Locked out

by DaniGirl on November 3, 2006 · 15 comments

in It IS all about me

Note to self: you MUST go TODAY and have another front-door key made. Maybe two, possibly three. Really, go now!

I had the honour of attending an award ceremony for my organization yesterday. Last year I was part of a team that received our department’s highest employee honour, and there was a lovely little ceremony and cocktail reception. I left the reception to catch my bus home only a little bit later than normal, but it was only when I stepped out of the National Arts Centre and into the cold damp of a November afternoon that I realized I had to pee.

I’m thirteen weeks pregnant now; I should know better than to leave anywhere without peeing first.

But luckily for me, my bus was right there, so I hopped on and crossed my legs and tried to think dry thoughts for the 30 minute ride home. And since I had the latest James Patterson novel to pass the time, I was distracted enough that I made it all the way home without incident.

I was walking toward the house from the bus stop, my shoulders huddled against the wind and thinking about how pleased I was with myself to have had the foresight to wear my winter coat this morning. In a rush, my self-satisfaction turned to dismay as my brain followed that track: I am wearing my winter coat today. Yesterday, when I went to the grocery store, I was wearing my light coat. When I left the house today, I completely forgot to grab my keys out of the pocket of my jacket. I have no keys. Beloved and the boys will not be home for another half hour at least.

I’m locked out of the house – and I have to pee.

We used to have a spare key. We need to have a spare key, because I tend to forget my keys frequently. But I gave my spare to the cleaning lady and I hadn’t gotten around to replacing it yet.

I could have called my parents. They live a three-minute drive from my house, and they have a spare key. Except, just last Thursday as I came flying home from work in a panic to start getting ready to pack for the Motherlode conference, I also forgot my keys. (See? Frequently. I told you.) And I just couldn’t justify calling my mother, who also goes out of her way every Tuesday to pick up the boys at daycare, to come and rescue her absent-minded 37-year-old daughter for the second time in a week. Pride comes before a fall, or a bladder emergency.

For reasons that I won’t bother to explain here, I did manage to get into the garage, where I made myself comfortable on the stacked patio furniture and settled in to wait. For a few idle moments, I considered grabbing the rake and actually doing something productive with the time I had, but I was dressed in a skirt and heels and nylons for the award ceremony, and did I mention the full bladder? So I perched on the small tower of stacked lawn chairs, read my book and waited.

After about 20 minutes, I finished the book. I figured the boys would be home any minute anyway, so I opened the garage door (I had closed it partly to block the wind and partly to keep the neighbours from wondering what in the name of hell I was doing huddled and shivering on a stack of patio furniture in the garage dressed in my work clothes.)

For a long minute, I just looked out and blinked. A small part of my brain wondered idly exactly how long I had been in the garage and what weird time warp I might be experiencing. The lawn, the bench, the garden and the park across the street were covered with at least an inch of snow. For the first snow of the season to magically appear while I had my back ever-so-briefly turned was a little more than my sluggish brain could process.

Of course, the first snow also snarls traffic, and I began to sweat even as I shivered, wondering just how late Beloved might be in his hour-long drive home from the college in Quebec where he teaches. Luckily, he was most of the way home when the snowburst started, and I only had to pass another 15 minutes or so shifting unhappily on frozen toes on the porch beside the wilting and frosted jack-o-lanterns. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see my boys pull into the driveway.

Keys. Lots and lots of spare keys. One of my purse, one for each jacket, one for the neighbours, and maybe a few more secret hiding places around the house.

How many keys do you have stashed? Got any locked-out-of-the-house stories to share?

