Monday, December 26, 2016

A Friendly Reminder to Make Some Spare Keys

We all get to agree that 2016 was a weird year. I say "was" even though it isn't actually over yet. I'm confident in the statement anyway. Nothing can happen in the next few days to make 2016 not a weird year.

So it shouldn't have been a surprise when this morning happened.

It started snowing on Christmas Eve in Salt Lake City. Apocalypse snowing. Snowing so much that there is currently an avalanche risk in Ecuador.

I know we're supposed to just be super happy about snow on Christmas because all of the songs have manipulated us into believing that it makes the season more magical. But I will not be duped.

Snow is a necessary evil in my neck of the woods. I appreciate it for hydrating the land and cleansing the air. But it is not magical.

It is cold, wet, and it always feels vindictive. Like, I don't know for sure if God is using it as a punishment, but every time I see the first snow flakes of the season start descending upon us I can't help but wonder if it's happening because of all the trashy television I watched throughout the year.

By the time I woke up on Christmas morning there was so much snow that I could only open the door to my driveway with great difficulty. There was over a foot at my house and it was still coming down. It looked like this outside.

No. This is not beautiful. This ruins lives.

It took me over an hour to shovel my 12,000-foot-long driveway and dig my car out of it so I could risk my life driving to Bob and Cathie's house for family festivities.

Mr. Pants, who has been staying with me, is just beside himself. He doesn't know where to go potty since the snow is taller than him. So he keeps walking circles around the covered patio in my backyard before finally taking a crap on the cement while communicating through his eyes that he doesn't know what else to do.

It's hard being one foot tall.

Christmas ended. And then I woke up this morning and continued the nightmare.

I decided to take the day to dejunk my house, which of course meant that I opened one drawer, found a stack of old letters, and then spent the next several hours reading them before falling asleep on the floor.

But before that happened I did show the slightest amount of ambition when I up and decided to take a load of materials out to the recycling bin, which had been sitting by the back door exactly 12 feet away from the bin on my driveway for 7 weeks because I'm a lazy suckface and I don't deserve happiness.

I knew I was ill-dressed to venture into the snow or public, but because the bin was only 12 feet away from the door, I figured it would be fine to just quickly walk to it, deposit my responsibility, and quickly walk back inside.

So I pulled on a pair of boots, stepped outside, habitually pulled the door shut behind me, accomplished my task, congratulated myself with undo credit, and then walked back to the door.

And that's when I discovered, to my horror, that it was locked.

There I stood. Ill-dressed for the snow. Ill-dressed for society. Without a key. Without my phone. Without anything to help me get back inside my own home.

"No big deal!" I optimistically thought, and probably said out loud. "The front door is unlocked!"

I trekked around to the font of the house. Sure enough, the glass door was shut, but the door behind it was wide open.

There stood Mr. Pants, looking out at me. I politely waved to him as I ascended the steps and then pulled on the glass door.

It was also locked.

I have no memory of locking it.

I now knew I was in trouble.

The front door was my backup plan.

I had no other plans.

I stared at Mr. Pants. He stared at me. And then I started talking to him.

Because I am a grown man who has complicated conversations with animals.

"Mr. Pants! I wish you were tall enough to unlock this door! Can you call someone for help? My phone is on the floor in the bedroom!"

And then I heard it.

It came from next door.

A voice.

The last voice I wanted to hear in that moment.

Mr. Perfect: Everything ok over there?

I will now share with you the outfit in which I was clad as Mr. Perfect addressed me.

Actually, I don't think you're appreciating the bottom part well enough.

Note, too, that the shirt was on inside out. That's the tag you can see pictured above.

Eli: Awesome. Uh, no. I'm ok.

Mr. Perfect: Are you locked out of the house?

Eli: Well, yes I am.

Mr. Perfect: But is someone in there? You were just talking to someone.

Eli: You know what? I'm not even going to try to make up a story for you right now. There is a small white dog inside and I was talking to him. I was trying to coordinate a plan with him to get help. Because you know how you hear about those dogs that call 911? Well I thought maybe this one could do that. But I just realized that he doesn't even know how to unlock my phone so that plan was stupid anyway.

Mr. Perfect: You were going to have your dog call 911 because you're locked out of your house?

Eli: Yup. And to give you some more honesty, this wouldn't even have been the stupidest reason I have called 911. This year.

Mr. Perfect: Does anyone have a spare key?

Eli: Yes, actually. A few friends do, but I can't call them because my phone is inside.

Mr. Perfect offered to let me use his phone, which I gratefully accepted. Then when I got it into my hands I realized that I know exactly four phone numbers.

1. My Cell Number: Not helpful, unless I wanted to call Mr. Pants.

2. My Office Number: Even less helpful.

3. Sam's Parents' Phone Number That They've Had Since 1992: Not helpful, unless I want to know if Sam can come out and play, but he doesn't even live there anymore so what am I saying?

4. Bob And Cathie: Not helpful AND judgmental. 

I admitted this to Mr. Perfect, gave him a lecture about how technology is ruining us, habitually put his cellphone into my pocket, and started walking back over to my house.

He asked for the phone back, which I dropped into the snow as I fumbled it out of my pocket, embarrassed because EVERYTHING I DO IN FRONT OF THESE PEOPLE IS EMBARRASSING. 

