Tip for the day: Keep your spouse informed

March 28th, 2008

“You stay right there,” I said to Bubbers yesterday while he was holding onto the couch in our family room, “I’m going to take the trash out and I’ll be right back.”

I hefted the trash bag out of the can and quickly walked out to the garage.

Humming to myself, I threw the bag into the garbage bin and turned back to go inside.

I reached out and took hold of the door knob that led back into the house and gave it a good turn.

But it didn’t open.

I stared at the knob in confusion and tried again, but it still didn’t turn.

Suddenly my brain registered that the door was locked.

What?! There’s no way it’s locked! I thought as I frantically tried again and again, We’ve never locked this door before. We don’t even have a key to it!!!

But no matter how many times I tried to turn the knob, it didn’t budge.

And suddenly I heard a playful squeal from Bubbers inside the house and my heart rate shot up to 4,000 beats per minute.

Holy garbage!!! I thought as all the blood drained from my face, I’m locked out of the house and my son’s still inside!!!

My breath started coming in short spurts and my mind raced.

What do I do?? What do I do??!!??

I had no phone. No keys. Nothing that would help me get back inside.

I knew all the other doors to the house were locked, but just in case I slammed the button that opened the garage door and sprinted around to try all the doors.

No luck! They were all locked just as I expected.

Trying not to panic, I turned around and sprinted through the cold air with no jacket to a neighbor’s house.

I punched the doorbell and waited impatiently.

But nobody answered.

I sprinted across the street to another neighbor’s house, but still no answer.

Come on!!! I wanted to scream, Someone has to be home!!

With every second that went by I feared more and more for Bubbers’ safety.

The house isn’t all baby-proofed, yet! my mind screamed at me.

Horrible scenarios started playing in my head.

What if he crawls under the sink and swallows all the 409??

Or pulls off a furnace vent cover and falls inside the vent??

Or climbs up the stairs, slips, falls and hits his head on the hardwood floor??

Finally, I found a house with music playing inside.

Someone has to be home here! I thought with relief.

A sweet looking elderly lady answered the door.

“Hi, my name is Heidi and I just moved in a couple houses down,” I said quickly, pointing in the direction of my house.

“Oh, yes, dear,” she said with a kind smile, “I knew someone had moved in, but I hadn’t seen you, yet. My name’s Sharon.”

“Hi Sharon,” I tried to smile back, “I’m sorry, this is a terrible way to meet, but I just locked myself out of my house and my little boy is still inside. May I use your phone to call the police?”

“Oh my!” she said and opened her screen door for me to come in, “Yes, of course.”

She handed me the phone and I was so distraught I could barely remember how to use one.

My shaking fingers dialed “9-9-1”.

Oh garbage!! I thought to myself in frustration as I clumsily cleared the phone and tried again.

The phone rang a few times and then someone answered.

“What is the nature of your emergency?” the voice on the other line asked.

“I locked myself out of the house and my one-year-old child is still inside,” I said as fast as my articulators would let me.

“What’s your address?”

I told him.

“Where are you now?”

“At a neighbor’s house.”

“What’s your name?”

I told him.

“Okay, we’ll send an officer out to help you,” he said and we hung up.

Partially relieved, but partially confused, I thought, What now? Do I just sit here and wait for them?

Not knowing what else to do, I profusely thanked my neighbor and told her I was going back to my house to be near my son.

She was very kind and asked if there was anything else she could do to help, but I said no and quickly left, sprinting back to my house.

I hurriedly got a coat out of the garage to keep me warm and went around to the front porch.

Plastering my face against the window, I peered inside to see if Bubbers was within sight.

I couldn’t see him, but I could hear his little babbling coming from the kitchen. And it wasn’t long before he toddled along the wall out of the kitchen and spotted my face smashed up to the living room window.

“Eeee!” he squealed with a smile and pointed at me.

“Hi there!” I replied loudly as if nothing was wrong, “How are you doing?”

“Aaa-eee!” he squealed back and watched me expectantly.

We chatted back and forth for a while as I prayed that he wouldn’t go near the stairs and the police would come soon.

