Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Damsel in distress (...or; Operation Extraction)

Monday was not a good day. It started off well enough. A trip to the pet shop for cat food, some productive housework, but it went down hill rapidly from there.

First, I put my back out. I have no idea how I did it, but I have a feeling it was whilst reaching for something on a high shelf and simultaneously trying to turn round to find out what antics Gatto was up to. All I know is that suddenly whilst moving round the house things were difficult and painful. Sitting was okay, standing was okay, but anything between the two pretty excruciating. Not good.

But I decided to soldier on, there was washing to be done, and hung, and it was a glorious day. It seemed a shame to waste it.
WRONG! What followed were an unfortunate and hilarious series of events.

I unloaded the washing machine, looked at the sunshine and decided to hang the washing out in the garden. Taking advantage of what might be the last bit of autumnal sunshine of the year.
In order to hang out the washing, I needed to shut Gatto somewhere in the house so that he couldn't make a break for freedom (he's still too little to be outside). Normally I would just shut him in the living room, but for some unknown reason I decided to shut the dining room door instead, giving him the run of the upstairs as well. Rookie error!

So I shut the door. Properly shut it rather than just pushing too. The doors in our house, like the house itself, are old, and stick in their frames. Normally this would be enough to hold a little kitten at bay, but for some reason I got it into my head that the wind might manage to dislodge the door, and Gatto would escape, we'd never find him and I'd be inconsolable. So I pushed the door into the frame, made sure it shut properly and pottered out into the garden with the washing and a smile, knowing that Gatto was safely running about the house with the commonwealth games for company while I enjoyed a bit of fresh air and sunshine.

And all was well. For about twenty minutes, until I came back into the house and discovered that I couldn't get the door open. Nothing I tried worked, force, grumbling, pushing and pulling at the door, getting hysterical with it. Nothing. It just wouldn't budge.

So I looked around in panic. Phone and laptop in the other part of the house. Kitten in other part of the house probably panicking (yeah. right.) and making an attempt to claw his way up the curtains to the slightly ajar window. And me, stuck in the dining room. Then I discovered that the house phone was in it's dock and N's number was (thank goodness) programmed into it. Cue a rather unusual voicemail from a woman trying to sound both sheepish and not at all hysterical. "Hi, it's me, er, could you call me...on the house phone...I have a DIY question. er, as soon as you get this? bye"

Only about five minutes passed before he returned the call, but in that five minutes I'd hammered at the door, rattled the handle, cursed the house and sat in a heap on the floor. (a very painful heap as my back was not enjoying all this sudden activity).

N phoned. I enquired, as calmly as possible, if unscrewing a door handle would allow access to the mechanism in order to spring it open. N replied yes, this might work, and why on earth was I asking such a question, and come to think of it, why was I on the house phone and not my mobile (a number he would have picked up immediately). At this point I think the hysteria really kicked in, as I remember laughing manically whilst trying to explain that I was trapped in the dining room! He asked if I had a screwdriver. Of course I didn't. All the tools were in a room upstairs and I couldn't get to them. It was okay, I'm a resourseful woman, I retorted. I'll use a blunt knife, no problem, I'd be out in mere moments, not to worry, thanks for the advice. He hung up laughing.

I unscrewed the door handle. The lock mechanism fell apart! Panic! What followed were twenty frantic minutes of me trying everything to get the door mechanism working again, using every and any possible tool I could find. (For the record, a nutcracker is a useful tool to have on hand, but won't actually help in the slightlest in this situation, all you end up with is a broken nutcracker!)

N phones back to find out why I haven't texted him with joy at my escape. To which I have to admit to the potentailly broken door handle, and my continued imprisonment. He can't stop laughing. He is laughing and I am alternately laughing and crying.

N has to come home from work in order to let me out of the dining room! I am the laughing stock of his office!

An hour and a half later I am freed from captivity by a very giggly N, who, with the aid of the tools from upstairs, is able, with my help with a pallet knife on the other side, to spring the mechanism, push the door and free his damsel in distress.

damsel |ˈdamzəl|
noun archaic or poetic/literary
a young unmarried woman.
damsel in distress often a humorous young woman in trouble (with the implication that the woman needs to be rescued, as by a prince in a fairy tale).
ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French dameisele, damisele, based on Latin domina ‘mistress.’

I couldn't resist the above definition. I am definitely a humorous young woman! At least I was on Monday when as N opened the door I wasn't able to rush into the arms of my prince, instead I hobbled across the dining room due to my bad back! He laughed harder, so did I and we both had a strong cup of tea before he headed out to the local locksmith to get a new door handle!

Operation Extraction was a success. We watched a western in celebration, and I have promised never to shut a door again, unless I am carrying my phone, laptop, cats and toolbox!

p.s. It goes without saying that Gatto clearly found this whole incident hilarious, especially when his dad appeared home from work in the middle of the day to play with a door. Brilliant!


  1. So funny. Reminds me of the time I was taking the kids for our dental appointments. The dentist asked where my daughter was. I had to say she was locked in the bathroom, waiting for my husband to come home from work to let her out. At least she had a copy of Slimming World magazine to read. (In my defence, it was the only reading matter thin enough to go under the door).

  2. I think I should add that my daughter was about 14 or 15 at the time. And the dentist was just up the road.