Friday, April 8, 2011

A Healthy Sense of Humor

In a big family like ours, you just never know what the day might bring.  Today for instance, I spent my entire morning feeling like I was trapped in an episode of Seinfeld.  I was home with our 3 youngest (all 2 and under).  We were trying to get out of the house on time to pick the 2 oldest up from school at 12:15.  At noon I told Faith (the 2 year old) to put her boots on while I ran the babies out to the van and I would be right back for her.  I left the door open so she could see me, but closed the glass storm door behind me.  It took maybe 3 minutes to load the babies into their car seats.  When I came back the storm door was locked.  From the inside.... where my keys were.  Faith was standing at the door, brown curls bouncing at her shoulders, big brown eyes looking up at me innocently.  Yeah right.

"Turn the button baby"

"This one?"

"No baby, the bottom button."

"This one?"

"Yes!  Turn THAT button!"

We went back and forth like that for some time, but it quickly became clear that she just couldn't do it. (How it is that she apparently had an abundance of ability to turn the button to the left, but seemingly totally lacked the capacity to turn it to the right, I'll never know).   I told her to keep trying and went to see if, by some miracle, the back door was open.  Nope.  I ran back around to the front to see if, by some miracle, Faithie had gotten the door unlocked.  Nope. I try coaching her some more.  Nope.  Vince Lombardi could not have coached this kid into opening that door. 

At this point I was late for school pickup.  I call Nate to let him know what was going on but he was in a meeting at a restaurant almost 2 hours away, so he wasn't going to be any help.  Who else can you turn to when you're really in a bad spot?  Your parents, right?  So I call my dad to see if he can pick the kids up.  Nope.  He's working too far out of town.  I call my mom (who works third shift) hoping she'll hear the phone ring and wake up.  Nope.  And it's right about this time that my phone dies.

I look back in the front door to check on Faithie and perhaps try to bribe her into unlocking the door.  She is sitting in front of the door chatting away happily on her toy phone.  Nice.  At least one of us can make a phone call!

At this point I began to realize that no one, absolutely no one is going to come to my rescue.  I will have to be my own Knight in Shining Armor.  No sweat.  I put myself through college working at a lock shop.  Getting into people's houses is what I do.  Or did.  A long.... long time ago.   

To get into most regular locks you don't need much more than a flat head screwdriver, a hammer and a pair of pliers. (Don't tell anyone I told you that).  I asses the 3 doors into my house to see which one might be opened by this method.  The only one that fits the bill is the door that opens into our dining room.  A door that we never, ever use.  I'd be surprised if it had been opened any time in the last 50 years.  I asses the tools in the garage to find what I need.  It was the first moment in my life that I regretted marrying an athletic, musical pastor instead of a construction worker.  We have a small Phillips head screwdriver, a socket set, a hammer, and..... well, there is no "and"...  that is all there is.  It'll have to do.

Using the above mentioned method, I set to work.  As I do so, I see Faithie run out of the room.  She runs back to where I'm working at the door, opens the curtain, and holds up an eyeglass screwdriver and a box of decorator nails.  Thank you.  I'm sure that'll help me honey.  Please go turn the button.

The lock releases.  The bolt retracts.  The handle turns.  I have one short moment of bliss and then I find out why the door hasn't been opened in so many years.  As it turns out, that door has been nailed right into the jamb.  Seriously, who does that?

I go back to the front door and try to get Faith to unlock it.  She looks up at me and says (are you ready for this?) she says NO.  I'll deal with you later.  I walk around my entire house.  We live in a three story, hundred year old house with 29 windows.  Hundred year old windows. Except 3.  The kitchen and bathroom windows are new.  But the bathroom is on the second floor, so that's out of the question.  The kitchen windows are about 8-10 feet off the ground.  Now that I've circled my house a good dozen times, I realize that of my 29 windows, only 4 of them are at eye level.  All of them locked and painted shut. 

I check the basement windows.  The one with the dryer vent is missing half the glass and is covered with a board. Not even sure that I can fit through this window, I attempt to kick it in.  Now, I've seen a few cop shows on TV and they make kicking in a window or door look so simple.  Lean back, make a mean face, and kick!  If you've been wondering, this doesn't work in real life.  I take a few whacks at it with the hammer.  Nothing.  I attempt to open the old coal shoot that goes from the garage to the basement.  Doesn't budge.

I go back to the front door.  (oh, just so you know, I did check on the babies in the van several times during my escapade).  Faith has a set of toy archeology tools and is fiddling away at the lock.  No baby, just turn the button.  She looks at me, tilts her pretty little head to one side, turns her back to me, marches over to the TV, looks at me over her shoulder and turns it on.  Then she marches over to the fireplace and turns it on (electric, no real flame, don't worry).  With one last look at me, she plops down on the couch, and I don't get so much as another glance.

It's at this moment that I realize that I have no other option than to go in through the kitchen window.  I stand below it and can not even reach the sill.  For one quick minute I contemplate climbing onto the patio grill, but realize very quickly that this is a very bad idea.  Instead I go into the garage and find a big plastic tote full of baby clothes.  I drag it under the window and still can't reach.  I find a smaller tote of vacation Bible school supplies and stack it atop the first tote.  I can reach now, but not well enough to open it.  I find a small wooden stool and stack it at the peak of my tower.  I manage to get the window open, about 12 inches.

I am standing atop my precarious tower and realize that should I fall and break my neck, 2 of my kids are at school (and should have been picked up an hour ago) my two babies are in the van alone, and my middle child is locked inside the house.  Lord help me.

So that you can get the full picture, you know, a picture as good as my neighbors got, I should tell you that we live on a busy street.  At the intersection of 2 busy streets really.  And I'm wearing skinny jeans and black knee high boots.  Not snow boots.  Not rain boots.  Girly boots.  Pretty boots.  And I have no other option that to try to jump into my window from my perch atop the mountain of miscellaneous items.  I jump.  I heave myself up to my armpits.  I swing my right leg towards the 12 inch window opening.  My tower comes crashing down beneath me.  I look down.  I slip.  I am suddenly dangling from my own kitchen window sill with nothing between me and the ground except the soles of my pretty boots.  Lord help me.

I drop to the patio and manage not to break anything.  I make the circuit around my house to check on the kids.  I go back to the window.  I realize that I need a taller tower and go back to the garage.  It is then that I realize that we have a ladder in the garage. A LADDER!  All that stacking and climbing and falling and dangling had been for nothing!

You can figure out the rest of the story on your own.  But just in case you're a parent who wonders if they should make staying in shape a priority, just remember that you never know when you'll need enough endurance to run around your own house 7000 times, enough agility to climb a (very) unstable stack of objects, enough upper body strength to hoist yourself through a window, enough weight lost to fit through a 12 inch space, and enough balance to be able to laugh at yourself when its over.

Related Links:


  1. Love this Chanda!! Enjoyed it immensely!! You are indeed a brave woman!

  2. Well...I do wish I knew what the neighbors thought as they watched you through the window sheers munching on their popcorn for the lunch and a show...

  3. Wow, quite the adventure, I've never had the experience of having locked myself out with the kids inside (and hope I never do), but one of our past nanny's has, and she was in nowhere near the shape to attempt what you did.

  4. wow this was quite the crazy day!


We want to know what you think. Leave a comment!