I was shivering by this point, so Mr. Perfect invited me inside to warm up while I came up with a plan. 

I sat in their house for thirty minutes. Their house which was ohmygosh so clean because of course it was. 

They sat around me while I awkwardly made small talk. 

It took me the full thirty minutes to remember that I had a spare house key in my unlocked car.

I announced this to a very relieved The Perfects, and then offered on my way out:

Eli: Merry new year--er--I mean Christmas--er--merry Chris--happy new--er--just, bye.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. As a person who is responsible for the children when they wake up I frequently dress in the dark because the children sense light and feed off of it and don't just wake up but they beam up like little aliens that are just zipping up their human suits.
    I am bad at dressing in the dark. Really bad.
    So bad that while I was at work I bemoaned having to rearrange my clothes in the bathroom AGAIN and one of my co-workers commented that she thought that it was just MY STYLE. I am not so hip and clearly not so stylish. But this most definitely was a product of not having the earth prematurely taken over by aliens. And no one even thanked me.

    1. Haha! I relate to this very much. I finally gave up on trying about 2 years ago and life has been much better since.

  2. I love you so much.

  3. Are you tall enough to deposit your responsibility in the snow? Or did you also have to deposit your responsibility on the sidewalk?

  4. The other day I went outside to get the mail. It was mid-afternoon and it had been a long day at home with my two kiddos. My hair was in a top knot and I was wearing a men's section t-shirt with some matching pajama pants. As I got the mail, the old man that lives across the street was also getting his mail. I don't really know him since we've only lived in this house for just over a year. I waved and called out "hello!". He stared at me. I smiled. He stared at me. I got my mail. He stared at me. I went back inside feeling like my neighbor hates me.

    At least the Perfect's are cordial toward you, regardless of what you are (or aren't) wearing.

    1. I think it's community service to make your neighbors believe you're the weird one in the neighborhood. That way they leave you alone and they get to feel like they have their life together. Win-win.

  5. I used to have this thing called a rescue cap. It was a gas cap with a combination lock. I originally got it because I had a gas cap that didn't have the locking flap over it and people where siphoning gas in my neighborhood. you have to dial the combination to unlock the gas cap to get it off. Then once you got the cap off there was a place underneath that unscrewed and you could store emergency cash or a space key. That thing was awesome, I kept a spare car key and house key in it. For a couple years I didn't have to call people to come bring me a spare key to get back in my house. Then the car that I was using it with died and I got a different car. The new car had one of the gas flaps that you have to pop open with with a lever from inside the car. So the locking gas cap thing doesn't really work. I'm pretty much back to square one.

    In related news. Thursday night I went to a late movie with my sister. After the movie we stood up and I realized I didn't have my keys (I'd driven us). We and another couple scoured the rows of seats and the stairs, we did not find my keys. We did find another person's lost keys. We walked out to the car and found the keys...sitting on the seat...of the locked car. I need a name tag with a warning label on it.

    1. I like to pretend that I'm a fully functioning adult who's NOT a hot mess. But the truth is I probably need way more adult supervision than any nuero-typical 37 year old should.

    2. I think you just described my life. My husband says I'm the most organized forgetful person around. I can produce taxes from 6 years ago at the drop of the hat but my wallet or my phone? I'll have to search for a minimum of a half hour before I can leave each day just to find them.

    3. Nicole I constantly turn my house upside trying to find my phone only to discover I left it in the freezer, or the cupholder of my car, or at work. I have to post on Facebook asking my friends to call and text my phone while I search so I can find it. It's embarassing.

  6. Two weeks ago I took my toddler son on a walk. We left through the garage and I just took the garage door opener. At some point my son grabbed the opener remote and tossed it into the middle of the street, where it was promptly run over by a car. It was like a scene out of a movie. All of our doors were locked and I couldn't get the garage door open without the remote. I had to sit outside in the cold with my son and wait until our nextdoor neighbors got home so I could get my spare key from them. It was so embarrassing. I immediately ordered a cheap lockbox off Amazon so now I have a spare key accessible! At least I learn from my mistakes (well maybe 50% of the time).

  7. When I was about four, my mom was outside hanging up laundry. I went outside to talk to her, and I closed the door behind me, like I'd always been taught to do, since I didn't realize that my mom had left it ajar on purpose. The door turned out to be locked, and the only person inside was my baby brother. My mom went to a neighbor's house to ask for help. He checked all the windows and discovered that a small bathroom window was unlocked. It was too small for an adult to fit through, but I could make it. So, the neighbor hoisted me up through the window onto the top of the toilet tank, and I scrambled down and went and opened the door. I found the whole thing very exciting.

    Another time, we sent my small nieces through the doggy door in my brother's house to let us in the door, when we were locked out of that house.

    Point being, maybe you should have kids so you've got some small people to teach burglary skills to. They can be very useful.

  8. I love everything about this story. But only because you didn't actually freeze to death.

  9. But really, you rock those socks! I'm betting Mr Perfect is wondering where you got them from and wishes he had a pair just like them!

  10. We shovel a path in the snow to a spot in the grass for our height challenged doggie (solves the sidewalk issue); my 2 year old once locked me out of the house when I went outside to water the garden; took 30 minutes of talking loudly outside the sliding glass door trying to give him instructions to unlock it and let me in.

  11. You seriously need to bake them a baked good to thank them for their hospitality and neighborliness.