In the past few weeks, a good portion of the United States experienced what was referred to as a “Polar Vortex”. I had planned to talk about what a polar vortex is and what that really meant for the U.S., but Wikipedia was too complicated for me to really understand, so I’ll just sum it up by saying it was really damn cold. While I was not in one of the worst affected areas, it was still below 20 degrees Fahrenheit and lower with the wind chill. So, yes, very cold, for a week or more at the beginning of January. It was during this time of supreme cold weather that I realized that I had left my keys in my house. My office was having its holiday party, so I was little distracted and I left my keys before I went to work. This has not happened to me since sometime in my early college days when I locked myself out of my dorm room. I can’t remember the last time I actually locked myself out of my mother’s house or any of the apartments I rented during college and after with Matt. Oh, I thought to myself, no big deal – there is another set! Husband has one. I’ll just let him know that I don’t have mine and he can let me in when he gets home from work.
Directly after I sent him an email, I received a phone call. Through some terrible twist of fate, he had also left his key at the house. Doors are all locked. We can’t get in. The dog is in there, but as he lacks opposable thumbs and a mental capacity beyond a human toddler; we were up the proverbial creek. That creek sounds terrible. Guess what. IT IS. Matt decided to call a locksmith and went home to wait for the service provider to show up. I continued with the post holiday festivities that my office was hosting. (For the record, I got a really terrible hat shaped like a pig in a Redskin’s jersey. I was able to trade it eventually for a coffee mug with a handle shaped like an elephant. Lucky me.)
Upon returning to my cubicle, and checking my phone, I was presented with proof that that day was the most popular day of my life. Four missed calls. Hot damn. Too bad they were all from Matt (and someone else’s phone) letting me know that, 2 hours later, the locksmith hadn’t showed and Matt’s phone was dead in the water. Awesome.
Shortly after this, a friend called – Matt had been able to contact her via g-chat and she called me to give me the numbers Matt wanted me to call in order to get someone there to get our door open. So, I called the first place, which was the service that Matt had called first. I couldn’t even get to them, their system was that weird. Then, I called the next place. A strange, young sounding man came on the line. He filled his sentences with “um’s”, long pauses, and took forever to complete a sentence. He informed me that if I wanted to send someone out, it would be past their normal working hours (some people really do stop working at 5:00 PM) and they would have to be paid overtime. OK, at this point, I’m started to loose my patience, mostly because Rain Man on the phone is taking his sweet time telling me what I need to know and TIME IS A-WASTIN’. It was 4:30, surely this could work.
With a locksmith dispatched, I headed home. I arrived on the scene to a horror movie. Matt is sitting in his car, extreme displeasure on his face. To the right of his car, a child-molester van is in my spot. At our door, a skinny dude shorter than me, dressed entirely in black. He has long, frizzy, red hair tied back in a pony tale and an evil-villain skinny mustache and goatee. Even though I was standing beside Matt’s car, which is at least 8 feet from the front door, I can tell this guy was fumbling with the lock. That was his attempt to pick it. When I saw him, I knew, I KNEW, it was the same guy I had just talked to on the phone. I was right.
For the next HOUR, Matt and I watched the “locksmith” fumble with the lock, drop his keys, and display a “if I try hard enough/never give up” attitude that was frankly, impressive. Meanwhile, I’ve got a hangry (hungry +angry) Matt on my hands, because he didn’t eat before he left work (or it was feeding time, I can’t recall correctly). He’s also pissed because we had to pay for the locksmith’s “work” and we were supposed to go meet with friends in DC that night. Additionally, he’s mad at me because I didn’t pick up my phone.
Sidebar: If I got 3 dollars for every time I have called my husband with a question that seemed important at the time or felt that I needed him, and he didn’t answer, I could have paid for a whole new door. Installation included. I have said, repeatedly, to friends and family, “If I die in a ditch, Matt will be the last to know.” And now, he’s giving me crap because I didn’t answer my phone. Adorable.
During the time Matt and I had our stereotypical married people argument, I took breaks to go harass the “locksmith”. It took everything I had not to ask this poor soul if this was the first time he’d done this. And it was getting progressively colder. Meanwhile, the OTHER LOCKSMITH MATT FIRST CALLED FINALLY SHOWS. And when we told him we waited for him for too long and we had called someone else, he wanted us to pay him his fee for showing up. Oh hell no. He did not get paid. I have heard nothing further on the subject, but rest assured, I will karate chop anybody who has the balls to show up way past an extended time period and then expect someone to hand them money. The rage. Of course, it did cross my mind that maybe I should have let that guy work on the door, it might have gone quicker.
Finally, I asked villain locksmith what other options there were for getting the door open, because I’d reached the limit of how many time I could watch this dude drop his pick and shift around as if he could see into the keyhole. As it turns out, you can drill your lock, which jacks your tumblers in your locks all up, and that’s what we did. Not that it didn’t take him another 20 minutes to complete this task. So, it was roughly 7:30 by the time he managed to get us into the house. Thankfully, we did not have to pay him for the hour he dicked around with the lock, but I think that was mostly because he was super afraid of our wrath at this point. Good. All should fear me.
$216.00 dollars later, I was able to enter my house. I now have back-up keys to my back-up keys. I also check my pockets about seven times before I leave the house and ask Matt if he has his. Then I have a miniature heart-attack when I close the door. Just in case.
Could be worse.