This is a tale. A cautionary tale, but an entertaining one for sure.
Last night I stayed late at work for a support group. I made it home around 7pm and locked the front door behind me like I always do. I used the restroom, took off my shoes and started thinking about how I would spend the next 2.5 hours until the boyfriend came home. I would bake the stuffed chicken breasts I bought, maybe do an oxygen facial, catch up on some reality TV and perhaps write a blog. But first I needed to feed Cali (the boyfriend’s dog). I went into the laundry room, scooped up some dog food and unlocked the back door. I shut it behind me and greeted Cali. We did our usual dance, where she tries to contain her excitement, but also sit still because she knows that is when I will feed her. I filled up her water and told her to “go ahead”.
I was making my way towards the door thinking about the delicious Mediterranean stuffed chicken breasts that I would make. I could almost smell them already. They were stuffed with spinach, olives feta and I would make them with some green beans with sun dried tomatoes. I had a little internal monologue, “Do I need a salad too? No, i think the green beans will be… Wait a minute, why won’t the door open?” I turned the knob again, it wouldn’ budge. I wriggled it back and forth for a while not believing this was really happening. I had no shoes, no phone, no keys. “Okay, no big deal,” I thought, “I will just go around to the front door or the garage door. One of them has to be open.”
I knew they weren’t since I know I always lock the front door behind me. Damn it, why was I so cautious! After trying both of the other doors, to no avail, I decided to try to be Maguiver.
I knew I hadn’t locked that door. It must not have been unlocked all the way and when I shut the door, it must have popped into the locked position. Maybe I could pick it. Of course this is the only day I don’t have a bobby pin, a nail file or a credit card on me because, that’s how they pick locks in the movies right? I settled for a broken end of a zip-tie.
I shoved the piece of plastic into the lock and wriggled it around like I know exactly what I was doing. I really expected to hear some kind of click or pop and that the knob would turn and I could go about my evening without ever having to tell anyone about what just happened. Nope. Eventually the zip tie snapped. Okay, time for plan B.
The boys open the windows a lot, maybe one is unlocked and I can pop the screen off and slide it open. I went to every window I could get to. (Which isn’t all of them since I didn’t have shoes and a lot of the landscaping is covered with very jagged little rocks.) I methodically popped off every screen and pushed the window for a lengthy amount of time. None budged. When I got to the front window, I couldn’t get the screen back in. By this time it was fairly dark, so I just set the screen on the ground and tried the kitchen window. Fail. None of them opened. I was trying to work up the pain tolerance to move on to the windows that would require stabbing rocks into my feet, when a helicopter flew overhead with a spotlight.
“Oh my god, had someone called the cops? Did they send a chopper to stop me from breaking into my boyfriend’s house. No, that was highly irrational. But rationally, they are searching for someone in this area, and I am standing in front of the house trying to break in with no shoes…. I should probably go back to the backyard and be quite. You know, just in case there is a murderer on the loose.”
I went back to the backyard and reality set it. It couldn’t be past 8pm, no one would be home until at least 9:30, and what if something came up? What if he decided to meet a friend for drinks or they got in a car accident. I tried the back door again, “maybe if I lightly turn it, okay no, maybe if I jerk it. No?” Nothing. So I decided to spend some quality time with Cali.
Cali is a Huskador (husky and lab mix). She is never short on energy and tonight she was especially excited to have me play in the back yard. She had been a pain so far, sniffing the screens as I set them down to work on the windows, jumping up on me every time I came back through the gate, barking at me while I sat in the deck chair to formulate a plan. Since I was stuck back here, I might as well play with her. I threw the Frisbee at least 20 times before she got distracted by a large citrus leaf that had fallen off a neighbors tree. She had no interest in me, she just threw the leaf and ran around with it and eventually laid down and cuddled with it. I wish I could have been so easily amused. It may have made the time go faster.
I have been wanting to do yoga outdoors for a while, so I thought I could give that a try. I didn’t get very far into my first pose, when Cali noticed and came bounding over, to jump on me and check it out. No, yoga wasn’t going to work. After I gave up, I sat down in the lawn chair again and Cali went back to her leaf.
Okay, I could check my Facebook-no phone. I could drive back to work-no keys. I could do some work- no computer, pen or paper. I could go to 7-11- no shoes and no money. It seemed socially irresponsible to ask for money or to tell someone I was jumped and the mugger stole my purse and my shoes. I could go to a neighbors house, but what would I say? “Hi, I’m not your neighbor, but I am your neighbors girlfriend and I got locked out. Can I hang out at your house with my dirty feet until he gets home?” No thanks. So I just sat.
I soon realized that I had no idea what time it was. I know I got home around 7pm, but I had no idea how long I spent attempting to break in or how much time had passed. I couldn’t see a single clock in the house. It was getting a little chilly and my stomach was starting to grumble. I needed to do something to keep my busy. So I started counting. Slowly. I counted to 60 five times before I wondered what window I should break and at what point is it acceptable to break a window. I decided on the laundry room. It was the smallest that I could probably still fit through, so replacing it would probably be the cheapest, and it is the least important window in the house. No, I would have to wait much longer before I resorted to that.
Back to counting. one… two… three… I counted to 60 five more times, then tried to make a list of all the things that were okay about the situation.
1. It was a beautiful night. In fact, the only thing that would have been more favorable would have been if the sun was out so I could at least work on my tan.
2. It wasn’t raining.
3. If this had happened just a few days earlier, no one would have been home for days.
4. If I hadn’t worked late, I would have been stuck outside for at least 4 hours.
5. I live in Arizona, so even though I was a little chilly, it was still only about 60 degrees.
6. At least I peed before I fed Cali.
7. Thank goodness I hadn’t started the chicken yet.
Okay, another round of counting. As I got to number 20 of my tenth round, Cali’s ears perked up. She jumped to her feet, leaving her leaf behind.
“Oh my gosh, could the boyfriend really be home?” I ran to the back window, “Yes, signs of life”. I started yelling his name as I rounded the corner and through the gate. He had already made it inside.
Apparently he saw the screen on the ground and jokingly said, “Looks like someone tried to break in.” When he opened the door and didn’t find me in the living room, kitchen or bedroom, he thought “Crap, maybe someone did break in and I am going to find Ashley tied up in a corner somewhere.” He seemed somewhat relieved to see me spring through the front door.
“Where have you been?” he asked. “Outside! I have been outside for two and a half hours! I’m starving!” I yelled, my volume mostly because of the excitement of finally being indoors. He thought it was hilarious. I knew it was funny. Today I am laughing about it.
The morale of the story is, always hide a key somewhere, because breaking into your own house is more challenging than you think!