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Irony is a bitch. For 25 years in this house, we ‘ve had a perfectly useable front door. And yet, we didn’t use it. Oh, people (usually the kids’ friends in need of solace, food, or a crash pad) positively streamed through the side door (always unlocked) or even occasionally a basement window (they could only do this when drunk)  but I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually opened the front door to welcome anyone in. Until now. Now we have delightful neighbors (including a dog) that appear on a regular basis. Sometimes the dog bolts across the street on her own to see us and the people follow. The problem is, our door is now broken. The lock doesn’t work at all and, given the DIY ability of everyone in this house (sorry Crazy D, but facts are facts), I am waiting on a handyman to replace the lock. He comes this week. Until then, I peer through the front window when I hear the bell, point towards the back door — which is, in the nice weather, open and secured haphazardly with an insecure, also half-broken, screen door.

In truth, not using the front door acted as a natural selection process . . .as we didn’t expect anyone we knew to choose the front door as an access. They knew better. Thus it automatically targeted the intruders as salespeople, ne’er-do-wells, and people asking for money. Although, sometimes the last two categories were also people we knew. No matter. We had this ‘early warning system’ and simply didn’t open the door. But by tomorrow, the front door will again be ready for use and we will again not use it.

I informed Gill that we will soon have a new door lock — and I’d have a new key made for her so she won’t be locked out at Christmas..

“Ma, I haven’t had a key to the house since I was 10. Why start now?”

“What do you mean you don’t have a key? I’m always having keys made…what do you do with them?”

“Uh, I don’t know. Lose them?”

“Oh, for heaven’s sake. If I were a vindictive mother, I might ‘forget’ to have a new one made for you.”

“Not your style, Ma. Way too obvious…you’ll wait until I come home drunk one night and make me crawl through the window well.”

“Hmm…am I that obvious?”

The lock is but one of the many things that have broken recently. The central vac, on its death bed anyway, was put out of its misery (and mine) after the bedbug incident. L’il Sis had nightmares about the little fellas breeding in the hose and coming out to attack at night. She ordered the hose out. She didn’t have to make much of a scene to convince me. So, after a ‘slight’ refurb (to the tune of $500) of hoses, wall plugs and a private lesson to show me how the new, improved version worked, I was totally confused. I confess it was easier when it didn’t work. And, given my attitude toward housework, I cannot guarantee the house will be any cleaner than before. I feel I should apologize to the poor scavenger who picked the old hose out of the garbage on pick-up day. Buyers beware! You get what you pay for. No extra charge for the bedbugs.

Then the hatch on the back end of the car broke. Awkward, since all we seem to haul around is huge bags of birdseed, soil, dogfood, mulch, rice (when Gill is is town and feeling Crohnsy)…oh, and dogs. Lots of dogs. No way are they going on the seats. Well, sometimes The Pig does like to ride shotgun. And since she tends to be better at remembering things and reading maps than the rest of the crew, I let her. Besides, she looks so cute with her head and sad face peering over the dash, I know she’ll keep me from getting speeding tickets. It wouldn’t surprise me, being as willful and manipulative as she is, if she’s able to cry on cue for the nice police man.

I have had an ongoing problem with my outside bird feeders…as in, the squirrels were eating; the birds got nothing. Then I happened upon a wonderful product called the ‘Squirrel Buster’. My original and misdirected enthusiasm for, if you’ll excuse me, ‘busting some squirrel balls’ was corrected by the store clerk. He looked pale when I made my comment and explained that it simply foiled their attempts to steal seed, didn’t rid them of the ability to procreate. Pity. Oh, well, I took the feeder home, expecting my squirrel problem to go away. It worked beautifully — until the pesky rodents broke it. Resisting the urge to say ‘to hell with it’ and throw it out, I returned to the store and asked if it could be fixed. Miracle of miracles, it could be! And it was  . . . by the kind man in the store who has fixed many things for me over the years. Free of charge. I love living in a relatively small place where you get to know people and count on people to help out of the goodness of their hearts. Okay, it’s also good business practice.

And so, I look forward to this week when my house will run along tickety-boo. I figure I’ve got 7 days before everything else blows up.

Now the only broken thing left to fix (until tomorrow when something else is sure to break) is the downspout for the eaves. The industrious little colony of chipmunks that scampers across my deck and through my trees and garden has done some early construction work on their winter abode. Piles of maple keys get flushed down the drains during every heavy rainfall. I’m about to be the cruel landlord with the eviction notice in one hand, the heavy duty hose in another. I hope they have paddles or small rafts. On second thought, perhaps I don’t. It doesn’t seem fair that I should be the only one going down in a leaky, broken, yet metaphorical boat.