Sunday, July 26

Mr. Unlocking the Dead Visits Our 'Hood

Note: The first time Mr. Husband will hear this story is when he reads this post. That is by design. Before you mock, nag, harass, fuss at, or otherwise torment me, Mr. Husband, please remind yourself that this little event makes the score 2-1. You're still in the lead. I will bring that up (again) if you so much as think a word about this whole thing in my presence. *ahem*

Mr. Husband is out of town right now. The reason for that is a post of its own, but I need a little help writing it, so it's on the back burner for a day or two. Anyway, any time the man leaves his women unsupervised, we shop. It's what we do. So, we headed out bright and early this morning, with our eyes set on no less than a dozen stores.

We caused havoc all over the Pittsburgh area and than lastly landed at the grocery store. We went a week without a fridge (yet another post that is hanging in the wings), so it was one of those epic grocery store trips where you need abso-freakin-lutely everything. By the time we made our rounds, there was so much food in the cart that I had to evict Alexis in order to make a little space for the juice and milk.

We cruised back home and I parked in the front part of the driveway, with the idea that going in through the front door would be significantly easier than going in through the basement. That little moment of brilliance saved me from having to haul 20+ bags of groceries across the entire basement, up a flight of stairs, and across the dining room to put them away. Me so smart!

I left my house key in the door as I rushed the frozen items to their new home. We had gone to a grocery store that is 20 minutes from our house, so every second mattered when it came to protecting the ice cream from further damage. Once all the cold stuff was properly put away, I tossed the stuff that belongs in the pantry on the floor and rounded Alexis up. I hadn't yet freed the dogs from their prison in the basement and figured Alexis and I would walk around back and let them out through that door.

I grabbed Alexis, grabbed my keychain, and locked the front door behind us before we started the trek around. As we neared the back door, I reached into my pocket to grab my keychain. Which didn't have a key on it. We backtracked and I searched the driveway, sidewalk, and grass, but didn't find a key. I peered in through the dining room window. There it was. Lying on the floor. Behind locked doors and windows.

My keychain is the type that lets you push a little button and separate it into two pieces. My little accomplice had apparently decided my keys dangling from the doorknob resembled a puzzle, and she broke it into pieces. Good thing I noticed THAT before I locked us out of the house.

Fortunately, my cell phone was in my pocket. I called information and got a number for a close by locksmith, who quickly assured me that he could be there in 45 minutes. I no more than hung up the phone when the inevitable happened: Alexis told me she needed to go to the bathroom.

Of course.

After she reminded me of that little fact approximately 3,451,351,879 times, I started eyeballing the backyard. No neighbors were anywhere to be found, and I haven't talked to any of them enough to go knocking on the door and asking to use a potty. However, at the back of our yard is a line of trees. Behind that is an old abandoned strip mine. In other words, completely concealed wide-open space abounds.

Ten minutes later, I knew something about Alexis that I hadn't known before: she's not cut out for camping. At all.

I begrudgingly dragged her wimpy little body back up to our house and figured I would distract her by finding something constructive to do. We settled for doing a little yard work. Just as we started to make a little headway, I heard the most wonderful sound. A sound so wondrous, so beautiful, and so enchanting that even now a little tear comes to my eye when I think about it.

I heard music wafting from an ice cream truck as it neared our street.

As luck would have it, I had a couple of bucks in my pocket, so Alexis finally got to learn the magic that is the ice cream truck. She is forever going to associate getting locked out of the house with a rainbow push-up, and that's just fine by me.

Just as Alexis started to savor her little treat, I spotted the locksmith. As his beat-up van rounded the curve as the end of our street, I realized something I hadn't really realized before: For the first time ever, we live in a good neighborhood. The ancient blue van looked completely out of place amongst the giant houses in such a way that it was actually startling.

The locksmith himself looked even more out of place. I'm pretty sure he stepped straight out the crowd at a Grateful Dead concert, and he forgot to take a shower or change his clothes before he headed over. To that I say "YAY!" because it means he got there faster. Frankly, I don't care if a locksmith look like he just stepped out of a prison horror flick. Just get me in, yo.

Mr. Unlocking the Dead stepped out of his van, grabbed a pile of tools, and followed me around to the back door. I figured that if I had to pay somebody to break into my house, he should at least do it where fewer neighbors could see him at work. He took one look at the lock and said, "Is that a {blah blah blah}? I can't open that."

I saw the army of tools Mr. Unlocking the Dead had in the back of his van. In fact, when he drove down the street, you could hear doors spontaneously unlocking themselves out of fear for that van filled with burglary equipment. Apparently, however, the locks we put on the day we moved in (we figured that was sort of an emergency since we have no idea who had a key to the place from back when the Loooovers lived here) are REALLY good. Normally that would have had me jumping from joy, but at that particular moment, I was hoping they would try sucking for a second. Mr. Unlocking the Dead jiggled and jangled the lock for a few minutes, but no luck.

"I'm going to have to break it to get in," he said.

I sighed and said to go ahead and do it. There were keys inside the house, and another key in Tennessee, but not a single one was anywhere useful. It's not like Alexis and I could just hang out outside for a day or two.

