When my son moved out, the entire second of my house became a place I rarely explored.
No need to make sure there was no food or dishes, strange new pets or anything growing or dead in his bedroom.
The game room was deserted too. An occasional girls’ night was the only time I ever went in there, and that was the only place I went up there.
The house was a foreclosure so I got a great deal on it, but it’s about the same age as me. In this house, I (personally) have painted, helped lay tile, fixed or attempted to fix plumbing (toilets…all three, kitchen sink…several times, washer/dryer), help to remove squirrels both dead and newborn, replaced locks and even doors, killed insects…lot of spiders, and much more.
I came home one day to two wasps flying around downstairs. I’d seen lots of insects in my house but never wasps. How did they get in?
After exploring the entire house, I discovered that the window in my son’s room was down at the top. One window pane comes up and the other goes down, and they meet and lock in the center. Well, the lock was missing so the pane that comes down was down, and wasps were flying in. There was even a nest in the corner of the window and in the light fixtures in the room.
I searched the room trying to find a stick long enough to hold the pane up.
I found a ruler-two short, a board- two long, a bat-two long, an umbrella-two long. Eventually, I ventured over to the game room and returned with a pool stick that I could take apart. One end was two short and the other was perfect. I stuck one end in the hole where the lock was supposed to be and the other end at the top of the window. I gave the window a nice tug, and it didn’t come down. A little, um ghetto, but hey, my window wasn’t coming down.
A couple of days later, I checked on it and the stick had slipped.
The window was back down. I slid the stick back in place, and it was good for a few more days. For two months, I did this. I figured I’d replace the old windows in that room and in my entire house eventually, but in the meantime this would work because I was certain I couldn’t find the weird lock I needed for that old window.
So one day on my (occasional) morning walk, I returned home and couldn’t get in.
Was I locked out? Nope. I had tried to open my storm door, and the handle came off. And after thirty minutes of trying, I couldn’t get in the door. The handle had been lose and even fallen off before (when I was in the house and someone else was coming in), but I just stuck it back on. Didn’t take the time to tighten it securely…really fix it.
So I was stuck outside. Hot, tired, and hungry.
When my cousin who, luckily, was coming to visit me anyway came over an hour later (by the way I got in another two miles of walking while I waited), he used pliers to turn the “handle” and get me in. He also did something I should have already done. He took the time to tighten the handle.
Here’s how the story connects.
Since he was being handy, I asked him to look at the window upstairs and give me his thoughts on what I could do because I was tired of letting it up every couple of days. He said they sold the lock I needed at Home Depot (well, is that right?) and he’d get me one and fix the window. I felt dumb for thinking the lock type was too old…well my home inspector when I bought my house had actually told me that they didn’t make locks for some of my other windows any more so I assumed they were all outdated. So let’s just say it’s his fault.
I went to Home Depot myself. Obviously, the lock is rare because it was hard to find even with help. But I bought the $3 lockset, pulled out my power drill, and replaced the lock in five minutes.
A $3 and 5-minute fix.
So just maybe that quick fix (and the quick fix with my door) cost me much more than the real fix.
Oh, this is another post I wrote about fixing things. This one is about relationships, but it applies to everything.
I’m Summer Owens, and my passion is helping youth and young adults realize success no matter what obstacles they face. As an international resilience and leadership keynote speaker, author, S.O. What! Success Coach, and creator of the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum, I empower people to say, “So what!” to even their greatest challenges. provide a framework to help people see past their challenges and focus on solutions using the S.O. What! Success System (Overcome Obstacles + Eliminate Excuses + Calculate Choices = S.O. What! Success). Through keynotes, workshops, books, online courses, and workbooks, I use life’s challenges and my own story of resilience as a rape survivor and teen mom success story to help others confidently pursue their dreams.
Looking for an inspiring college motivational speaker? A high school literacy curriculum? A middle school life skills workbook? A great example for teen mothers? A women’s empowerment or single mother’s conference speaker? I’m your girl and will help any audience say, “S.O. What!”.