Home Island Life The Open and Shut Case of the Stubborn Man

The Open and Shut Case of the Stubborn Man

The Open and Shut Case of the Stubborn Man

Boz, a proponent of the open door policy

In case you are unaware, men have fragile egos. (Please keep this under wraps or else I’ll be booted out of the club.) As slightly evolved hunters and gatherers, we like to call the shots and be right most (nah, make that all) of the time. Thank goodness for GPS; now we really don’t have to ask for directions and can still be right.

That said, I had a recent “discussion” with my friend and on-island Annie Oakley, Tamara, a woman who can hunt, fish, cook, play a mandolin and build a chicken coop. Resourceful she is, shrinking violet she is not.

Several days ago, I helped (make that forced) my back porch and most-used door into place. After hearing an unusual click, I discovered the doorknob would not turn. The shut door was now a barrier, blocking Boz, Gracie and yours truly from our favorite escape route. Unfortunately, there is neither a key to the door nor access to the locking mechanism.  I tried everything to free it, but the doorknob was frozen in place and not giving a inch (much like me in the debate to follow). Did I mention we have no locksmith on the island?

The door before Tamara McFixit entered

That evening Tamara dropped by and bounded up the stairs to the door that normally allows her entrance without the inconvenience of having to knock or ring of the bell. She tugged, pushed, and rattled the doorknob. I yelled from the kitchen, “Come in through the front door.” Within seconds of explaining my closed-door dilemma, Tamara, said “Oh that would be easy to fix.” As she started reciting fifty ways to release the lever, I stopped her, “Tamara, I’ve tried everything, so don’t worry about it. I’m going to try to find a skeleton key.” She smiled, and continued to tell me how she could fix it. (I feared one of her plans may have included a saw-all and dynamite.)

For a quick distraction, I changed the subject to dog care, and reconfirmed with Tamara that she would drop by on Saturday to feed, water and walk Boz and Gracie as I was going to be in Seattle that evening.

Saturday night, I returned late only to have my truck’s headlights illuminate Miss Tamara’s handiwork (and unflinching tenacity). The back porch door was wide open and held in place by a brick. (Nice touch, Tamara.) I couldn’t decide what was worse, having a blocked entrance or having to say, “Yes, Tamara, you were right and I was wrong.” There would also be the indignity of having to repeat that line over and over again in the presence of friends and strangers with Tamara supervising the finer points of the story.

To add insult to injury, Tamara left a handwritten progress report of the day’s activities, including a no-poop entry for Boz. (Oh the indignity, Boz.) Notice the 3:00 – 3:45 time slot. Congratulatory, but not giving an inch, I said, “Nice work Tamara, but I guess the door really wasn’t so easy to fix; so it took you 45 minutes to free it from the jam, huh?”

She replied, “What are you talking about?  I fixed the door in ten minutes, and could have fixed it in five if I had another set of hands available. The rest of the time I spent hanging out with the dogs and prodding Boz to get with it and do his thing.” (Ouch, that hurt. Boz concurs.)

The only thing that made the conversation bearable was my closing inquiry, “So Tamara, when would you like me to come over to set up your new laptop and wireless router?”

I smiled. She smiled.

Ah, a small victory, but a victory nonetheless. No doubt if I asked Tamara, she would qualify it as a draw.

Okay, this may kill me Tamara, but thank you for fixing my door. Boz on the other hand has not forgiven you for the insensitivity of your earlier remark.


  1. Your orchard story touched me deeply. Once, long ago, my mother-in-law sprayed Round-Up on her vegetable garden instead of fertilizer …

  2. Renae — agreed, especially if she brings her toolbox and some cider.

    Brooks, oh my gosh, that is heartbreaking, trust me I feel her pain.

    Ina, no doubt Tamara would heartily agree and I’m sure she will weigh in shortly.

  3. Love it … all of it. Tamara is the best kind of friend, as I’m sure are you, Tom. We all have our strengths … or as Mr. GFE and I call them, ARs (areas of responsibility). True.


  4. AHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!! LOL this post made me laugh! ‘I’m always right, even when I’m wrong’ is my husband’s favourite thing to say…

  5. Too funny! Tamara sounds like a treasure, and you are pure platinum of the finest. Vive la difference! PS – Boz might need some of the spicy bean cake I made on the weekend. LOL

  6. Is this my fifteen minutes of fame that Andy Warhol talked about? I feel fabulously famous. Maybe I could get a slot on Oprah’s new show? “Annie Oakley’s Alternative Alterations: Mechanical or mental”. Thanks for the airtime Tom! or should I say text time?

  7. Tamara – Tom makes everyone feel that way. He should hire himself out just to stand around. He rasies the barametric pressure wherever he goes…not to diminish you’re apparently telekinetic abilities.

  8. Loved this post! I need a Tamara next door to me (she even walks the dogs!). And as for Boz (this works for me), I have to loudly and sternly say, “Go, Go!” over and over to my Pipi (especially if it’s rainy, windy, snowy, and sometimes even sunny). It is usually, but not always, successful.

  9. Still laughing after reading this post. {Sorry} Good for Tamara. But then I would not have expected less from “a woman who can hunt, fish, cook, play a mandolin and build a chicken coop”! I’m sure she will also appreciate your help with the wireless router. Good thing you have a sterling sense of humor. Good thing your door is open now too. The question is: can you close it or will it relock?

  10. Brion, some folks would change that to raise people’s blood pressure. 😉 Thanks for the compliment! That was a compliment, right? 😉

  11. Back door? Is that shiplap that I spy through the window? If so, does that mean you finished your mud porch project? If so, have you put any oyster shells up as moulding? Just as an update, I wrote a while back about chickens – mine are set to go into the new coop on Monday!

  12. Karen, drat I’ve been caught. No that is the same shiplap I exposed three months ago and haven’t done a thing to since. Bad Tom, bad.

    The gravity of other projects (read distractions) has pulled me off the back porch and left its progress idle, stuck in neutral, parked. Now summer is officially here, and I have no excuse but to scrub it down and get patching, plumbing, and painting post haste. Or I could just wait for my sister to visit, and share the joy of home improvement with her… Bawaaah…aaaahahhhh!

  13. What a nightmare! We just remodelled our kitchen and what happened the first week? We somehow managed to jam a breadknife in a drawer in such a way that it could not be opened more than about an inch and a half! Horror. Thank god that we’ve friends like your Tamara: ours are Ken and Karen–yes it took two sets of hands, but they fixed it! I’m so thrilled! Now it’s only cloth napkins for that particular drawer.


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