Er, uh, yeah. Brand new key. Probably what I need.
July 8th was Griffen’s and my six month anniversary. What do you give for such an occasion? I don’t know if there’s a traditional gift for Humans who celebrate six months of wedded bliss (or otherwise); at the one year mark, they supposedly give paper. Dog would just rip that up and look at me as if to say, “Now what?” No, I gave Griffen something much more original. I locked the two of us out of our house.
Griffen was having some tummy trouble that morning so I made sure to come home from the shelter a little early in an attempt to preempt any fecal Jackson Pollocks from occurring. When I arrived, our tenant who is living with us temporarily – I’ll call him Mr. X – was still at home, sort of unusual for that time of day. He was on the phone and didn’t notice that instead of going upstairs, I put down my bag and immediately took out the dog. And because Mr. X was home, I neither locked the door nor took my keys. We set out walking to the right, north, in the direction of the dead end. Can you see where this is going?
While we were walking, I had a fantasy, one that I’ve actually had before, and as a matter of fact, the reason I generally take my keys to circumvent. What if we got back and Mr. X had left? So don’t you know, as we crested our driveway, lo and behold, I was struck by the vision of an empty slot in the carport where his truck had been only a few minutes earlier. I tried the door. Locked. And I cursed out loud and copiously. How could I have been so stupid?!
Griffen looked at me as if to say, “Now what?” Yes, he says that a lot, obviously. Good question indeed. I don’t have a spare key hidden anywhere. The only other spare key was in my wallet, which was in my bag, in the house. No such luck that I had left my bag in the car. It would probably have been locked anyway, knowing me and my Brooklyn-born ways. I had no phone with me. And judging by the previous few days, Mr. X would probably not be home until after 9PM. It was currently around 1, 1:30 at the time. We were well and truly up shit’s creek. I cursed loud and copiously again.
What to do? A number of windows were open in the house. Of course, none at a reasonable height for crawling into without a ladder. But OK, my bedroom window seemed accessible if I got the ladder well situated underneath it. I went to fetch it. The damned thing was so long and unwieldy that my performance must’ve been like watching a Keystone Cops adventure, not to mention that with all the cut-up angles of the front porch and the garden, guiding it into position was extremely tricky. Finally, though, I got it down to where I needed it, got it open (it’s a 20-ft ladder), braced and ready. And suddenly, full stop. I stood there looking up at the window, then down at the ladder and the almost vertical angle I’d have to climb and I realized that this was not a good idea. In fact, this was a very bad idea indeed. Getting up the side of the house to the window was one thing. Actually getting into the window was probably another, and ending up sprawled in the shrubbery or down on the ground or half-in/half-out the window, hanging, were all scenarios best avoided. Not to mention, my nightmare of a medical insurance plan would probably not cover the broken leg – or worse. No, definitely not worth it.
Plan B. Remember the days when you used to memorize people’s phone numbers? Not so much anymore. So finding someone with a phone and calling Mr. X was not an option, particularly since my phone was tucked up nice and safe and comfy in my house. Along with my keys. However, Mr. X’s Mrs. X is friended to me on Facebook. If I could get online, I could PM Mrs. X, tell her my dilemma and have her call Mr. X. Phew. This was getting complicated.
Leaving Griffen tied to the doorknob, I went down our driveway in search of someone to help. Before I could even get to a neighbor’s driveway, though, a man passed, walking two big dogs. He must’ve thought I had lost my mind as I recounted my sad – and embarrassing – tale of woe, but yes, he did have a smartphone and he let me get on my Facebook page to access the Messenger. I PM’d Mrs. X successfully, thanked the fellow heartily and went back up to a not-as-impressed Griffen, who was unhappy to be tied to the doorknob. All that was left now was to wait.
Time went by, and we waited. And waited. Of course, because the phone wasn’t mine, I had no way of knowing if Mrs. X even got the message. Griffen kept pawing me as if to say, “Mom, why aren’t we going inside?” Yes, he has quite a lot to say for a dog. But it was a beautiful day, and sitting there beside my boy in front of our door, watching the butterflies working among the huckleberries was not the worst thing in the world. I actually laughed at our dilemma, and the lengths I had had to go to get us out of it.
I half-expected Mr. X to come cruising up the driveway at any minute, laughing with me now about our comedy of errors and so on, but no one came. Griffen was becoming increasingly agitated. Plus, I recently started a consulting gig with a new client and I had quite a bit of work to do, to say nothing of the fact that I had just put in four hours at the shelter and hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. The situation was becoming more critical, and the possibility of sitting out there until 9PM was becoming more of a reality. If Griffen is anxious now, how will I deal with him when he starts to get hungry for dinner? – and that time was rapidly approaching.
So – Plan — what letter are we up to now? C? I started to think of who else might have my key. No one currently in the state, unfortunately. And then – wait a second! The proverbial dawn came. Our pet sitter does! Nothing for it but to go back down and find another phone. But none of my neighbors appeared to be home, and no one was as conveniently in the road as before. Just then, the mail lady trundled by in her little white postal truck. Aha! I waited by the box until she got to it, then attempted to explain my situation all over again:
“Could I use your phone to get on Facebook?”
“No, I don’t have Facebook,” she told me.
“No, I just need the internet and I can get on my own Facebook.”
Blank look. Lady, just give me the damn phone. She did finally, and I PM’d our trusty pet sitter and friend, thanked her and went back up the driveway to wait again. About 15 minutes later, the sight of his van pulling up was just about the best thing ever. He gave me the key, I unlocked the door and I let us in. We had been outside for about 2 hours at that point. I immediately got online and PM’d Mrs. X again to tell her that the crisis had been averted, and asked her to let Mr. X know that he didn’t have to come racing home.
The upshot to this convoluted and ridiculous story? Mr. X actually returned about an hour and a half later, wondering why he’d received all these weird messages. Crisis averted? What crisis? He’d been working at a house not ten minutes from mine and had had the ringer turned off on his phone. He’d seen/heard me come in but of course, didn’t know that I didn’t have my keys with me. And as he left, he locked the door behind himself, because, yeah. The only way out of our street by car is to the left, and since we walked in the opposite direction, he didn’t pass us. Otherwise, I would’ve surely flagged him down.
Ugh. So note to self. Never leave the house without the keys again. No matter what. No matter who’s in the house, no matter what they’re doing.
Happy Anniversary, Griffen. You can expect more of the same, because, yeah.
Your goofy Mother.