STAGE OF LIFE       Share Your Story       Coupons       Education Resources
Sign Up Now!

Locked Out…Again!

Joined: 6/22/2011
Posts: 293
The Homeowner Editor’s welcome described her trials and tribulations on being locked out of her home. It reminded me that I still need to find a hiding place for our house key.

Breaking In

The first time I locked myself out, I was living alone in Upstate New York. I drove into the garage, which was under the house, got out of the car, grabbed shopping bags from the trunk, and couldn’t open the basement door. I can’t recall why I didn’t have my key to open the deadbolt lock, but I didn’t.

After returning the bags to the trunk, I walked around the perimeter of the house, marveling at how safe I would have been if I were inside. Every door and window was locked shut.

Being new to breaking and entering, though equipped with basic tools I kept in my car trunk, I decided to go for the basement door rather than destroy a window. I removed the door hinge pins, which were on the garage side of the door, and more-or-less chiseled the door out from the door frame. It only took about 30 minutes if you don’t count the hour spent repairing the door and door frame.

Saved by the Bell

The last time I locked myself out was in our present home. I returned from jogging at 0-dark hundred, took the front-door key from my pocket, and…whoosh…the key flew into the darkness, where I gave up searching.

Like most people at that hour, my wife, Vicki, was sleeping. When I departed our second-floor bedroom, I closed the bedroom door, placing her beyond easy listening to the front doorbell. Even if I’d left the door open, she probably wouldn’t have stirred. It’s not that Vicki doesn’t wake easily; it’s the nature of the waker-upper.

If I whisper it’s time to get up, that can work. If the alarm clanged at the fire station, where she spent nights as an EMT volunteer, she’d usually respond quickly. If the alarm clock on her night stand, a foot or so from her ear goes off, that’s probably not going to do it, especially since she can reach the clock.

I could have whistled loudly. (My grandmother taught me; two fingers.) The whistle may or may not have worked, but who needs police responding to a neighbor’s complaint? I also voted against throwing pebbles at the bedroom window. Such actions were fraught with possible error and weren’t guaranteed to wake her.

Should I just wait a few more hours for daybreak to renew my search for the key or until the neighbors let their dogs out? Vicki may have given the neighbors an extra key, or I could at least telephoned. Our phone ringer would be on by that time, which isn’t to say she would hear it with the bedroom door shut.

Clearly, my best shot at immediate access was to go with the doorbell buzzer and complement that by slamming the brass front-door knocker. It worked! Vicki opened the door after only took about 20 minutes of buzzing and brass knocking.

Being half asleep, she took it well. But I’d still better find a place to hide a key.
Copyright 2012 by Warren R. Philipson. All Rights Reserved. A version of this blog post appeared on
Rate this:

Homeowners blog on StageofLife.comAbout Us is a blogging community for homeowners.  It allows people who own their home to share stories about the adventure of home ownership in an online life journal via their free Stage of Life account.  Read the blogs and stories about home ownership, or check out the writing contest for homeowners, quotes about owning a home, home etiquette, videos about owning a home, discounts for homeowners, and other resources for having a baby on  Register to start your free profile, share an essay about your home, and pass along your wisdom to help us change the world, one story at a time.  If you are a college professor, teacher or educator - review our literacy, blogging and writing resources

Stage of Life Writing Contests

writing contests

Enter National Writing ContestWriting Contests

From 2010 to 2016, ran a monthly, multi-generational writing contest.  With over 3,000,000 visitors and tens of thousands of participating students, teachers, parents, and bloggers involved over half a decade, grew into the world's largest multi-generational writing community. writing contestsWhere is the Writing Contest Now?  As grew into a global writing destination, the coordination of managing an international writing contest became too time intensive for the website's owners.  So starting on Sept. 4, 2016, unfortunately had to end the writing contest portion of its services. 

However, we are now actively looking for new owners of who may want to carry on the mission of helping to change the world, one story at a time.  If you know someone who may be interested in taking to the next level, we can share details around the opportunity.  Please send an email to our owners if there's interest to acquire the website.

But in the meantime, there's still plenty to see and do here - just check out the various links and menus on the page.

Past Annual Writing Contest Results:  While the energy and time to carry on the writing contest has come to a close, you can see summary reports and the winners from the monthly contests on our Writing Contest Winners page.  Tens of thousands of people have submitted essays over the last six years.  Our editorial team has been extremely grateful for all of the wonderful essays shared over the years - words and stories that have helped us change the world, one story at a time.

Sincerely, owners Eric & Rebecca Thiegs and Joe & Lisa Thiegs

Bragging rights, international recognition, and gift card prizes were part of the fun for participants of the free writing contests on

Mentions for the Stage of Life teen writing contests, teen trend reports, etiquette Q&A, and teacher resources by...

Our writing contests mentioned by
Our Teen Trend Report mentioned by MarketWatch Our etiquette resources mentioned by FOX Business Educator tips mentioned by Mashable


Each month over half a decade, Stage of Life hosted and judged writing contests for both students and adults.  We thank the below brands - our educational sponsors - who supplied gift cards as prizes for the winning essays as we helped the change the world through blogging, storytelling, and our literacy-based initiatives...

 Writing contest sponsor  Writing contest sponsor on  Blogging contest prize sponsor Spa & Wellness gift cards by SpaWeek writing contestsWhat made our writing contests different?

  • Stage of Life writing contests were always free to enter
  • Essays from our blogging and writing contests have been picked up by the media, e.g., and used by teachers as mentor texts across the globe
  • We wanted to hear your personal, authentic thoughts on real world topics each month.  We picked writing prompts for which your answers and wisdom may help our readers
  • We awarded the winners with real prizes (cash and/or gift cards) from our site sponsors
  • By entering the Stage of Life writing contests each month, writers were supporting our free educational literacy initiatives and their words reached hundreds of thousands of viewers who visited

Find Us on Facebook      Follow Us on Twitter     Read our Founder's Blog was launched in 2009 as the premier destination for people of all ages to find information, coupons, and stories about one of ten key stage of life transitions:  high school, college, on my own, wedding, married without children, having a baby, home ownership, parenting, grand parenting, and empty nest/retirement.  Nearly 1 million visitors come to the site each year to find information about their stage of life.  Stage of Life users (teens, college students, Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) can also share and archive their life stories via their Stage of Life profile page.  Specialized content includes statistics, quotes, videos, financial tips, coupons, news, writing contests, and more tailored to each of the 10 life stages featured.  My Life Rewards® is the free discount program for all Stage of Life users, readers and writers dedicated to providing printable coupons and coupon codes tailored towards each stage of life.

Terms of Service and Privacy