But it wasn’t long before he figured out that Mommy was oddly transfixed to the window and was not coming back inside like he wanted.

And he started to cry.

He held onto the wall, pointed at his Mommy’s flattened face and cried angry tears.

I was so relieved that he was safe and staying in one place that his crocodile tears didn’t bother me at all.

I just kept my nose pressed to the glass and told him everything was okay, and waited to hear the sound of a police car pulling into my driveway.

Eventually, though, Bubbers got tired of standing there yelling at me and he moved back into the kitchen to continue his complaining in solitude.

I smeared my face from side to side, trying to get a better look inside but knew it was impossible to see through the walls without magic laser vision.

So then I turned my face and smashed my ear to the glass, straining to hear the Bubbers man. He would still cry out from time to time, so I knew he was still okay.

Suddenly I heard the sound of two cars pull up and stop in front of my house.

In no time flat, I hurdled off the front porch, plowed through the bushes and practically assaulted the tall young officer who stepped out of one of the police cars.

He looked at me and smiled, “So, I hear you have a burglar.”

Three other officers got out and joined him.

“I wish!” I replied, “I didn’t know my husband locked the garage door, so when I took out the trash I got locked out of the house and my son is still inside!”

I rambled on like the frantic mother I was as we all followed the tall officer around the outside of my house, and I wondered why he was moving so slowly and didn’t seem worried at all.

“Do you have a back door?” he asked calmly.

“Yes,” I answered, “But the gate is locked and we can’t get to it.”

“What about your other doors and windows?”

“All locked,” I wrung my hands.

“You need to teach my roommates how to lock up,” an even younger officer suddenly piped in, stepping up next to me and smiling, then shyly looking away.

I stared at him and thought with absolute disbelief, Holy smokes, are you flirting with me?!

The other officers were smiling and trying to joke along.

I wasn’t amused.

My baby is all alone locked inside my house mixing Comet with 409 and eating it and you guys are out here joking around and flirting with me!?! This can’t be happening…..

I was about to lose it when the tall officer asked me, “Do you have a screw driver?”

Relieved that he was going to take some action, I answered, “Yes, but I’m not sure where my husband put it.”

I hurriedly found some tool boxes and opened them all, practically dumping all the contents on the floor in case it would make things go faster.

The tall officer found a screw driver and a hammer.

Then he turned and looked at an older officer standing nearby and said, “I saw my friend do this once.”

And he started clumsily hammering at my door knob.

That’s when I realized two things:

1) He had no earthly idea what he was doing.

2) If my baby was going to be rescued, I had to take matters into my own hands.

I turned and headed for the side of the house, determined to scale the fence and claw my way through our French doors.

Then I vaguely heard the older officer kindly ask the tall young officer, “Did you try…..?”

And I was almost to the fence when I heard the officers suddenly shout, “We got it!”

Turning back, I saw the door swinging wide open and the light pouring out of my house.

That’s when my spirit separated from my body and I watched myself running in slow motion past all four men, leaping up the stairs, bursting inside and sliding into the kitchen.

Bubbers was standing there holding onto the wall with wet, red cheeks and a loud, angry cry.

Without slowing down, I scooped him up and held him in my arms.

“It’s okay! It’s okay!” I cooed over and over and over again, comforting myself more than him.

I walked him back to the garage and he stopped crying when he spotted the four strange men standing there.

“Thank you so much!” I said, reaching out to shake the tall officer’s hand, immediately repenting of the frustration I’d felt towards them just moments earlier.

He shook my hand and smiled. Then they all smiled at Bubbers and we said goodbye.

We waved and watched them get in their cars and leave.

Then I turned back into the house and thanked Heavenly Father that my Bubbers was safe and everything turned out okay.

And I spent the rest of the day holding my little boy tight with every door in the house unlocked and propped wide open.

—–

Phew!

I tell you what, that was one scary experience!

Afterwards, I called Charming and told him what happened and he felt so bad.

“I am so sorry! I suddenly decided to lock that door last night and totally forgot to tell you!” he said apologetically.

