Turtle House gets a shell

In Nashville, I survived two home invasions.  The first came in broad daylight when I was away from the house on Christmas Eve.  The second came as I was sleeping after my 40th birthday party.  Though I did not suffer any physical harm in either event, the experiences did reinforce for me the importance of a secure household and a monitored alarm system.  When I first laid eyes on Turtle House, I knew that I would need to beef it up a bit.

Happily, my real estate agents knew a pair of general contractors with experience in this area from Thane Engineering Support Services CC.  Kim and Erik first helped me with a technical tour of Turtle House, sniffing its electrical systems, investigating the water heater (here called a “geyser,” pronounced like “geezer”), and checking its structural soundness.  Once I occupied the property on January 10th, we gave its security the hairy eyeball.  Three doors needed security gates.    First, the sliding glass door to the braai area used a security bolt to hold the doors in place, but smashing the glass would allow rapid access to the inside.  Second, the front door’s gate used metal bars that were thin enough to surrender to a crowbar.Third, the breezeway separating the kitchen from the garage was guarded by a wooden gate that even a middle-aged professor could bypass in a pinch.

The braai door required a fairly expensive update.  Trellidor has built considerable business in Durban, South Africa, gaining a listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange last year.  Many of the units in my new complex include Trellidors for the braai doors and to screen off enclosed areas.  Erik produced a rough measurement on January 14th, and the door was installed on the morning of the day Monarch Relocations and I unpacked so many boxes.  A team of two Trellidor employees backed a small “bakkie” into my yard and unloaded a pile of rails along with the accordion section of the new door.  They removed the original bolt lock and then began cutting rails to size and screwing the pieces into the braai door frame.  Within an hour or so, the door was in place!

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The Trellidor employees finish up the installation.

The two entrance doors were built especially for my home.  Again, Erik provided initial measurements.  Kim recommended a local company to fashion the new doors: Davie’s Metals.  Davie Forbes had come to my home with Erik on an earlier occasion to pin down exact measurements for the existing door brackets and door posts.  He had welded together two very sturdy frames with tubular elements that would pose a significant challenge to even a very dedicated attacker.  He added some additional pieces, as well, fashioning two strips of dull spikes in matching bronze finish to block access to the breezeway between the roof and wall (these spikes appear in the two doors, as well).

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Davie Forbes stands by his work.

I knew I liked Davie right away as he sang a song from Queen while carefully hauling the newly constructed doors to their new locations.  It was the evening of the same day that the Trellidor was installed..  He has an amazing Scottish accent (he received his training in Glasgow).  Replacing the front door security gate went without a hitch.  Ably assisted by a young fellow who roared in on a yellow motorcycle, they soon were bustling away with a masonry drill and tearing out the old wooden frame for the breezeway entrance.  They had some comments on the solidity of the connection between the old breezeway door frame and the brick.  I soon learned that the youngster was none other than Kim’s son.  The new security gate at the front door was hung solidly.  Davie shot me a grin and padded over to his truck.  When he returned, he said, “I didn’t forget the cushion.  We don’t want it clanging when it swings shut, do we?”

After demonstrating the lock, the team set to work on the breezeway door.  Right away a significant setback arose.  The door had been manufactured too tall to fit around a beam holding up the rain gutter.  Davie bit his lip and scratched his head.  We talked about the possibility of changing the beam, but ultimately, the door required a change.  Davie promised to have it back very speedily.  He was as good as his word.  Only two days later, Davie was back to complete the installation of the altered door.  When I returned from my all-day retreat for my new choir, the door was in place.  Erik dropped off the keys soon thereafter.

I was particularly delighted that Davie had a plan for the doors that he had removed.  His company works with several groups that can benefit from old security doors.  Mine, for example, were headed to a non-profit organization that cares for animals, and the grates would be ideal for their enclosures.  He also mentioned that he has worked with older families that cannot afford new security doors; people with smaller budgets can benefit from older doors.  Having even an older style of security door is quite a lot safer than having no such door.  He also noted the dangers of excessive security.  We don’t, after all, want to turn our homes into fire traps!

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Entries to the breezeway (left) and front door (right)

I really like the new look of my entryway!

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One thought on “Turtle House gets a shell

  1. Pingback: Turtle House: signed, sealed, delivered! | Picking Up The Tabb

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