Living At The Beach Is Not Always Fun In The Sun

It’s Not All Beachy When Something Breaks At A Beach House

Hermosa Beach Strand beach houses
Beach houses are a great place to live, even with their quirks.

Not every day at the beach is, well, a day at the beach.

Sometimes, those of us fortunate to live by the sand and water have normal issues like everyone else, things that break and need to be fixed just like any other place on the planet.

Take today for instance. I came back from a run and was locked out of the house. No, I did not forget my keys, but the lock on the door would not work. The knob turned but the door remained locked.

I managed to get inside by prying open a door through another entrance and went to see if I could figure out why the other lock did not work.  Some of these old beach town houses are pretty worn down, you see, by both weather and neglect.

Now let it be stated here that I am not very mechanical. I once had a girlfriend who asked my father, “how could you let your son out of the house without him being able to fix anything!? Whenever something breaks, I’m the one who fixes it.”

Indeed she did, too; whenever I picked up a screwdriver or a hammer she would come running over and grab it out of my hand, and then proceeded to make loud noises with that device while making a repair. While she did this, I made margaritas.

It was the perfect arrangement and you can indeed criticize me for not realizing what I had when I had it.

And so, the gal was not here on this day and I looked curiously at the doorknob. Surely it can’t be too hard to fix this thing, I thought, so I unscrewed the two screws.

Then I noticed the problem; the locking mechanism – the little metal part that goes in and out of the door frame mount when you turn the key – was stuck. I could not get it to budge. I was proud of myself that I had found the problem but frustrated that I  could not actually fix it.

So I went to the local hardware store and bought an exact replica lock for 20 bucks. On my way out I asked if it was easy to install. “It depends,” the guy deadpanned, “if you can use a screwdriver.”

Okay, but herein lies the problem. The people who make these mechanical things always add in one or two little quirks that make it frustrating for anyone who is not mechanical to get it to work.

In this case, it was with getting the two sides of the knobs to line up; they have to be in EXACTLY the right position, yet there are no arrows indicating which way they go, so you’re left twisting, turning, cussing and taking a beer break before you suddenly chance upon it.

Once I got this together and the lock reassembled, the door would not shut. The little device kept banging against the door frame. After a few “what the ???” moments, I realized I had put the darned thing in upside down.

Again, there were no arrows or instructions indicating it needed to be installed in a particular direction. Mechanical people, I assume, just somehow know these things.

So I had to start all over again, including spending another half an hour twisting the knobs to get them lined up correctly.

I don’t know the point in all this except to say that when you live in an old beach house, things  break fairly frequently and it’s a frustrating experience to fix them if you are not mechanically savvy.

Or you no longer have a girlfriend willing to fix something anytime it breaks so you can get back to making margaritas.