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 alison November 3, 2006 at 1:26 pm

Sadly, yes, I have stories. Plural. The latest had a happy ending though. I was leaving the next morning to drive the nine hours or so to Windsor for a family wedding, and grabbed what I thought was my keychain off the key hook thingie on the wall by the front door. Turns out what I grabbed without looking, and was too busy packing in my mind to notice, was my government ID badge and holder. I was on the front steps, door closed firmly behind me, before I noticed. Fortunately, I had just taken a spare key over to the neighbours so that they could feed the cat while we were gone.
Small children can be boosted through those tiny oblong sliding windows in a pinch, as long as they haven’t been locked, and you might have to cut through the screen with scissors borrowed from your neighbour. Ummmm, in theory, yeah that’s it, in theory.
I have a key hidden in my garage now.

2 Rebecca November 3, 2006 at 1:56 pm

Last autumn when I didn’t need a key to leave the house with (left the house with Himself, didn’t have a car), I frequently locked myself out and had to sit on the pavement waiting for him to come home.
I have the mother of all locked-out-key stories, concerning 3 gay friends of mine. Two of them I’ve known forever, one of them is the boyfriend of one of these two. The first two, D and A, had planned a trip to York one February day earlier this year. A and his boyfriend, AM, left their house together and caught the bus, AM only down the hill and A all the way to Leeds where he met D.
D and A were about ready to set off when A’s phone rang. It was AM saying that he’d returned home to find he’d forgotten his keys and couldn’t get in the house. Could A please please please come home and let him in? So A turned round and went back home on the bus (it takes about an hour), and Dani (heh, same as you) set off for York.
On the way, some dickhead was driving dangerously and caused Dani to swerve and hit a tree. He was badly injured – crushed pelvis, shattered wrist, he’ll never be the same again basically. But the police said that had A been in the car with him, it’s 90% likely they would have both been killed.
The moral of the story is, never blame your boyfriend for forgetting his keys cos it might save your life. Or something.

3 andrea from the fishbowl November 3, 2006 at 2:06 pm

Thankfully we had a bucket in our garage. It’s not reserved for this specific kind of emergency. But it’s come in handy… ’nuff said.

4 Renee November 3, 2006 at 2:50 pm

Poor you, Dani. I think I would have made a large yellow puddle in the snow.

5 JF, scientist November 3, 2006 at 3:01 pm

Maybe someday they’ll have those little fingerprint scanners on doors, like on laptops. Much easier.
On keys: In college I lost my entire keyring. For eight weeks. A construction crew finally found it under three inches of gravel, the spring thaw came. Security used to find my keys dropped about once every two week and leave these hilarious messages.
I used to keep a key taped inside my mailbox. My mom keeps one in a ice cream container out in the shop. My sister used to forget her keys all the time and take out the air conditioner and climb in the window! My husband forgets his keys too, occasionally, but never dramatically, more’s the pity.
I finally attached mine to a carabiner and I wear them all the time. How does anyone remember them otherwise?

6 cinnamon gurl November 3, 2006 at 3:23 pm

Hee hee… when you mentioned picking up the rake, I couldn’t figure out how that would help the bladder situation. 😉
My husband is the primary key-loser in our family. One time he lost the whole keyring while working for a landscaping company. It was a temp job and they were digging big holes to plant shrubs. We never saw them again, but thankfully we had just made copies of the one car key that was on his ring.
Thanks for stopping by my blog.

7 suze November 3, 2006 at 3:45 pm

there was snow last night? I was out until 10:30 and I never saw any snow…maybe just in the south end then? I’m sometimes unobservant, but I think I’d notice that… 😉
As for locked out of the house stories – I’m so bad for leaving my keys either locked in the car (while in the middle of nowhere on a story for the community paper i used to work for…that was fun…) or at home as i’m rushing out of the door so I have many. One of the better ones – my inlaws drove me all the way across the city to take me home, only for me to realize I didn’t have my keys and they didn’t have our spare set. So I spent a very looooong car ride back with them to their house to get the spares…I bet they’re so excited I’m with their son.
also, the door to the garage used to lock automatically and one day – in the cool of october – i was reaching out the door to put some recycling in the box when the cat made a mad dash into the garage. I stepped out to grab him,the door swung shut behind me and I was trapped in the garage, in my tank top and pajama pants and bare feet. No keys, no phone, no one coming home for hours and a class in two. Luckily a neighbour was home and let me use the phone, but I was quite the sight with the cat in my arms and my bare arms and feet…

8 DaniGirl November 3, 2006 at 4:55 pm

Ooo, what great stories – it’s so nice to hear I’m not the only one!!
Andrea, when I first read your comment, I thought you meant you hid your spare key in the bucket. Then I realized what you probably meant. Remind me never to grab a random bucket from your garage if we’re ever, say, washing the car together in your driveway or something!

