Published at 6:16AM on the 27th of December, 2012 | Author: Timothy Harding

Repeated Failures

I don't know quite how to begin this. There is so much failure condensed in such a short time there really is no place to begin, save for the beginning. So here it goes! Now that it is spel time in Vanuatu, our school grounds have turned back into a ghost town. To save on money, our generator is only run a few hours each night, as this is all that is needed to recharge the water tower. Well, at this point there is no one around to use it. I don't know if I have made it clear yet, but my life kind of revolves around things that need power, so I volunteered to do some house sitting in Vila. My first stop was another volunteer couple's house, two of the coolest people in Vanuatu. Their house is pretty damn awesome as well, here is the view of the bay from their driveway:

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So this house has a deadbolt, and a doorknob lock (unusual for Vanuatu, normal for America). I approach the door, key in hand from the previous sitter, and I try it first in the doorknob. It goes in easily, turns, and looks to unlock the door. I then use it again in the deadbolt and after a little jiggle, it also opens. I move my 80 pounds of cargo into the house and lock the door and leave. Big mistake. Upon my return I found that the key I was given did not actually unlock the doorknob, it just turned an already unlocked doorknob. So I was locked out, all my stuff was in there, and the owners were in America enjoying pizza, and blocks of cheese, etc... So I had to walk the three miles to the hotel and ended up staying there the night.

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The hotel is behind that shopping center, apparently all owned by the same individual. The next day I set out to find a locksmith. I call every place in town and found there is only one roving locksmith in Vila capable of opening this door. Port Vila Hardware connects my call through to him and I had a typical conversation with an HCN:

"Hello, yes, yu wan laksmeth (locksmith)?" Making sure I had the right person
"Wanem?"
"Help, yes, mi save nid wan laksmeth... Wan man blo laks?" I need a locksmith, you know, a man that does locks
"Wanem? Man blo blaks?" Man that does blocks?

At this point I get a little annoyed. What is your job person? Do you play with blocks all day? Or do you drive a truck around with the word "Lock Smith" on the side!!? I finally get him to understand I am looking for a man that understands the black arts of locks and then he hangs up on me. I guess I was a little too annoyed with him. Another call to Port Vila Hardware and I found out he was too busy to talk and will not be available for another couple days (in local speak: they have no idea when he will be available next). Great. So I call on our two handymen at the PeaceCorps office, one of who installed the doorknob, and solicited their help.

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Well, as you can see they did end up getting me into the house, but it wasn't in the exact way I had hoped. Thankfully the deadbolt was safe and used some proper screws to secure the plate. The doorknob catch on the other hand used some very stubby screws which allowed the wood to splinter as it did and rip apart. I guess I should be thankful those were the screws that were used, but I would have rather just not thought the key worked for both locks. Enter the super glue:

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I decided that I could reattach the pieces, attempting to put lipstick on this pig of a mess, and I went out in search of wood glue. The only stuff I found was in a gallon bucket for over 30 dollars, no sale. The super glue was only $1 for three tubes and looked much better deal for the money. I should have just gotten the wood glue. As I opened one of the tubes it exploded out of the front like a badly shaken beer, and this forced me to just about botch the job. When I finished glueing the pieces I set about nailing them in place. Some rubbish bullet head nails later, lots of super glue, some elmers glue, and two very flas (expensive and awesome) brass screws later the door functions exactly as it did before, and I think, is safer as the door knob catch will not pop out so easily as it did when the handymen strong armed the door. However it does not look so nice:

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Defeated I sit down to continue reading Game of Thrones on my laptop, as someone has stolen book three from the office for many moons now. I get down to the bottom of the page on the right and look what I find:

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Yes, that is some of the super glue that exploded from the tube when I opened it. It must have flown several feet to catch my laptop like this. You know what, I am not even going to try and remove it. Thanks for reading :)
Tags: carpentry, fail, MacBook Pro, rant, super glue
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