Maintenance Came on the Trot

Below is an excerpt from the book Experiences: Life in a Continuing Care Retirement Community,which is a compilation of essays and poetry written and published by residents of Kendal at Longwood.

By Barbara Hallowell

Things go wrong—usually quite unexpectedly.
One autumn night when I gleefully leapt into bed, propped myself against soft pillows and snuggled up with a good book, the world faded into blissful oblivion, a pleasure I anticipated almost daily, sensing it ever more acutely as the clock approaches the appropriate hour for me to retire.

All seemed perfect—except the ball game.
Tom had TV football playing in the far room, thoughtfully
lowered in volume but still loud enough that its distant goings-on and noisy enthusiasm distracted me. I bounced out of bed, gave the bedroom door a solid push, and—and it didn’t go shut. I banged it again, it bounced back at me. I jiggled and twisted the knob, poked and pushed the latch. Then climaxing a truly hearty slam, it closed obediently, though with an unusually determined click. Back to bed, book and bliss.

Eventually the husky, helmeted men who huddle and scurry about on the football field and fall down, only to repeat the whole sequence again, and then again and again, went to their locker rooms. Tom flipped off the TV and headed for bed, but the door into our bedroom refused to open. He jiggled, twisted, poked, pushed and banged while I sat in bed laughing, which was not helpful. The door refused to open. I tried it from my side, without success.

The situation lost its humor. I was locked in, Tom was locked out, the hour was late and that door stood resolutely between us. But there is joy in Kendal when such nighttime problems arise. Just call Westmorland, our nursing station. Westmorland pages Maintenance, and Maintenance comes on the trot. The young man who arrived jiggled, twisted, poked and pushed and banged, but the door continued obstinate.

I heard a low conversation followed by a sound of a different nature. Apparently a tool was working on the door’s Achilles heel, a tiny peg in the knob assembly. The knob loosened, it wobbled, it collapsed, it fell apart.

In those wonderful seconds as I lay propped in bed awaiting the dramatic moment when the door would burst open, the sign of absolute success, it occurred to me, yes, things do go wrong, and as usual, quite unexpectedly. But when, ever again, will I have two handsome men banging on the door to get into my bedroom?

If you’re interested in reading more from Experiences, you can purchase the book by clicking here. All proceeds from the sale of Experiences will be donated to the Kendal at Longwood Reserve Fund.