The File Cabinet Caper – Part I

Photo courtesy of DaniJace of WANA Commons

Photo courtesy of DaniJace of WANA Commons

Well, at least some of my friends know that this week has been one harrowing experience.  The storm began to brew on April 23 when I finally broke down and hired a locksmith to come fix the lock on one of my husband’s 4-drawer lateral file cabinets. No, this is not the fire safe cabinet introduced in my book; this is a completely different tale.

I had, actually, made an effort to remove the lock so that I could deliver it to our local locksmith and have a key made.  I did not get very far in this project before I realized this was not a simple task.  Thus, the call to the kind of locksmith that travels around in a vehicle full of lock stuff.

Very nice young man shows up and looks at the lock.  After-market – old, super security lock – can’t make a key – must replace lock.  Sigh.  So, he extracts the lock and leaves to search for a replacement lock.  Evidently such a thing does not exist.  Said nice young man has researched suppliers from Canada to California and who knows where else.  Is this something that you can explain to a person suffering from dementia?  Sure; about 50 times a day.

Meanwhile; I discover that he (my husband) has an issue with the two file cabinets and are perfectly fine, have keys and lock rather nicely.  The drawers only work certain times of day.  “See, I can’t open this one.” “Sweetheart, you already have a drawer open.  You can only open one drawer at a time so it doesn’t fall down on top of you.” “Oh. But they only work certain times of the day.”  This conversation went downhill in a hurry.  I think I’ll leave out the various names I heard “that woman” called the next morning.

Back downstairs we go.  “Does this one work?”  Note to reader, this 4-drawer lateral file cabinet is of the sort that the front panels rotate up above the drawer and you can see what is inside.  You can still only have one drawer at a time pulled out, but you can see what is in the drawer.  And it locks and we have a key. “Yes, this one is fine.”  Okay, next step.

Knowing that there is no way on earth he could comprehend what he was looking at by viewing a picture on the computer screen, we went on a shopping trip today.  For reasons beyond me neither office supply store had a storage cabinet in the display area.  So, after a try at a department store kind of place, we arrived at a big box hardware store (no ads in my blogs unless you are an author).

In aisle thirty-something we locate what I was looking for, a locking storage cabinet.  This appears to be acceptable, but it is too tall.  Why, because it is bolted to the display counter and the feet are barely at eye level.  Yes it would be Okay, but do we have a ladder?  Sigh.  “So, if I could find one that is about so (5 ½ feet) would that be Okay?”  “Yes, I think that would work.”  (Shudder, “think it would work” always gets me in trouble).  I proceed to carefully explain my plan to go home so I can shop price and order the thing on line.

Almost out the door, “Where are we going?”  “Home.” “Aren’t we going to get it?”  Now, the cabinet that we are looking at is 30” X 18” X 72.9” – we are getting three of them.  I drive a Saturn Vue.  I will grant we have a rack on top, but I don’t see me loading these steel creatures on top of our car, driving home, and then packing them down our stairs.  This is a concept that will be mentioned later.

Finally, we manage to get home and I start looking for alternatives.  Poor lady at online office supply store, two of the cabinets I ask about are out of stock.  So, I settle for something wider (do you think he will notice)?  Delivery planned for Wednesday.  Duly marked on calendar.  Next step.

“Will you go with me?”  “Go where?” “I tried to tell her (the woman that took him – that would be me) that we could talk to the lady up front and get the one we wanted.”  “Sweetheart, I can’t move cabinets that big.  I need help.  And there are things in the room we need to get out first.”  “But I know where we can get it.”  I think I managed with pictures and calendar markings to explain that the cabinets were on the way.  Nice strong men would move them for us, and I wouldn’t have to try to haul them home.  I also had to explain that these were not the kind of things we put together at home.  In the past I have purchased a number of bookcases, hauled them home, moved them in piece by piece and then assembled them.  Won’t work here.  Somehow we managed to move on.

The filing room downstairs contains 4 4-drawer lateral file cabinets plus 4 4-drawer vertical file cabinets.  Something has to move or the new cabinets aren’t going anywhere but the hall.  That means that the things in those cabinets must be moved.  “Where.”  “Please put them here.”  “Why?” “Because we need to use the back door.”  “Oh.”

You have to realize that all this paperwork only represents about 70-80% of his research files – the rest is still in boxes.  He spends a great deal of time moving this stuff around.  Sometimes because people tell him he can’t have a certain spot (so I put his name on the door) or because someone complained about how he did it (I probably made a suggestion).  But, for the most part, over the past month or so he has been trying to take files off the book shelves and put them in the filing room.  This is a good thing.  But now we have to undo that process in order to try to resolve the problem of the file cabinets that “don’t work.”

“Victoria,” you may ask, “why are you replacing perfectly good file cabinets in an effort to fix this problem that exists only in his mind?”  Probably because I like to carry on conversations, complete my work for my clients, and even write a blog or two.  He has been camped out in my office many times in the last week discussing and re-discussing various aspects of this problem.

Do I really maintain this rather oblique sense of humor during these episodes?  No.  And I really don’t know where this one is going.  I’ll have to share part two after Wednesday when, hopefully, the new cabinets are here.  I am also hoping I manage to find a home for the old file cabinets which will be under a tarp on the back porch because there is nowhere else for them to go.

If you don’t hear from me, I’ll be in the corner of my office staring at the ceiling and mumbling campfire songs.  Forgive me if I’m drooling.

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Filed under Authored Works, Caregiving Backstage

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