Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Jim Wins at Golf

Warning:  this story has almost nothing to do with golf.

My wife and I exchange gifts on our anniversary.   After three decades, it is sometimes difficult to come up with something original, so I appreciate a suggestion.   This year’s suggestion was surprising, a household item, the Vitamix 5200 Blender Super Package.  Okay then, ordered it from Costco On-Line. 

The package arrived late on a Friday night.  I picked it up (it was quite heavy) and stuck it in the closet in our office.  I shut the door and promptly forgot about it.  I had also ordered something from my wife’s Amazon wish list, and today I decided to ‘hide’ it where I hide stuff, which is in the closet in our office.  It’s not a good hiding place, but it’s not like this is a surprise anyway.

When I went to open the door, which opens inward, I couldn’t.  There is one of those plastic gadgets you can use to child-proof a closet (in our case the child is a 22 pound Maine Coon) and I depressed that.  Still couldn’t open the door.  I removed the device entirely.  Still couldn’t open the door.

Somehow, the box for the blender package was blocking the door, and I could not move it by pushing on the door.  I must have, in my haste, put it too close to the door, or placed it somewhere precarious, and something shifted.  We’ve been having earthquakes in Texas, but they are not the kind that move objects.  This was a problem.  The closet contains, among other things, our security system control panel, all of my photography equipment, all the software that we have in permanent physical form (as opposed to downloads), a useless manual typewriter, and some irreplaceable old documents, and everyday work items such as secure envelopes, printer cartridges, paper for the printer, etc. And a whole bunch of cat toys, which is why the Maine Coon wants in there.  There was no way to open that door other than cutting through the wall, or cutting through from the ceiling, or getting my friend Andy, who used to play offensive line for the Cowboys, and later the Bears, come over and smash it.

So, I tried to think, could I somehow move that thing.  I wasn’t really sure what was blocking the door (later found it was the blender package) and I really couldn’t budge it at all.  I first tried (talk about stupid) using my iPad.  This worked in that it fit under the door, and I moved the box slightly, and could open the door just a tiny amount, maybe a sixteenth of an inch.  But using an iPad as a sledgehammer is not really all that great an idea.  I tried a letter opener, a sturdy metal one, and at least by stabbing the box with it I released some of my frustration.  I tried lying on my back and pushing against the door with my feet, figuring my legs are the biggest muscles in my body.  I could have broken the door doing that, but not open it.

My next idea was one of the things my father always used to find things or sometimes to fix things.  He would use a golf club.  If something falls behind a refrigerator, for example, there’s nothing better than a blade putter to drag it out.  Can’t use one of those bloated boxy things you see some of the pros use.  I went out to the garage to get a putter, and found two of them in my bag.  The last time I played golf was in Hawaii, on Maui, for my 55th birthday, and I brought a few extra things so my Dad could play without having to bring his clubs, and among them was an extra putter.  Both were blade style putters.

I was able to get the putter under the door, and pushing as hard as I could, I could move the box maybe another sixteenth of an inch.  I had sweat pouring down so badly I had to towel off constantly.  We keep our house at 78F during the day, which is okay for sedentary tasks, but for this involuntary full-body workout it was too damned hot.

I kept thinking I needed some leverage, some way to shove the box from left to right to get it away from the door’s edge.  I tried both putters.  I bent a clothes hanger and tried to use it to catch the end of the box, but the space available was so small it was impossible.  Plus, the package was 20 pounds, although I didn't really know what was blocking the door. 

My wife came home from running errands and she was impressed with the predicament I was in.  She ran out to the garage and came back with a large crowbar, with which I definitely could have destroyed the door, even without Andy, but would not fit under it.  Then I thought, what about my old sabers from Xavier High School.  Do we even have them?  Well, we do, but I don’t think we will for long.  They have not done well since I last used them in 1966.  I could do nothing with them.

At this point I could push the door open a bit at the top, and got a flashlight to see what the hell was going on.  I saw the box, and behind it another box containing some old electronics, and behind that the blasted old manual typewriter.  After seeing this, I felt like it was hopeless, and decided to do something else for a while.  So we ran some errands (notably we were running out of Scotch, which I could see being a problem soon) and I took a nap.

I came back to it to try a couple of additional things.  I thought I might be able to drag the box over to the right using our hedge trimmer.  Not plugged in.  It’s fairly heavy, it has lots of teeth to grab on to things, and it would fit under the door.  Well, no luck.  I tried a couple of different loppers (branch cutters) thinking they might grab on to the box.  No luck. 

Then I started thinking, I might try to reach past the box and move what was behind it.  I could feel, using the putter, where the back end of the box was, and then push against what was there.  After doing that a few times as hard as I could, it moved a tiny amount.  But the putter was too short.  I needed one of those long putters like Adam Scott uses, the ones that are about to be banned by the USGA and R&A.  Instead I went back to the garage and got a three iron. 

The three iron would just barely fit under the door, and could reach whatever was back there, and I could shove it around, but I couldn’t open the door.

In desperation, to avoid using explosives on my closet, which would be a violation in Richardson TX, I decided to try pushing on the other side of the box.  I had been pushing on the left side (as I looked at it) and now fumbled around with the putter and pushed on the right side.  I felt like it was not resisting as much.  I pushed again, as hard as I could (which wasn’t hard because I was by now pretty damn tired) and it seemed to be moving.  I got to my feet and tried the door one more time, with a mighty shove.

It opened.

I let go of a pretty loud scream.  My wife asked if I had hurt myself.  I replied that the door was open.  Brute force always wins.

I gave her the present early.  I’ll let her deal with where to store it.

It was my best golf day in years.

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