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Locked Out…Again!



Joined: 6/22/2011
Posts: 293
warren
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 www.retired--nowwhat.com.
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