September 2, 2009

Leave an Open Door: A Cautionary Tale

Tuesday morning was off to a great start. Charlie and I were both up, dressed, and ready to greet the public at an unusually early hour, for us anyway. The main stop on our itinerary was the grocery store. Shopping with an almost 2 year old can be rough. And grocery shopping is the worst. I've found that going immediately after breakfast when Charlie is fresh and spirits aren't quite so high, is the perfect time to make the trek.

So things were off to a great start, and we were all ready to go. I stepped outside with the dogs for an extended bathroom break since we would be gone for a few hours. The dogs finally obliged, and we turned to go back inside. I was lost in pre-grocery shopping thought: “Should we get the deli turkey or the packaged cheaper stuff? I wonder how we are doing on ketchup... Probably also need to pick up TP while we're at it...” And then I stopped in my tracks when I tried to turn the doorknob, and it wouldn't turn. With me and the dogs outside. And Charlie inside peering out at me.

My first thought was that Charlie had just pushed the door really hard and the doorknob was being difficult. This is often the case with this door. If you slam it or close it too hard, something inside doesn't line up quite right and it can be hard to turn the knob and open it. So, I'll just try it again. No luck. That's when I realized that I was locked out. By an almost 2 year old. Who was grinning at me from inside and probably thinking “This is a fun game, Mama!”

So now I think that if Charlie turned the lock on the knob, he can turn it back, right? I immediately became a mime, playing the most expressive game of charades to save my life. But how exactly do you imitate a doorknob and then the turning of the lock on the knob to a toddler? I did the best I could but knew I was getting nowhere, and Charlie was starting to get frustrated. The last thing I wanted was a freaked out little boy with unsupervised access to the whole house.

Trying to think of an alternate way to get in, I cursed our dedication to home security. No unlocked windows or doors. Even the one garage door that is currently “being worked on” was locked down tight. Getting into the garage was probably a futile thought anyway. Even if I had been able to get in, finding the key to the back door that Dave hid in there would've been impossible.

So I was at a loss all around. I finally bit the bullet and headed over to the neighbors. Let me say at this point that we have lovely neighbors. Carol is a retired nurse with a short cap of perpetually blond hair and the sunny disposition to match. Her husband Archie is an ex-Army handy-man type who has some sort of complicated engineering project management job that I'll never really understand. He is three years away from retiring and they'll be moving to Kerrville, Texas, to be near their son. I'm going to miss them when they are gone.

Anyway, back to me. I walked around the house and was never more grateful to see Carol's minivan in their driveway. I knocked quietly as not to disturb their passel of dogs. We share a love for unruly dogs, and I dread the sound of the doorbell at my house. After another louder knock, I just ring the doorbell and an explosion of barking ensues. Much like it would at our house, only it's divided by four at Carol's. Yep, four dogs. And all are rescues and someone else's castaways. Have I said that I really like our neighbors?

I hear scurrying inside and Carol soon appears. I apologize for bothering her so early (it's probably 9:30 by now), and she replies brightly “Oh no, I've been up since 5:30!” Of course she has. I explain the morning's events and you can see her personality immediately switch over to Nurse/Grandmother/Solver of the World's Problems. When I explain that I really just need use the phone to call Dave to come home and let me in, I think she was truly disappointed that we weren't going to have to physically break in. She has a grandson close to Charlie's age living in Boston, and I think she felt nice to be needed. I called Dave who happened to be even farther away downtown running errands with his uncle. But he assured me that they were finished and he would be there ASAP.

By this time, I had not checked on Charlie for 10-15 minutes and had visions only moms can imagine running through my head. I was fearful of what I was going to see when I looked through the back door. But all the worrying was for naught. Charlie was sitting right by the door, not even missing me, playing contentedly with his toys. We played a few games through the door while the dogs, also oblivious, enjoyed their extended time in the morning sunshine.

Soon after, I heard the garage door open and saw Charlie run to the door to greet Daddy. We had a big laugh and were all relieved that nothing bad happened. I was so thankful that Charlie is such a good boy and wasn't running through the house with knives and lighted matches as I had envisioned. And almost as importantly, that I had my act together enough that morning to put on clothes before taking the dogs outside.


Wendy said...

Thanks for the laughs this morning! I'm so glad it turned out okay and Charlie never even missed a beat. Now you will have to worry about him trying to EXIT the house without you knowing. Fun times up ahead! :-)

Nicci said...

Oh, my. I'm glad you had on a bra and pants and stuff. At 9:30, I would not have.