Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Key Saga Continues...

After our last key fiasco with involving the storm drain (see previous post), I thought that surely our issues with the door were finished, I mean what else could possibly go wrong?  I suppose we should never assume that we are in the clear, because just when you start to get comfortable, another disaster ensues, just like what happened last night.  The door and key drama continues…

Once again, the evening started off as perfectly normal, with us preparing to leave the apartment and go see the movie Salt at the theater.  Unfortunately, our door had other ideas.  When we went to lock the door, we turned the key once, but then it got stuck, so we tried to turn it back and had to pull really hard to get it out.  Then, when it did come out, we couldn’t get it back in.  Now, I don’t know if you remember, but this is the door that doesn’t open unless you can get the key in (I’m prepared to have a few words with whoever came up with that idea), so once again we find ourselves locked out of our apartment with all three sets of keys.

After a few minutes of trying to coax the lock into submission, it became clear that we were either going to have to get some help from someone, or be spending the night on the stairwell outside the apartment. 

Brie went down to the lock place down the street (we all became very familiar with this place) to try and get some help.  Turns out, the place only makes copies of keys, they aren’t actually locksmiths.  But, through some hand motions and using the little Italian she knows, Brie was able to explain the problem and they called the locksmith for us.

Fifteen minutes later, a guy shows up with a toolbox and walks up to inspect our door.  Of course, he doesn’t speak any English.  He takes a look at the lock, tries the key a few times (come on, guy, don’t you think we would have tried that already) and then proceeds to bring out the heavy artillery: lock picks.  After a lot of poking around and some muttering of Italian under his breath, he basically explains to us, in what little we can understand, that our lock is broken and he can’t really fix it quickly. 

He then wants to know about our school so that he can know who is going to be able to pay for the extensive work that evidently has to be done on our door.  When we call our advisor, she is able to translate for us and says that he will have to cut the whole lock off with a saw and replace it, at a cost of 200 Euros.  We don’t really have any choice at this point, so we just tell him to go ahead and do it. 

Of course fate would have it that even when he tries to go about using a saw on the door, he can’t do that because there are absolutely no plugs in the hall for him to use.  Also, every single neighbor in the apartment is conveniently out, so we can’t use one of theirs either.  Now we’re thinking that we’re really stuck – we can’t even saw our way into our apartment.

But, this guy wasn’t going to give up that easily, he was determined to get us into the apartment.  We started eyeing the different windows around the apartment to see if we could break in through any of them.  We’re on the second floor, and knew that we had locked all of our outside windows (of course), but then I thought of a small window that is just above the door going into the hallway that enters into the loft of the apartment.  The latch on that window is loose, so it shouldn’t be hard to open if we could get up to it, all we need is a ladder.  The locksmith goes searching up and down the street for anyone who might have one, but comes back unsuccessful, so he resorts to plan B.  He drives back to his workshop and get his ladder to bring back to us. 

Another 15 minutes go by (we’ve been locked out for an hour and a half at this point) and our favorite locksmith comes back, ladder in hand, ready to break into our apartment. 

He sets the ladder up and climbs to the window.  After a few pushes, the window opens and he disconnects the hinges to make room for a person.  We thought that maybe he was going to have one of us go through since we are a bit smaller and could maybe manage better, but before we knew it he was through the window, head first, with just his feet sticking through. 

There were a couple minutes of waiting where I wondered, this is a little weird, a man is in our apartment and we are locked out – he could be doing anything in there.  But then we heard something on the other side of the door and the door swings open with him grinning on the other side.

After a quick adjustment with a jackhammer (not a delicate matter that actually made me glad that there wasn’t anyone else in the building) he closed the door and it opened and shut perfectly.  Turns out that this whole time the issue was that the lock was out of alignment and after a few swings of the hammer, it was fixed and now works perfectly smoothly.  He even greased it with some of our olive oil (the WD40 of Italy) and now it’s as smooth as butter.

We were still left with a 120 Euro bill for his time, but really seems to be a small price to pay to have a working door now.  I actually enjoy opening and closing the lock now, no more struggling to turn the key and shaking the door to get it to open.  Let’s hope that this is the solution we have been waiting for, I don’t really want to have to deal with any more key problems.  

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