9 Batman November 3, 2006 at 5:00 pm

I have my own little lock-out story.
I used to live in a large, old three story house on the river. I had the top floor to myself. I locked myself out numerous times but there was always someone home on one of the other floors so it was never really a problem…except for one time when I left my keys inside and there was no one home.
I decided that I could still get inside the house through the bathroom window. I climbed the stairs to the roof (sort of a fire escape) and I carefully removed the caulking around one of the small panes of glass in the bathroom window. I had a window with six small panes over one large one. I only had to remove one of the small windows to get at the lock. Everything went well and I managed to get inside. That’s when the trouble started…
I was in the process of refitting the small glass and the caulking when I broke the large window in the bottom…with my head. Don’t ask me how it happened, I still don’t know. So, off I go to the hardware store for a replacement pane. I made it home with the pane of glass and was in the process of installing it when it fell over and smashed into a kabillion pieces. I was not amused. Off I went again to the hardware store. I’m sure the clerk thought I was crazy. This time I was extra careful though and managed to get everything back together in one piece. Swell.

10 alison November 3, 2006 at 5:11 pm

Can I tell another one? Long ago, my ex and I lived in Toronto and rented an apartment carved out of a townhouse. We had the bottom floor. We shared the driveway with our upstairs neighbour/landlady and each had a set of each other’s car keys so that we could jockey the cars around so that no one was ever parked in. One night he and I were coming home very late from a party. During the moving of the cars (pulling hers out so we could park in front — she would be leaving before us in the morning) I got out of her car to see how far I was from the back of our car, and I somehow managed to lock her keys inside her car. Not a bad problem, you say? Did I mention that the car was still running? Not a fun time having to knock on her door at 3 in the morning to get her keys in order to turn her car off. I baked 3 loaves of banana bread in apology.

11 Batman November 3, 2006 at 6:56 pm

Okay, Alison donated two stories so I think that “opens the door for me.”
I was in Minneapolis last summer for a bit of a holiday. We were going to the Chris Isaak concert and I had a key ring with far too many keys on it. I decided to take only the car key with me because who needs all the others when you’re on holidays, right? I parked in a parkade near the concert hall and put the Club on the steering wheel. Just as I finished pulling the Club so it locked I realized my stupidity. I had left the key for the Club in the hotel room. Needless to say, it was a looong $50 cab ride to the hotel and back again after the concert.

12 Marla November 3, 2006 at 7:32 pm

Once when I was pregnant I had to pee so bad (on the way to a maternity warehouse clothing sale, which I would NOT give up on and would NOT be late to) I stopped into a Johnny on the Spot at a construction site on the way, as the sale was in a warehouse district and there was NOWHERE else to stop. It was worth it, because when I got to the sale, there was nothing like looking at a room full of hugely pregnant women pawing through racks and trying to struggle into clothing in a communal dressing room while their husbands stood outside looking scared, tired, and nervous while holding purses. I would have peed myself laughing at the sight of it.

13 jo(e) November 3, 2006 at 8:44 pm

I lose my car keys about every third day. No way could I keep track of a house key. So we simply leave our house unlocked. It’s way easier.

14 Nadine AKA scarbiedoll November 6, 2006 at 3:40 am

We are a forgetful family and we don’t have pregnant brain to blame. We’ve lost more than keys. We lose expensive shit like iPods (my husband should not be allowed to drink with electronic equipment on him)

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