Then we made a plan to make sure it would never happen again.

At the end of the conversation, Charming said, “You know you could have broken a window if Bubbers really needed you, right?”

I paused, then I laughed, “Holy smokes, that never even occurred to me!!”

“Are you serious?!” Charming replied in disbelief.

“Yes,” I said honestly, “I was so distraught that never even crossed my mind. I’m so glad you said that so I’ll know next time!”

—–

As you can see, this was a great learning experience for Charming and I.

And in addition to learning a great many things, I also came away being grateful for many things, not the least of which were:

1) Bubbers was safe

2) Officers were available to help and figured out a way to break in

3) I wasn’t wearing my fluffy blue robe

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21 Comments

apple | 3/28/2008 1:13 pm

I was thinking while I was reading “Why doesn’t she just break a window?” I bet by now you have started putting child locks on all the cabinets and toilet and outlets huh?!? HE HE

 
Heidi | 3/28/2008 1:29 pm

LOL! I was just now using the drill to put in some cabinet locks!! :):) (Yeah, I can’t believe it never even dawned on me that I could try and break in myself–for some reason I had this idea that I HAD to wait for the police to come and do it for me… Very bizarre!)

 
Stacey | 3/28/2008 1:55 pm

I don’t find this story funny at all! I’ve feared that I will do the same thing many times, but in the car. I toss my keys onto the front seat a lot while I’m buckling Austin in the carseat and I always think to myself “what IF the door lock button gets pushed when I toss my keys and then Austin is locked in here without me?”

We’ve locked ourselves out of our house before and paid a locksmith about $60 to open it. At least the police were free!

 
Heidi | 3/28/2008 2:03 pm

Oh, Stacey–I hope I didn’t offend you!… It certainly wasn’t funny to me either, but afterwards I tried to find the humor in it, since it all turned out okay.

If you ever do lock Austin in the car, you can call the police, too. The reason I thought of calling the police was remembering something that happened when I was still working–a parent locked her children in the car and they weren’t strong enough to unlock it and get out. She called the police and they unlocked it for her. She told me that if children are involved and in danger, you can call the police for help.

And I agree–it’s nice that the police are free (and pretty fast!). :)

 
Heidi | 3/28/2008 3:19 pm

Wow! I’m glad everyone is okay now. Maybe hiding a key around the outside of your house would be a good idea. :) I have to watch out now when I go outside because Kate can lock the doors and she did it once to me, but luckily I ran to the front door to get in before she locked that one!

 
Heidi | 3/28/2008 4:30 pm

Oh, no! That would be tricky to have someone TRYING to lock me out! :)

Yeah, the spare key would be great–the weird thing is the previous owner only gave us one key that only unlocks one of the doors. So we need to get that fixed…

 
Wandering Nana-Linda | 3/28/2008 9:35 pm

Okay, your experience was far more scary but I did the same thing about 6 weeks ago. It was freezing outside and I decide to clean up after the dog. I went out the sliding door and as I closed it I heard something drop, yep, that stupid stick that I put in the door when I’m not home. My big dog was inside just looking at me. I knew all the doors were locked. I went to the house foreman (they are still building houses in our neighborhood. He couldn’t help. I asked to borrow his phone, called Mark but he said it would be hours before he could be home and told me to call Sara. Okay. I hung up and then realized I didn’t have any numbers. My car was unlocked so I told the guy I would wait in the car for Mark. 30 minutes later I had covered myself with 2 black garbage sacks (it really helped) as the blankets that should be there were in the house being washed. 1 hour later, I was really cold when Sara shows up as Mark had called to check on me. That night we went to Lowe’s to make an extra key.We were going to buy something to put it in outside the house. The guy suggested a key in a baby food jar and then bury the jar. I did this and within the week got locked out again, uncovered the jar used the key and buried it again. I check the door every time now but I’m still glad to know that I do have a way in if it ever happens again. Sorry you had to go thru this. I’m glad it was okay.

 
andrea | 3/29/2008 7:00 am

hey heidi,
thanks for letting me know for isabelle’s birthday party. i hope all goes well for you guys and are able to sell your other house. i will have to come see the new house!!!!!

