House guest

I am sure that I have mentioned at least a few times that the house that I live in is well over 100 years old. A lot of your average, better-than-thou type people think that it is silly that I would choose to buy a house that is that old. The simple fact is that this house is made out of pretty solid material, adobe, that has been standing in the middle of this desert for over 100 years. The exterior walls are all eigteen inches thick, and it has recently been outfitted with the most current double-paned, energy efficient windows. This means that the heating cost in the house never goes over a hundred dollars a month during the winter, and while I do not currently have a central air-conditioning system I would find it hard to believe that it would cost much more. It is sort of like living in an ice-chest; the walls are so damn thick that the heat/cold can’t seep out of them. And, honestly, would you rather live in a house that has stood in the same location for 100 years or buy a “manufactured home” that is going to decay to nothing by the time you pay off your mortgagae? Regardless of what the Real Estate Agent might tell you, aluminum does not insulate against heat, “manufactured home” does mean “trailer” (although they do take the wheels of for you), and the value of trailers depreciates every year. While the value of any home that is fixed to the ground with a foundation will appreciate every year, even if it is 100 years old. Of course the value of this old house is not what I want to get into today…

I have not changed any of the locks since we moved into this place some three years ago. Truth be told, I never had the keys to a couple of the locks, a fact that I only found out yesterday. The house has three exits, one is through the back and the one that we use the majority of the time. One is through the front door, that is usually only ever used to get pizza deliveries and the such. The third enters directly into the room that my brother-in-law is now inhabiting. I wanted to change some of the locks around so that my wife and I would have access to the house through both the front and back doors while adding a different lock to the third door so that the brother-in-law wouldn’t have to worry about his privacy. I happened to have an old doorknob/deadbolt set that I put up on the “guest room”. I then took the recently removed locks from the guest room and was installing them in the living room, which would make it so that the front and back doors were keyed the same. That way if the back gate didn’t open the wife and I would be able to enter through the front door instead of the guest room. Midway through that process I had forgotten which doorknob was which and had my wife bring me her keys so that I could check. It turns out that neither one of us had a key to the doorknob that used to be in the living room, nor did either of us have a key to the doorknob that used to be on the guest room. I guess, then, that it is pretty good that we are both so forgetfull about our keys that we never lock a knob before we close the door; You have to have a key to lock the bolt and that is how we lock up the house whenever we leave.

The result of all of this is that now my wife and myself have a key that will open the front door and the back door, my brother-in-law now has a key that will open the door that goes directly outside from his room, and if we ever lock a doorknob we are all fucked. The only doorknob in the house that matches the key to the deadbolt, on the same door, is the one that I put into the guest bedroom yesterday. I briefly thought about changing all of the locks when I found the problem but two things popped immediately into mind. The first is that I have lived here for a few years and I don’t know what key does what, so how could anyone trying to break in, even if they had the keys, figure it out wihout being noticed. The second is that lock sets really cost a lot of money, not the type of thing I am willing to spend just to add a visitor to the house.

Then there was the issue with the interior door. The door that had previously separated the “guest room” from the rest of the house was a weird, wooden, luovered kind of closet door thing. It gave no privacy at all, added to the fact that, even when locked, my dogs could open it up with a couple of head-butts. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any other doors in the shed the correct width to fit that space, but, the closet door in the same room was exactly the same width. I set to work trying to swap the louvered door for the real door at about noon on Sunday. After an hour or so of trying, I was able to make the real door fit in the space that was previously occupied by the louvered door. I then put a lock on the door (doorknob) that had only a single key, if he dies in there before he gets us copies of the keys I will feel a bit sorry for him. Also, this is probably the most freedom he has ever had. If he locks both of the doors he will not be disturbed, unless, of course, we are concerned for his health, at that point we might dig out the keys to that room and make sure that he is not just dead, that should probably seem to be quite a small price considering his previous accomodations.

This will all have been rhetoric until the brother-in-law makes good with his promise of saving money for an apartment. No one can ever know how sincere the person was with their statements until it has all come down. I certainly hope that he was being truthful about trying to get into an apartment, family love/respect can only last so long.

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