Monday, June 24th 2013
This Fortress Needs a Trash Chute

I knew I should have replaced the lock with the little key on the back gate with a combination lock. Really. I knew better.

But it had worked okay for 6 months. Little key in the house, Ethan-13yr picks it up and takes it when he takes out the trash, comes back, hangs up the little key. It used to have a cute boxing glove keychain that HolyCousin gave me but that fell off a few months back. And so it was just a little silver key.

Until it wasn’t there one day.

And he sorta thinks um, maybe, he threw it in the dumpster last time. Which has certainly been emptied since ‘last time.’

It instantly occurred to me that this was a typical 13 year old kind of dilemma and I tried not to show that I found it somewhat endearing.

“Huh. What do you think you should do?”

He went out to the backyard and looked everywhere for a key on the ground. Then he asked Caden-9yr to help. Caden-9yr is my “I can find ANYTHING” child. It’s AMAZING, his talent.

So thorough is his talent that when they came back in and said it wasn’t out there, I believed them fully. If CADEN-9YR says something is not there…? It’s truly not there. Don’t bother looking. He woulda found it with his eyes closed in two seconds if it were anywhere in that giant backyard. He said it’s gone? He is the ultimate authority on lost and found items. I do not question it. I recognize the God-given bizarre superpower he has for visual observation challenges of any and all varieties and gladly let it benefit this family ALL the time.

Once when he was three years old, I was facing away from him, and was mildly upset about something but trying not to show it. He instantly asked me what was wrong. He’d seen a flicker of something on my face in the reflection of the black, blank television screen.

NOTHING gets past that child. Not an emotion. Not a reflection of a passing emotion even when my back is turned. Not a lost silver gate key.

And back to that silver gate key…. I asked Ethan-13yr how he would take out the trash without the use of the gate.

He ran out to the fence, climbed it, asked a brother to toss over the trash, put it in the dumpster, and then realized he couldn’t get back over the fence. I stayed in the house so no one would see how adorable I thought this was. ¬†Three boys problem solving and yelling and running around and acting like it was really kinda urgent and it was just SO stinking cute.¬†

I went out and asked Ethan-13yr how he planned to return home to us. (okay, I put on a dramatic quivery voice for my own entertainment). He sighed and said he guess he’d walk down the alley and come around the front. I told him I loved him and wished him farewell. We live in the middle of the block. So it’s a decent walk.

I thought about getting him a cell phone to take.

And then I thought about how weird that was. I used to have free reign over a large subdivision as a kid. I had just a bike, and friends, and miles and miles of hilly wide roads to traverse and explore and wooded, brushy areas to disappear into for hours at a time. (i loved to do that when no one could play.) The best part about it was NO ONE in the world could possibly know where I was for those hours. No one even knew about those places. I’d take a book and stay as long as possible. Or dig in the dirt for bugs. Or do whatever else I could think of for as long as possible. A cell phone or GPS pinging thing would have ruined the entire mystique. Not that we had them then, but STILL. It was a kind of freedom my kids will probably never know. Not with a mama like me.

How did I get to be the mom who wanted to give her TEENAGER a cell phone to walk halfway around the block…?! Could it really be that I trust the little girl I used to be far more than the young men i am raising? How strange.

When Ethan-13yr finally came back home, I was standing on the porch wild eyed and saying, “I WAS ABOUT TO COME AFTER YOU, YOU TOOK FOREVER.”

I am not proud of that.

My mother arrived at that moment, and if she thought anything about that, she wisely didn’t say anything.

She was making a triumphant entrance to regale us with the details of her fantastic success with an endeavor that had pitted her against a city government entity. (way to go, Mom!)

So. After she left I took the kids for half price milkshakes – and then raced back home because Caden-9yr’s did NOT agree with him and that’s all I’ll say, WOW- and then we went to Lowe’s for bolt cutters. To cut off the lock.

I mean, right? That’s the next step? UGH.

The guy assured me any of the bolt cutters would work.

I bought the Kobalt 14″ ones and went home to try them. (no i did NOT entrust this task to Ethan-13yr, are you kidding me?! His ten baby fingers are precious and he needs them ALL and he doesn’t ever EVER need to touch my new bolt cutters, and yes I told them all that. Gone was my, “it’s your problem what’s your solution?” approach. It was gone as soon as there were blades involved.)

The Kobalt 14″s didn’t work. They made a tiny hairline dent.

I went inside and looked up how to adjust the tension on them. Learned what an ‘eccentricity bolt’ was and what to do with it. Tried forever. Texted my dad to tell him about the issue and how it came to be and ask for advice.

My dad was all, “WHAT? Get bigger bolt cutters. Get BIG bolt cutters. And even then it isn’t going to be easy.”

Oh. Hmm.

They’re $50, the big ones! That’s why I didn’t get them in the first place.

Somewhere around this point i realized that I no longer found this endearing or cute or adorable and I really need the stupid gate lock issue fixed so the trash can be taken out without me wondering the rules for issuing an Amber Alert on my children for having to take the alley.

In the front yard, I messed up the water hose switch off thingy. And then I thought I had everything i needed to fix it and then i MOWED OVER some of the relevant metal pieces. And that’s a problem too. (partly because that hurt a LOT when the mangled metal flew out at my legs, and partly because the grass will need to get watered and I am not sure how that’s gonna happen now.)


I need to teach the 13yr old how to mow. But that’ll be difficult because I hate to give that job up.

I need to let the kids slightly out of the nest without freaking out.

And definitely least importantly, I need to figure out the bolt cutters and the metal hose thingy.


Maybe I could go sit in the dirt for awhile without a cell phone and think it all through. Oh, that sounds so nice.


5 Comments on “This Fortress Needs a Trash Chute”

June 24th, 2013
2:56 pm

So many fond memories of wooded, brushy areas to disappear into for hours at a time. There was magic in them there woods. :)
Tracy recently posted..The Science of Happy

June 24th, 2013
4:58 pm

Your childhood adventures sound like mine, and like our own children’s. Living in a wooded area, our kids had plenty of room to roam, and the boys even built a little log cabin somewhere on the railroad easement. How sad that that way of living seems so dangerous now.
Jan recently posted..Update: Trim Healthy Mama

June 24th, 2013
5:57 pm

Surely there’s a handy guy in your acquaintance who could loan you some bolt cutters? The landlord might have some or know someone.

Holly MiMi
June 24th, 2013
7:50 pm

Have you checked YouTube for a bolt cutter demonstration? Maybe Eth could mow the back & you could mow the front.

June 24th, 2013
9:09 pm

there probably still is. And ticks.

Oh how fun!! I didn’t have log cabin skills. But am still jealous.

ASK A MAN?!?! Eeeewwwww!!!!


No!! I should. I checked for bolt cutter tension adjustment stuff but not how to use. I will. : )

Leave a comment

CommentLuv badge