June locked me out of the house Saturday night.
How it happened:
I threw on Jake’s size 11 muck boots and my jaunty condom chapeau (handy visual reference here)
and dashed outside in the cold to stock the fire in the outdoor wood furnace before June and I settled in to watch a few episodes of 30 Rock: Season 5 from Netflix that evening, aka, a wild Saturday night at chez Jessie!
I loaded up the wheelbarrow with logs and stacked them in the furnace. When I tried to open the screen door to the house, it was locked. I looked down on the other side of the door and there was June, staring up at me, thumb in mouth, her other hand gripping the handle from the inside.
“June, honey, unlock the door for mommy,” I said.
She grunted and toyed with the lock.
I knew she knew how to lock and unlock the screen door because I’d seen her do it a few times. But I didn’t think much of it because I was inside at the time. I did a quick mental scan of my house to determine if there was another way in. Just the previous evening, I’d gone around to all the windows to double check they were locked. I’d even checked the front door to make sure it too was bolted (since Jake’s been gone, I’ve been extra vigilant about security). I ran down to the woodshed where I’d seen an old screwdriver, thinking that perhaps I might pick the lock. Funny, a screwdriver doesn’t really fit into lock the width of a toothpick. I thought about driving over to Bill and Ellen’s, but my car keys were inside the house. I thought about hoofing it but Bill and Ellen live on top of a giant hill, or a small mountain, that, for someone huffing and puffing in the cold with an unattended toddler at home, would have felt like scaling Everest. I realized there was no way I was going to get inside my house without breaking a window. But how do you break a window with a toddler padding around inside in her bare feet?
June edged away from the door, and started walking toward the dryer located at the rear of the mudroom. Behind the dryer are three mousetraps.
“June, honey.” My voice went up a register. ”Open the door for mommy.”
She turned and gave me a half smile, thumb still in mouth.
“That’s it! Come back to the door. Open the door for mommy.” I was rapping on the door now, replicating a game we sometimes play wherein I knock on my bedroom door, she opens it and we hug.
She toddled back to the door and reached for the handle. I looked down and saw her fingers literally gripping the lock. ”That’s it, honey! Flip the switch! You can do it! I’ve seen you do it!”
This went on for 20 minutes. She came very close to releasing the lock several times, but ultimately she is still too young to comprehend what was being asked of her. She eventually plopped to her bottom and started to cry. The sight of my daughter crying alone at my feet broke my heart — I was so close yet so far — but it was far preferable to her fondling mousetraps.
I realized there was an extra set of keys in our old, beat up blue pick-up truck. June had become distracted by some toy, so I made a break for it, jumped into Old Blue and sped up the hill in overdrive — second gear — to Bill and Ellen’s house. Son-in-law Gerald didn’t bat an eyelash as he grabbed a few tools, as he, Bill and granddaughter Paige followed me back to my house. Within two minutes, Gerald had jimmied the door open with his tools without breaking or damaging the door one iota. I’ll admit, while he worked, I found myself wondering why he was so good at this particular task and why he owned such specialized tools.
June reached her arms for her hero. Gerald scooped her up, and we all went back to BIll and Ellen’s house where mommy helped herself to a giant glass of wine.
gulped sipped my wine, I couldn’t help but wonder — what if this had happened in the suburbs? Or the city? I would have had to call a locksmith. Who knows how much that would have cost and how long it would have taken him to arrive. Meanwhile, Gerald had picked the lock in less than two minutes without a scratch on the door. It occurred to me that the reason he knows how to do this stuff and owns the right tools is because in the country, you gotta be your own locksmith.
In other words, I’ll probably want to take Gerald’s advice and hide a key somewhere outside.
Thanks again, Gerald, Bill, Ellen, Yvonne and Paige for saving my butt yet again.