But I didn’t lock myself out of the house.
Except for the part where I did.
No shade if I park in the driveway, I thought. So, I’ll park in front of the house. If I park in the drive it is closer to the back door. Parking in front of the house under the shade of the sycamore tree yields an easy few steps to the front porch. The deadbolt on the front door has always been a trifle stubborn. It is hard to lock and to unlock the silly thing. Sometimes you can jiggle your key to get it in far enough. Sadly, sometimes you cannot. I can always force it in when jiggling and wiggling are ineffective tools. Well, I used to be able to.
However, one day last week I took my daughter to band practice, then I went to the gym to work out. I got home just before 9:00a.m. I was ecstatic. I had three hours to write. Three quiet hours to write. I could turn off the home phone, cell phone, modem, and every other time-sucking device in my home. I stuck the key in the front door and it almost went all the way in. I jiggles and cajoled. I didn’t just talk to the lock; I also talked to the door and the key. None of them listened. Good thing someone invented Bluetooth. Now I can talk to myself and most people don’t even clue up that I’m not wearing an earpiece.
I pushed hard on the key and it bent sideways. My shoulders dropped. Well, I’ve never happened to bend a key before, at least not at a 90 degree angle. Now I have to walk all the way around the house to the back door. You know which door, the one that always unlocks easily. I stuck the bent key in the door and voile, nothing. Nothing? Nope. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Nein. Not. Nyet. No. No, as in no, it didn’t unlock.
The key didn’t go in far enough because it was bent. An easy enough fix, right? I simply bent the key back straight. And it snapped. I was so shocked that I didn’t even yell–or breathe. I just stood there with my jaw brushing the tops of my shoes. Now could it snap so easily without warning? It broke off flush with the outside surface of the lock. It must have been an conspiracy between locks and key.
Fortunately, I wasn’t without hope. My daughter was at summer band only six miles away. (And under the direction of an unforgiving maestro.) My older daughter sometimes works from home, only seven miles away. Sorry, not that day. That day she was working out of the downtown office. She was only twelve miles and nineteen stories away. She might as well have been a hundred miles away. She was in the middle of interviewing candidates for an IT job. She said, “Mom, really? You’ve got a screwdriver in the tool box on your truck. Surely you can take the door off its hinges or take out a window or something!” Nope, I can’t. The key to my tool box is in the house. The key to the shed where I can probably find a dozen helpful tools is also in the house. She laughed and hung up after reassuring me that if I could get the broken key out, I could come get her key. She was right. It wasn’t going to do any good to get a key if both locks had gotten jinky.
Well, I thought, my handsome prince charming is only 26 miles away. He said I could come get his key, or he could take a half day and come fix it for me. I’m not sure he’d do a better job than I could. I told him I’d call him back if I couldn’t get it. Lowes is only six and a half miles away and the front lock needed to be replaced anyway. Surely Lowes would have a cute little tool to remove crises from locks. Don’t bother looking for such a thing there–they don’t have anything close. They had several beautiful lock combinations though. I got new locks for the front and for the back door. I even got them keyed alike. But, they had nothing with which to remove the broken key. Fortunately, I do not give up easily. Unfortunately in this situation, I didn’t have the luxury of giving up. In real life we seldom do.
I stopped in at Sally’s Beauty and the incredibly compassionate clerk showed me where the tweezers were. Eventually, she did. She had to stop laughing hysterically and catch her breath first. When she could breathe halfway normally, she giggled her way past the nail clippers and polish to the eyebrow tweezers.
Considering all of the opportunities I’d already had to lose my joy, I got the broken key out of the lock easily. I was still locked out!
By then it was 12:30 and time to pick up my young teen from band. I explained what all I’d dealt with that morning and made her give me her key. She complied giggling, but asked, “If we can’t get in the house, can we go to Subway for lunch. I really want a meatball marinara.”
That was a request I could honor. “IfF we can’t get in, yes. A 6″ chicken bacon ranch sounds good to me.”
To her dismay and my delight, the backdoor opened easily. After she’d eaten something far less worthy than the meatball sub she wanted, I delivered her sans key back to the high school for another session of summer band.
I put her key in the back door lock and I was shocked again. The door unlocked and opened easily for the second time in a row. After the morning I’d had I expected another crisis. In less than two hours I’d found the necessary tools and had changed out all the locks. I gathered up the spare keys and the errant locks and even put my tools away.
I don’t think this should count as locking myself out of the house even though I locked myself out of the house. I think I need to plant a tree so I will have shade when I park by the back door.
But I didn’t lock myself out of the house.