. Even it does not have a lock on it. In fact, it has one of four handles it should have. The entry door to the apartment is a double french door with one handle on one side of one door. When you want to close the doors to the apartment, you close one of the two and then grasping the second on the side, pull it toward you really fast, hopefully remembering to remove your hand before it bounces into the little ball hinge that keeps it closed. When you want to enter you just push. It is high security, even Sophie the dog knows how to push to get in.

Living with one of four exterior handle sets and one of four handles on our apartment doors, we just forgot that some people would think missing handle sets and locks is a problem.

With all of the hardware here, tomorrow we are finally going to install of the missing handle sets and dead bolts. That is, all but the front door. The hole in the front door is where the electrical cord for the tile cutter’s saw is threaded through. The front door handle hole has been the electrical pass-through for months. Nowadays there is no insulation but the ever-present cord is there. The “tile guy” has an orange cord. It catches my eye every time I go by. The cord that lived there for months was aqua. The aqua cord now lives running from the dining room out the sliding glass door onto the front deck powering the table saw that is cutting our window and door trim. That sliding door, which used to house the green cord, already has a handle and a lock but it has never been used since a power cord has always lived there.

Which brings me full circle. Tomorrow we will have handles and locks on all of the doors.  We just cannot use them all until the aqua cord departs its dinging room to deck location where it powers the table saw and the orange electrical cord departs its path from the living room to tile saw on the front porch. The green one departed last week to build a new house.front entry of a house under construction showing ladder leaning against the above ground porch

Perhaps with handle sets, locks and cords we have the best security. An erstwhile burglar would have to come on the porch, clamber over table and tile saws and tiptoe past the orange and aqua cords to get to the house to swipe the remaining two unpainted cabinets which are about the only things not nailed down. Come to think of it, there aren’t any real stairs to the porch anyway.