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When Unexpected Mistakes Happen - Living Remotely

| 1/28/2013 6:14:37 PM

old door knob

I often write of  the virtues of living remotely here in the mountains but occasionally there is a down side too.  For instance recently when we installed a sound bar on our television. Now really, sound bars are easy to install and shouldn’t pose a problem even for someone like myself who is  severely electronically challenged.  When you live 45 miles from the nearest town where supplies can be purchased….well let me start from the beginning.

The new sound bar arrived which we had ordered and I read the instruction book regarding the installation process.  It seemed simple enough so I mounted it to the wall and commenced hooking up the wires. Up to that point everything went just like the directions said they would. I noticed that some dust had accumulated on the back around the cables so I pulled the HDMI cable out of the TV to clean in all those nooks and crannies easier. With the television now clean I went to plug the HDMI cable back in again. Oops, a little problem now as it would not plug in. Close examination revealed the HDMI cable the satellite installer had used was a pretty cheap one and the end came apart when it was pulled out to clean. After a call to the satellite company to find out ONLY a  HDMI cable could be used that meant no television until a proper replacement could be purchased.  A two hour round trip into town for a new $27.00, HDMI cable and we were back in business once again. The happy story doesn’t end there because  as I went to put the information booklet away what did I find? A HDMI cable that initially came with the television still in the cellophane package. It had never been used because the satellite installer had used theirs instead.  I view this as not having to make another panic run into town for a HDMI cable should we ever need one in the future. Ah, life is good.

Or more recently when I went down to my workshop to work on new kitchen cabinets I‘m making. I went to turn the door knob and to my amazement it turned freely without opening the door. I kept turning it, probably thinking it would eventually open the door, which it was not about to do. The tools I needed to remove the broken knob were in the shop where I was initially headed. What to do now? I hunted around and found a large screw driver and an eight pound sledge hammer to use. I carefully forced the screw driver behind the handle mechanism trying not to damage the door in the process. A new door knob is far cheaper than a new door.  All the time I was looking around hoping no one would drive by and see me break into my own house. I had fleeting visions of being spread eagled on the ground having to explain I actually live here and my door knob is broken. Finally the outer door knob broke off and I was able to push the rest of the fixture through the other side of the door. Using the screw driver I was then able to finish getting the door open. Now I had a nice round hole in the door and no door knob to keep the door closed. I borrowed an interior door knob until I could obtain a more appropriate one. This would mean another trip into town for a new door knob and dead bolt.  

I was surprised how easy it was to actually break into our home. We now have a more secure door knob installed. Previously a bear tried to chew the door knob off and left holes in the knob but he couldn’t get it off. From his huge foot prints left on the door he couldn’t push it in either. That is why I mistakenly thought we had a secure door knob but it pried off pretty easily for me. I guess it is a good thing that bears don’t carry around screw drivers and sledge hammers or none of us would be safe in remote country.

Often what seems like an easy job turns out to be a two hour trip to the hardware store when you live remotely. These unexpected disruptions come with living as we do and something that you get very used to.  If that is the only down side to living as we do - and it is - life is good.

For more on Bruce and Carol McElmurray and remote living go to:   


4/24/2013 2:31:01 PM

We live 300kilos from the nearest town with even a tiny corner store! We learn to do without, improvise or fix everything ourselves. We get to town about once a month, if that, so we also learn to think and buy ahead, as well as hang onto every little thing just in case we might be able to use it for something in an emergency.


That said, the tiny rural post office is almost in our front yard, so we do order a lot online and have it all mailed to us. Much easier than shipping in town and so many online places have free shipping now!



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