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Locked Out and Broken In

The good news is that I am inside my house again and nothing was broken that wasn’t already broken anyway. As an empty nester, down two grown children and one immature, god-awful ex-husband, I live alone with my huge dog and yellow tabby cat. I love them and they provide me with socialization opportunities. Frankly, they are great conversationalists, which is to say that they know how to listen.

I got home from the store, grateful for the excellent air conditioning in my car. I had purchased pet supplies and people supplies, which included cold foodstuffs. I am smart enough to know that you take the cold stuff inside immediately on 100+ degree days. On this day, I put the already melting groceries directly into the refrigerator. One load in, done.

Next, it was time to bring in the things that didn’t require refrigeration. I opened the trunk with my remote key hanging in the coat closet. I inspected the front door lock. I thought to myself, “I do not want to lock myself out on a day like today!” It was about 10 degrees cooler than hell’s polar region. I carefully shut the door to keep the coolness inside instead of out. Click. Yep, that stupid door locked anyway.

“Well,” I comforted myself, “I often forget to lock the patio door when I let the dog out.” Of course that required a walk through the jungle of my backyard, replete with what I assume are hearty weeds or spindly saplings. Grass refuses to grow back there, while it thrives in the cracks of my driveway. But, nope, the patio door was locked tight. Not to worry, though, the upper deck has a patio door also. I often forget to… nope, locked tight.

“The garage,” I thought, “I can often break in through the garage.” However, I have recently become more aware of safety and I check that door frequently. The deadbolt was secure, even though the door knob was negotiable. “Why did I pick today to be so safe?”

Two choices were left, enter through a window or greet the neighbors to borrow a phone. My mobile phone was currently stationary, right beneath the keys hanging in the closet. Everyone has a day job in my neighborhood except the neighborhood gossip. My policy is to only say hello to her, and that’s when I can’t run away before she sees me. Window it is.

I broke into my own house once before when my oldest progeny was much younger. They were smaller and got through the least obvious window in the house. It is located under the upper deck and it gets you into the basement. Once inside, there is a nine-inch wide ledge encircling all outer walls. Then, it’s about four feet to the ground. My young and agile child was able to traverse the window and the ledge quickly, and then they opened the door for me. Standing in front of that window below the deck made me feel nostalgic. That twelve year-old is long gone, replaced by an adult that I adore, but who lives across town and was at work that day.

Being alone and somewhat eccentric, I began having this conversation with myself. “I am alone in this world.”

“Well, sort of. Just right now. I mean, we have a dog and a cat. We’re not completely alone. We were just at the grocery store and there were people there. So, we are not entirely alone.”

“I’m pretty sure the gossip is watching.”

“She may be, but that is none of our business. Remember that’s what makes her a gossip and we don’t want to be like her.”

“I have to do this myself, dang it.”

“It’s okay to be independent. It’s okay to be by yourself. The world will not end.”

“I don’t want get dirty.”

“That appears to be inevitable.”

“That window is small. I don’t think I can get through it.”

“Look, it’s the window or the gossip. Suck it up and try!”

It is important to my ego for you to know that I can fit through the same window my young child got through. It’s ugly. It takes maneuvering. But, I can do it.

I opened that window and shimmied my frame through, half in and half out. The ledge, too small to contain me fully was counter-balanced by my other half which was getting filthy under the deck. I considered how I would safely get to the floor. The computer, printer, monitor, and a consortium of cords, entangled in an electronic web of life were everywhere under that window. Falling was a possibility; and, I wanted to fall someplace softer if that became unavoidable. Also, I didn’t want to buy a new computer.

The more obvious window located on the side of the house is over a couch. That side is, coincidentally, in full view of the neighborhood gossip’s house. Remember, all accessible windows go into the basement and are only inches off the ground. Getting inside requires crawling and then possibly falling. However, if I did fall, the couch would be softer, longer, and no innocent electronics would be destroyed. This less discreet window, in full view of “the great purveyor of information,” was the better choice for my mature adult body.

Having practiced on the previous window, I knew getting in was possible. I am quite certain that I was not graceful. I’m 100% certain that I showed the gossip the full view of my very best side as I climbed in. (Oh, you know she was watching!) I do think my pants were sufficiently pulled up and no skin of my ample butt was showing.

Falling was unnecessary, but the couch was a good choice. I laid there for a moment feeling both sorry for myself and exhausted. With nothing broken and no injuries, I called it a win. I didn’t feel victorious, but I got myself back into my home.

As I brought in the rest of my haul, I pondered this new existence with no one around to whom I might assign unpleasant tasks. I suppose I will have to kill my own bugs now, too.

(Image by: Flickr User Alan Levine)