- Home Improvement
Locked Out - Get Back in Your House or Car
Desperate Housewives - Locked Out!
We had just moved into our new home. My husband left for work, and I was home with our two boys, ages 4 and 1 1/2 at the time. After changing a smelly diaper, I took it out to the garage to dump it in the garbage. The door swung closed behind me with a resounding *click*. Next thing I knew, I was locked outside.
It was 3:00 in the afternoon - hours before my husband would be home. I didn't have a cell phone with me either. Nor did I know our new neighbors. I was completely stuck. I could hear the baby start to cry inside.... now what??
My 4-year old was upstairs watching a show on T.V. I rang the doorbell and banged on the front door to no avail. He was completely oblivious. In the meantime, my toddler was looking at me through the window in the room adjacent to the entryway, crying. The dog stood there, as well. I wanted to dispatch him in a Lassie-like manner: Go - get your boy! - but he did nothing.
After 15 minutes of yelling like a banshee fool, I started to get desperate. Our home was situated on a giant hill, constructed into the side of it. Although we didn't have a basement, there was a huge crawl space under the front deck, which was at the main floor level. The yard below was at least 30 feet underneath, and there was a second story above.
I had to get inventive in order to gain entry back into the house. I walked out to our garage and grabbed a medium-sized ladder. Struggling with the contraption, I went to the deck and put it up against the house. Slowly, I climbed up the rails, but I couldn't reach the second story windows. So, back down I went. Feet back on the deck, I felt better. I'm so afraid of heights, but I still needed to get into the house. The dog started barking, adding to the noise.
There was another, much larger ladder lying on its side in the garage. I picked it up and tried to maneuver it outside. I must have been at least 20 feet long, folded up, and I found myself swaying from side to side just trying to walk it outside to the deck. Anyone watching with a video camera would have had the tape rolling. I would definitely be a star on America's Funniest Home Videos.
After finally getting the giant ladder out to the deck, I next had to prop it up without taking out any windows. Yes, I am a woman, so this feat was definitely challenging. Finally, I had the ladder leaned against the side of our home. Now, I had to contemplate climbing up about 15 feet to the second story windows. Recall that the ground underneath our deck was about 30 feet below. If I fell, I would be hitting the ground about 45 feet later. On rocks. Whew!
Even more slowly than before, I started climbing up the rungs. I wasn't sure about how steady the ladder was placed on the deck, so, in addition to being afraid of heights, I was worried about the stability of my climb. As I neared the second story window, I was trembling with fear. I couldn't go any higher. I reached my arm up towards the window of the playroom and knocked. Nothing. I tried again, knocking a bit harder. One last time.... wait. Finally, I saw a little head pop up just above the windowsill. Through clenched teeth, I said to my son: "Go downstairs and unlock the front door NOW!!!"
Lots of Places to Hide Your Key
I finally got in the house, about 1/2 hour after getting locked out. And, I didn't need to try to call my husband to rescue me, either. I learned some great lessons to avoid getting stuck outside in the future
First, make sure you always have a spare key stashed somewhere outside. There are many contraptions that you can buy that are not very obvious for hiding extra keys. Some even have combination locks to help prevent break-ins. Second, get to know your neighbors as soon as possible. If you can trust them, you may want to give them an extra set of keys to your home, and even your vehicles. Otherwise, you can at least go to them to use a phone or seek help in the event of an emergency. Finally, be aware of what is going on around you. As tough as it may be to raise kids and/or be at home with little ones, try to make sure that you always have your keys in your hand before leaving the house or your car. It may be easier said than done, but just by being aware, you may prevent getting locked out in the future.
Another great fix is to install a keypad outside your garage door (of course, this means that you have to leave the door to the inside of the house unlocked). You may enter a code to allow entry into the garage without a key or garage door opener.
Getting into your Car
I'm not kidding. I locked myself out of my car this weekend. I was parking my car, talking on my cell phone and trying to parallel park all at the same time. I also had the kids in my car. Not surprisingly, I locked everything up and shut the door - then turned around to see my keys sitting on the front seat. I got lucky this time. My husband was in town and came down to bail me out. But if you don't have someone with a spare key, what can you do?
If you have a AAA membership, you can get a lift home, or your car can get towed for free. Otherwise, you may want to try to call a car dealership to see about getting an extra key. There are simple steps: (1) look for the VIN (vehicle identification number) on the inside of the front dash; (2) call a local dealership in your area that sells cars like yours. Give them the make, model and VIN number for your car; (3) recall where proof of ownership of the car may be located (i.e. insurance information); (4) get a friend to pick you up and take you to the dealership with the VIN and proof of ownership information. Most times, you can get a replacement key for $10 or less. Whatever you do, don't go for the wire hanger routine!
Getting locked out is a common occurrence in life. But getting back in does not have to be a huge hassle. Both homes and vehicles can be accessed rather easily with hidden keys or other creative means that do not require breaking and entering! Prevention, of course, is the best measure. Don't be in a hurry and think about what you are doing with your keys when you go in and out of houses, cars, or other secure locations. I guess you might say that this advice is "key!"