At some point, a person must face the hard truth that youth is for the young and certain activities should only be attempted by those with less than a half century of living of experience.
I realized this only after having to break into my house.
1. We once lived in a far northern suburb where we had the luxury of an attached garage. I never locked the door, and so would never need a key. This changed dramatically when we moved closer to the city and had an unattached garage. An unattached garage means you must lock up your house when you go somewhere, thus needing a key for re-entry.
2. When the kids were younger and living at the home with unattached garage, and when they were without wheels, we used to keep a door key hidden in a fake rock. This is because had we given them a key in the pre-driving years, they would have lost it and would be looking for the key in the rock anyway. As they matured and earned driver’s licenses, they were awarded house keys of their own. The idea was to put the house key on the same fob as the car key and we would never have to worry about a person losing a key. Right.
3. We disposed of the key in the rock right around the time several items went missing in the house: a bunch of Civil War swords, money, a painting, a book of notes, my husband’s Vicodin prescription and my mother-in-law’s ashes. (No joke.) We also recalled all the keys we gave out, to the cleaning lady, the exterminator, various workmen, etc., and re-keyed all of the locks just for good measure.
It’s really been quite peaceful without children who lose their keys. It’s also nice not to have to worry what prized possession will be next to walk out of the house.
I’m usually organized (to a fault), and can’t remember the last time I locked myself out. College, maybe? 1979? One day about a month ago, I did the dreaded unusual – I locked the keys in the house. This was a very bad thing.
I was on my way to a violin lesson sans violin. That’s because it was sitting at the back door. My husband was on his way to a classroom, stuck in traffic, and could not return to open the door for me. The dog was out with me and wanted to go back inside. And my dinner was burning on the stove.
I had to get back in the house. Alas, but there was no key in the rock!
It was a warm day, but my husband is paranoid and never leaves the downstairs windows open while we are away. That day, there were only two windows open on the second floor – one to a bathroom, where a litter box is, unfortunately, stationed right under, and the other into my bedroom. The bedroom window is above a gabled portion of our family room, meaning I had a little bit of roof to work with.
I decided to get the ladder out and climb up to the second floor and break in.This is easier said than done.
First of all, the ladder was full of spider webs. The last time it was used was many, many moons ago. It was also rickety. However, I was full of aplomb, thinking, I could do this. After all, I’d been working out with Tony Horton and P90X for two months. I was about as limber as I had been in decades.
Things were just peachy until I got up about four rungs. Then the reality of the situation hit me: I am an old lady, and if I fall off this thing I’ll probably shatter every bone in my body. I stepped back down for a reassessment.
Could I wait two hours? The dog was whining, the smoke detector about to go off. I had to get in.
I positioned the ladder a little better, extending it far past the roof line and started up again. This time I made it onto the roof, realizing that it wasn’t as level as it appeared from the ground. It was also not as wide as I thought, being only a ledge. I scratched my way across the shingles (moss coated and slippery, since that’s the north end of the house) to the far window. Once there, I then realized I had nothing to break the screen open with, so I used my fingernails to pull at the mesh.
Right about then I noticed that I was visible to my next door neighbor and his legion of workmen, who were installing a paver patio and hot tub. I couldn’t tell which was more humiliating – me clinging to the side of the house, or asking for neighborly help. Either way, I was toast.
Once I ripped a corner of screen open, I tumbled into the house head-first. The cat was sleeping on the bed and jumped up, hissing, tail as big as feather duster. He eyed me suspiciously, as if to say, “WTF! You never come in like this!” and ran away.
I scratched my arm and strained my shoulder, which is now going to need medical attention. You can’t say I’m stupid. I have learned from my adventure. I’m too damned old to break into my own house.
I went right out and bought a rock to put my spare key in.