Round Don't Fit Square

Construction Stories Excerpt

(cross DL to toolbag, get out lock pieces, start installing lock into door)

There are three kinds of lock knobsets, cylindrical, tubular and mortise. Locksets are classified by method of installation. Mortise is the most difficult. She'd left me long before I saw what was happening. I figured if she just helped more with the dishes, the vacuuming, the tidying up, that that would bring her back, tie her in to the past, the future, the present. Round holes are for your knobset and latch. Square for the strike plate and latchface. Precision is essential when installing a lockset. Every piece has a purpose. Each piece has a place.

Well, I guess she really didn't leave me at all. Just dug so deep far down inside herself, I couldn't find her.

If replacing an old mortise type lock, plain or decorative excussion plates can be used to cover, conceal or hide any ugly or damaged marks or holes.

My heart - I insist I look back. 17 years. I insist I remember.

Changing a lock and knobset is a simple operation if you follow the instructions supplied by the manufacturer. One set screw missing. Door dropped down and scraping. Old hole 3/4" off of where new hole needs to be. Bit dull.

Bitterness and blame. Desperate battles over everything that doesn't matter. Disappointment so old even our iron looks tired. And at night, each of us coming home, the touch of the front doorknob turning our pleasure to pain, and then to rage. Who were we so looking forward to seeing? Who were we mad at?

If you wish to reuse an old mortise elsewhere, be careful to not spill out its contents. Many parts are small and easily lost. Spring placement is crucial.

Hogged up my heart for years. Spread her things out. Took up space. I liked it. Now I search for a different place to put her. To the right, to the left, no, over.... (install strikeplate)

The cylinder is where the key fits in. It is a critical part of any lock installation. All mortise locks have cylinders. If you simply love the cylinder hard enough, it will go in easily. If problems still arise, love harder. Use whatever tools you have available. Homeowners seldom have all the tools necessary for any particular job.

Lover Ex-lover. Lover Ex-lover. For 17 years that other room didn't exist.

To conceive the inconceivable, to imagine what doesn't exist is an important part of any home project. As the work progresses, occasionally step back and notice your surroundings as well as the project's possible successful completion. A lock and a knobset working, their action smooth. The spindle straight, the knob round, the button firm, the latch catching the strikeplate perfectly....every time. Ex-lover...a term of endearment.

MUSIC: Bach Cello Sonata #4 A. Navarra/cello 4:30 (Hang apron on doorknob, adding pliers & pencil. cross DL to DR. Put trowel in backpocket & gloves on. Pick up shovel, rip open mortarbag, shovel concrete in, pour bag of sand -dry mix completely. Add water, wet mix completely. Wheelbarrow CS cutting blue chalkline with barrow's wheeltrack to R of bench. Gloves in backpocket, trowel out. Lay a 3 brick high wall during stories)

Killer Brick Memorial Wall.

Jack. Used to be the foreman long before I got there. Now on the line. Didn't want the stress. Florida sun low in the sky. Early Spring's chilly breezes. l972. l972. For two months the block I lay slipped and tilt. Buttered ends came unbuttered, holes in my joints and those joints unstruck. For two months, bloody lime-eaten fingertips, alone on the line, the 6:30 sun and eight men had no comment. For two months the sun came up long after I did. Hot coffee and lemon meringue pie at 5 a.m. More mud here! Then Jack came from behind, grabbing my wrist, squeezing so tight my heart jumped hard. Jack, 45 and balding. Jack, dead in nine more months of white lung from cutting block. Jack, who knows this. Jack, wrapping his own hand completely around my own big hand. Jack, "This is how you hold a trowel."

(alarm clock rings. I shut it off with trowel.)

Johnson. Old Johnson. Then he was 72, now he'd a been 89. Johnson. Old blue plaid shirt. Old blue bluejeans. Old black leather belt. Shoveling mud, delivering block - 60 tons a day. Hoist and stack. Hoist and stack. The blocks hollow thunk as they hit together. Johnson. A part of the job. Mason tender for 50 years. More mud here! Big fella. No chatter. Grandfather to someone. No smiles. No attitudes. Just Johnson. Only man on the job with a last name. Only dark man I ever saw doing construction in Florida. First day on the job I asked him his first name. Three or four condominiums later he passed by me and said..."Mister."

(Alarm clock rings I shut off with brick)