Mr. Unlocking the Dead rambled back to his van to grab a new arsenal of tools. Just as he returned, I noticed it.

The garage door.

"Sir, that door still has a junk lock on it," I said as I pointed at the garage door.

"The garage door opener will keep it from opening, though," he said.

"There isn't a garage door opener," I told him. "The previous owners either took it or never had one put in."

"OK," he said as he returned yet again to the Unlocking the Dead Mobile.

He returned with exactly one tool--a little something that looked exactly like a tiny eyeglass screwdriver. Before I could even blink, he shoved the point of the screwdriver in the lock and opened the door. Click!

[There are about five people who know where we live and read this site. If somebody shoves a screwdriver into our garage door and steals all our stuff before Mr. Husband can get back and install a garage door opener (honey, that project moved up to #1 when I saw how easy it is to pick that lock and the other lock in the garage--if I had thought of it in time, I could have done it myself), I will hunt you five people down and put a hurting on you. Just so you know.]

We shall never speak of this incident again. Ever. Understood?


  1. My children are not made for camping either. There have been a couple times in my motherhood that I have tried to get a child to pee on the side of the road during travels because there was not toilet anywhere near and they had to go. Nothing doing! Thankfully they always held it.

  2. WOW, sounds like you had quite the adventure!

  3. You are hilarious. I'm sure it wasn't all that fun for you, but the retelling was delightful for me. :)

    Just think of how much worse it could have been had you not gotten your ice cream inside. I think I would have had to eat the entire half gallon just to keep it from going to waste.

  4. What incident? haha! :-P

    That's hilarious. There's never a "ggod time" to be locked out of the house with kids. Something crazy ALWAYS happens.

  5. Well. That little face will certainly keep me from breaking into your house.

  6. While that was a indeed a great story, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the picture of Alexis at the end.

  7. "this property is protected by Alexis Security"- makes a great sign for your front lawn!

  8. aaah, never a dull moment :)

  9. Awesome. We won't mention this again. I have been locked out a time or two. When I was a nanny picking up a child from the school bus at the end of the driveway, the preshooler INSIDE the house locked us out. THAT was fun.
    Alexis is the coolest treasure. Love her face.

  10. No need to mention it - ever. Got it. But, if it helps any- Riley locked us out the house once- he knows how to lock/unlock the screen door. He locked it while holding it open, went out the door, and then let it slam shut. No keys for a screen door.....fortunatly, I have a super secret key that hubby doesn't even know about so I was able to get us in another door. And one time, Riley was playing in my car and locked the doors. My hubby stood there yelling through the door window saying "unlock the door!". You know, because 2 year olds listen so well. I went inside and got the car keys from my purse to open the door (duh! to my hubby)

  11. Anonymous9:50 AM

    Once again I am reminded that there is not much difference between small children and dogs - cause now that she has peed on it, the house is definitely yours!

    And the ice cream truck . . . is it bad that my kids know what an ice cream truck is, but have no idea that it actually has ice cream in it?

  12. @Fishsticks and Fireflies--Only if it's bad that I spent a full five minutes debating whether or not to tell Alexis that the music meant there was ice cream headed our way. I might not have done it if some neighbor kids hadn't come running out of their houses. I'm now screwed every Sunday night for the next bazillion years . . .

  13. I have two things to say...

    1. You need to give someone else a spare key.
    2. You need to get a different keychain.

  14. Dude! What kind of keychain comes apart? I have never heard of such a contraption.

    And now? Every time the ice cream truck rolls around, your kid is going to demand you fork out.

  15. I have locked myself out of my house so many times, it's not even funny. In our condo in the city, I knew there was one window that I could open from the outside, but since our condo was up a flight a stairs, it required me to climb precariously up to our front balcony using the hose reel as a step stool or finding a neighbor to boost me up over the railing. In our new house, I've been lucky (or stupid) enough to have accidentally left another door unlocked somewhere in the house. And yet, I still can't remember to get extra sets of keys made to share with a neighbor and/or hide in a secret location outside our house. Also, we have no ice cream truck in our new neighbor which is a major disappointment.

  16. Whatever you do, DON'T tell Alexis that you only got ice cream because you were locked out. You have no idea how many hiding spots she could find. (Or, maybe you do.) Then she will sneak you out of the house with a glimmer and a gleam in her eyes that says, not so much "victory!" as "Ice cream!" :)

  17. What a riot! More now then at the time I am sure! I was locked out of our previous house, but sadly no ice cream man came around. I did however,remember (after 20 min of sitting on the front stoop) that there was a spare key in the realtors lock box on the front door. I called the realtor's office, explained the situation and they gave me the code. I was very excited to get in since it was me, not my 4 yo DD, that had to use the bathroom! lol

    I'm not a good camper either. Just sayin.

  18. Ok- Karen from above just sent me this link (you'll see why in a couple of days *suspense*) and it is so funny! I had to read until the end to find out what happened. Even if your daughter can't camp she'll make a good guardbaby with that attitude! (just in the pic- I'm sure she's a sweetheart) :)