 
Kara | 3/29/2008 7:17 am

Wow, that would have been scary. I’m glad everything turned out okay! William likes to lock me out too. It usually happens when I’m carrying a lot of stuff and have to set it down outside the door to unlock it. William is always the first one in, and lately he’s started slamming the door and locking it before I can get everything in. I’ve made the mistake a couple of times of setting my keys on the table as I walked back out to get the rest of the stuff off the porch. Luckily, we’re still in an appartment, and I can get the office to unlock the door. I’ve tried to make sure my keys are still in hand whenever I go back out now.

 
Tearese | 3/29/2008 8:36 am

I wouldn’t have thought to call the police, good thinking! I would have been wandering around the house for 20 minutes trying to get in, the called my husband and people from church to see if they knew how to get in.

 
Jesse | 3/29/2008 9:17 am

An ordeal to be sure! I locked the keys in the car with Gracie strapped in her car seat once. It is such a helpless feeling. I think your situation was worse because little B man was on the loose. So glad every thing turned out ok!

 
charlotte | 3/29/2008 10:03 am

What a harrowing experience!! I’m so glad everything turned out all right. But… and I feel like a bad friend for asking this… did I miss Bubbers’ first b-day? I didn’t think he was one yet *shame*

And yeah, hiding a key is a good idea. Jonas locked Sam and I out of the house just a couple of months ago. It was freezing and Micah was inside napping. I was able to push out the basement window though and climb in. We don’t spank but I tell you I came mighty close that day.

 
Heidi | 3/29/2008 10:53 am

Wow–thanks for your comments, everyone, and I’m glad your similar experiences turned out okay, too! (Wandering Nana–Great idea with the buried baby food jar! I’ve never heard that before.) Also, I’m happy to report that the one and only key the previous owners left for us is now safely stowed and available for me to use should this ever happen again! :)
—–
Andrea: Thank you! We’re so sad to miss it, but we hope it goes well! And we’d love for you to see the new house whenever you want. :):)
—–
Kara: Oh, how nice that the office can let you back in! William sure sounds fast. :)
—–
Tearese: LOL! I’m sure you would have figured out something very clever! :)
—–
Jesse: Oh, no! What did you do when you locked Gracie in the car? Call the police? I locked myself out of the car once (before I had Bubbers), and from then on carried a spare in my purse (oddly enough, I forgot to get the keys out before I left the car, but I never forget my purse). :) That is nice that she was buckled in and safe, though.
—–
Charlotte: You’re absolutely right! He’s not one for a couple more weeks, but I rounded up in the interest of time and urgency. :) Sorry about the confusion! So you’re NOT a bad friend and you totally amaze me at how well you remember birthdays! (And even if you had missed it, you’d STILL be an awesome friend!) And I’m glad you got in okay when Jonas locked you and Sam out!

 
Ailene Hert | 3/29/2008 2:56 pm

Wow… scary! One time Jared and I stepped out of the house for a minute, and went back only to hear a happy little boy at the locked door. Our son and daughter were in the house, and they locked us out! Little stinkers…

 
Heather | 3/29/2008 6:42 pm

Those moments are scary ones. Once I tossed my keys in the car while strapping Abe (less than 6 months old) into his carseat. I shut the door, walked around to put Hannah in her seat and I heard the car lock. Panic!!! here it was, about 5 p.m. in Phoenix Arizona and it was like 105 outside. I knew I had a spare key to the car in my apartment but I didn’t have a key to my apartment since it was on my keychain. And I couldn’t get a hold of Jimmy because he was at school. I really just think I didn’t think too clearly since I was thinking I would end up on the news as one of those awful mothers who leaves her child in the car in the heat. So I ran to this guy’s house who was kindof weird but so nice anyways… I called 911 and of course they sent a bazillion people with firetrucks and police and all. The fireman and policeman couldn’t jimmy the locks (hello??). Finally we got the apartment people to unlock my apartment so I could get a spare key. That definitely taught me not to leave my keys in the car. Sorry for this long story. But your story just reminded me. Yikes! Our doors to our house seem like they are open from the inside when really they are locked from the outside. I’m thinkin’ that isn’t the safest thing. Why do they have those kind of locks. Anyhooo… so glad bubbers was okay. :) Oh – one time that happened to my friend in Phoenix and she had to take off her shirt to throw over the top of the fence (because it was way too hot) to run to the neighbors house). ok – sorry for the long comment.

