While Gatsby has largely been settling in beautifully to his new home (which I finally took some photos of today, and think may be named Gatsby's Too), it has not been without some……quirks.
In trying to get things set up so that at some points during the year, I can rent the place either mid-term to traveling nurses or the like, or short-term (Manistique has some of its own quirks regarding short-term rentals), I have been changing some of the door locks to have key coded knobs. My bedroom and the storage closet for the interior, and I like to have a keypad lock for the outside as well, to alleviate the need for a lockbox as the main source of entry vs. as a backup.
The interior MiLock sets had their own issues, when Amazon decided me to send me an obviously used set (one side was totally scratched up, and both sets of backup keys said “Jill’s,”) that once installed simply beeped and did nothing else to include lock or unlock regardless of prompting, but the real fun started when I installed the outer door’s Hornbill lock.
It all started on a sub-freezing day when Jack was down in Garden, so it was just me and the pup. I had taken off the old knob, and was starting the install of the new one. I put the new latch in and wanted to make sure that it would catch in the strike plate, so I closed the door. Now thankfully this time, I was inside the house (although I have since the last lockout incident squirreled away a spare key), but as soon as the latch hit the plate, I realized I had no way of opening the door back up, since I hadn’t put the outside component on because there was nobody there to hold it, so I didn’t have anything to attach the inside handle to. I’m pretty sure my prefacing phrase when I called Jack to see if he was anywhere near ready to come home was, “I’ve done something very Kiki,” before elaborating. Hearing the story, he agreed. It was very Kiki of me.
Some thinking outside the box (or house, as the case may be) did eventually result in me freeing myself and finishing the install prior to his return, but that was not without its own set of troubles. Two of the screws provided were ever-so-slightly too short, so I’d used some longer ones, planning to drill them into the door (because who cares – they would be covered), but they refused to latch onto the door (and while they were being obtuse, one of the screw heads broke off, and the other got completely stripped, so I couldn’t even take with of them out to try another maneuver), resulting in the top portion of the door handle not being flush with the door. Because of this, basically every time we’d open and/or close the door, the lid to the battery compartment would fall off.
As we’ve discussed in the past, Gatsby is m̶i̶l̶d̶l̶y̶ anxious. About damn near everything, but particularly about noises. At Gatsby’s Getaway in Vermont, I take the smoke detector down and leave it outside whenever I leave him home alone, because after a nighttime false alarm once, he was so traumatized, I worry that if it ever went off again while he’s alone, he’s going to die, not of an actual fire or smoke inhalation, but of a heart attack from the sound. In re-reading that, I suppose it’d be better for him to die of the heart attack than the preceding options, but I like to be optimistic and hope that he’d be able to bust out a window and go get help like Lassie.
Anyway, this new Hornbill smart lock was very fancy schmancy, hooked up to a phone app, had fob keys and a fingerprint sensor in addition to hard copy keys and the keypad options. So once it was installed, I was doing a lot of programming, which resulted in it both beeping and talking frequently. Now Gatsby is used to keypads, and has never shown any inclination towards fear and paranoia with either the MiLock of the Schlage, so I wasn’t paying any attention to his reaction until he’d gone outside to the backyard and would absolutely NOT come back in. When I went to get him, I realized his legs were shaking so bad he could hardly stay standing, let alone walk. Good thing I can dead lift a decent amount, although it is more awkward in the form of a giant leggy bag of bones than either a bar and plates or a kettlebell. I finally got him inside and on the couch where I covered him with a blanket and laid down on him. Kind of the human version of a weighted blanket, or possibly a Temple Grandin hugging machine.
After his panic attack subsided, I realized it was because of the new noises emanating from the door, but figured he’d settle in at some point, and probably be far less bothered by it when he was inside the house napping instead of up my ass supervising the install and programming. This was unfortunately not the case. Later that day after coming home from happy hour with Lonnie and Barb, as soon as Jack and I walked in, Gatsby was once again shaking in his britches. It did seem that subsequent entries were better received, but then a morning about 4 days later, the Hornbill started just making some random beeping noises early in the morning. I tinkered with it, it stopped, so I went about my morning taking care of my n̶e̶e̶d̶y̶ ̶q̶u̶a̶d̶r̶u̶p̶e̶d̶ sweet little boy. I’d gotten back in bed, Gatsby had settled back on the floor, and we were all starting to doze back off, when he leapt onto the bed in yet another full-blown panic attack (he knows the only time he’s allowed in bed with us is when we’re in the van and it’s not bedtime, so really the only time he does this is when he’s scared by something). And in re-reading that one, I’m thinking it’s actually surprising he doesn’t do it more often. As I was rushing him to the living room to couch/blanket/smother him again, I heard the damn Hornbill going schizo again. As I was rubbing G’s ears to try and block out the sound, I was yelling at Jack to run and take a battery out, and wouldn’t you know it – this was the ONE TIME the battery cover wanted to stay put!
I had already been on the fence, but it was at that point that I decided that stupid thing had to go. However, the stripped screw and the broken screw had other ideas, and we had to call our friend Rob to come over with his handyman kit to combo saw and then break the damn thing off. Thank fuck for friends with tools who are willing to come help you out in a pinch.
To add to Gatsby’s rough week, this was also the week that we had the Invisible Fence installed in the new yard. He knows how the fence works, because we have one in Vermont, but (likely for separation anxiety reasons) when we went out with the installer to go over training tips and he had to stay on the side with a guy he didn’t know and I walked across an INVISIBLE FENCE WITH FLAGS HE COULD SEE AND THEN CAME RIGHT BACK, he freaked the fuck out. To the extent that when we went outside for training two days later (the day in the middle was the day of the smart lock meltdown, and I’d decided he’d had enough suffering that day), as soon as he got past the area that his tie-out allows him to, he put the brakes on and LAID DOWN, and would not be coaxed with treats even when I took the fence collar off. As absolutely frustrating as it is (because at this point, everyone in the household has had a difficult week), and as much as I wanted to scream and punch things, I also know that this is a very sensitive boy I’ve got here, and the only thing to do was to speak nicely, take him inside, and give him a snuggle.
I think we’re going to wait until after our road trip south to attempt fence training again.