Friday, November 03, 2006


Locked out

Note to self: you MUST go TODAY and have another front-door key made. Maybe two, possibly three. Really, go now!

I had the honour of attending an award ceremony for my organization yesterday. Last year I was part of a team that received our department's highest employee honour, and there was a lovely little ceremony and cocktail reception. I left the reception to catch my bus home only a little bit later than normal, but it was only when I stepped out of the National Arts Centre and into the cold damp of a November afternoon that I realized I had to pee.

I'm thirteen weeks pregnant now; I should know better than to leave anywhere without peeing first.

But luckily for me, my bus was right there, so I hopped on and crossed my legs and tried to think dry thoughts for the 30 minute ride home. And since I had the latest James Patterson novel to pass the time, I was distracted enough that I made it all the way home without incident.

I was walking toward the house from the bus stop, my shoulders huddled against the wind and thinking about how pleased I was with myself to have had the foresight to wear my winter coat this morning. In a rush, my self-satisfaction turned to dismay as my brain followed that track: I am wearing my winter coat today. Yesterday, when I went to the grocery store, I was wearing my light coat. When I left the house today, I completely forgot to grab my keys out of the pocket of my jacket. I have no keys. Beloved and the boys will not be home for another half hour at least.

I'm locked out of the house - and I have to pee.

We used to have a spare key. We need to have a spare key, because I tend to forget my keys frequently. But I gave my spare to the cleaning lady and I hadn't gotten around to replacing it yet.

I could have called my parents. They live a three-minute drive from my house, and they have a spare key. Except, just last Thursday as I came flying home from work in a panic to start getting ready to pack for the Motherlode conference, I also forgot my keys. (See? Frequently. I told you.) And I just couldn't justify calling my mother, who also goes out of her way every Tuesday to pick up the boys at daycare, to come and rescue her absent-minded 37-year-old daughter for the second time in a week. Pride comes before a fall, or a bladder emergency.

For reasons that I won't bother to explain here, I did manage to get into the garage, where I made myself comfortable on the stacked patio furniture and settled in to wait. For a few idle moments, I considered grabbing the rake and actually doing something productive with the time I had, but I was dressed in a skirt and heels and nylons for the award ceremony, and did I mention the full bladder? So I perched on the small tower of stacked lawn chairs, read my book and waited.

After about 20 minutes, I finished the book. I figured the boys would be home any minute anyway, so I opened the garage door (I had closed it partly to block the wind and partly to keep the neighbours from wondering what in the name of hell I was doing huddled and shivering on a stack of patio furniture in the garage dressed in my work clothes.)

For a long minute, I just looked out and blinked. A small part of my brain wondered idly exactly how long I had been in the garage and what weird time warp I might be experiencing. The lawn, the bench, the garden and the park across the street were covered with at least an inch of snow. For the first snow of the season to magically appear while I had my back ever-so-briefly turned was a little more than my sluggish brain could process.

Of course, the first snow also snarls traffic, and I began to sweat even as I shivered, wondering just how late Beloved might be in his hour-long drive home from the college in Quebec where he teaches. Luckily, he was most of the way home when the snowburst started, and I only had to pass another 15 minutes or so shifting unhappily on frozen toes on the porch beside the wilting and frosted jack-o-lanterns. I don't think I've ever been so happy to see my boys pull into the driveway.

Keys. Lots and lots of spare keys. One of my purse, one for each jacket, one for the neighbours, and maybe a few more secret hiding places around the house.

How many keys do you have stashed? Got any locked-out-of-the-house stories to share?