 
Heidi | 3/29/2008 7:36 pm

Ailene: Oh no! What did you do?? Did he unlock it again for you or did you have the complex open it for you? Or did you have a spare key?
—–
Heather: Don’t EVER feel bad about long comments–I LOVE them! :):) What a scary story with your kids in the car in the heat! I’m glad they were able to get your spare key from your apartment!

Our door does the same thing–it turns on the inside like it’s not locked at all. Which is another reason I had no idea it was locked when I went into the garage to take out the trash. Charming mentioned that when I talked to him about it later–how he wished it let you know it was locked! I agree–not the safest thing.

Wait, so your friend was SHIRTLESS running to her neighbor’s house? Or she had two shirts and took one off?…

 
Sarah B. | 3/29/2008 9:49 pm

I was gripping the edge of my seat during your whole narrative! I think I would have been just a dumb about breaking the window-too rebellious :) I’ve done a similiar thing but was rescued by a long ruler and a cat door-long story! Glad everyone was safe!!

 
Chelle | 3/30/2008 7:00 am

I too was transfixed by the harrowing tale! In moments of panic, sometimes we forget a common sense approach. It makes much more sense to break a window than waiting for 911 to resuce your son from a toxic 408/Comet cocktail, but you were so focused on getting him out that those simple options don’t even register. Under the circumstances, I think you did a great job keeping a level head and solving the problem in the best way you could think of!

 
Melissa | 3/30/2008 3:36 pm

Heidi – I’m so glad everything worked out for you! I hope you don’t think me insensitive, but I have to admit I was chuckling as I read it. I think because you wrote it so well – so much detail and insight into how panicked you were! You poor thing! Nothing like Mommy Panic to drive a woman to do just about anything! ;) My boys have locked me out of the house on more than one occasion, once with newborn Lizzy asleep in her swing! (Thankfully my frantic pounding on the door scared one of them into unlocking it…) We keep our keys next to the front door so now I try to remember to grab them even if I think I’m only going outside for a second…

And since you don’t mind long comments :), here’s my funny story: One Saturday during the summer that I was prego w/ Lizzy, Bill took Matt to get haircuts while Jacob was napping. I went out into the garage (through a door with one of those locks like yours) to put something away and while I was out there I noticed a large wasp or hornet buzzing around near the doorway. Without thinking I slammed the door shut to prevent the bee from coming in to the house…and of course, I locked myself in. >:( Great. I was dressed, but barefoot. I went through another door in our garage that leads to the back yard, found Bill’s gigantic, muddy hiking boots and clomped all around the perimeter of the house trying to find an open door or window, but no luck. (Thankfully, Jacob was still sleeping!) Swallowing my pride I went next door (still in those silly boots), rang our neighbor’s doorbell and asked to use their phone. I stood in their kitchen (barefoot and pregnant, my neighbor playfully pointed out!) and called Bill, who of course was in the middle of his haircut. After he and Matt were through they came and rescued me…And now I have an almost obsessive habit of making sure the door out to the garage is UNlocked before I even open it! ;)

 
Melissa | 3/30/2008 3:40 pm

And by the way, if you buy new doorknobs/locks for all the (locking) doors in your house, you can take them all to the key place at Home Depot or Lowes or whatever and have them all re-keyed so that they will all use the same key…That’s what we did, so we didn’t need so many different keys… :)

 
Ailene Hert | 3/31/2008 4:06 pm

Heidi… we had to call maintenance… and it was after hours… but about 30 minutes later the maintenance guy showed up to let us in… we walked in and discovered happy children. Why wouldn’t they be happy? They just had free reign of the house with no parental supervision! :)

 

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