Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lock Out

I'm embarrassed to admit this.

The other day it poured rain all day long. Since everyone in our apartment building fights for the two laundry machines that are available on sunny days, I decided to haul our overflowing heaps of dirty clothes on a free-of-competition rainy day to do some Sisyphean laundry.

Sabine and I were indoor bound because of the rain and the fact that she's potty training. So I was makeup-free and in sweats and she was bottomless, in a pajama top and sporting an impressive afro the size of a small tumbleweed. I succeeded at completing all the tedious laundry steps (stain removal, washing machine deposit, washing machine-to-dryer transfer) sans Sabine. I plopped her in the living room with some toys, a snack and some visual stimulation each time I went to the laundry room, which never took longer than two minutes (it's literally ten feet from our front door). I grabbed my keys and closed the door, which she cannot open, behind me each time I ran out--except for the last time.

My final trip to the laundry room was to retrieve the clean and dry clothing. And of course at this point, the sky and the clouds decided to drench things. I ran from the dryer to our front door, put the bags down and proceeded to turn the knob and push. But it was locked. I checked my pockets for the keys but remembered that I'd decided I didn't need them this time (she'd been fine during every other quick exit). But I did need them. Because Sabine had somehow reached the top lock from the inside, turned it and had dead-bolted the door.

My heart sank into my soggy shoes and started beating a mile a minute. I dropped the laundry bags and ran to the building manager's apartment. He wasn't home. I ran back to our door and the adjacent kitchen window, hoping I hadn't shut it all the way. But I had because it was freezing outside. I thought about the patio door. It was also locked. I looked up at the open second-story bathroom window and wondered where I might find a ladder. But then I thought twice about that idea because a)I'm four and a half months pregnant and b)the second story is exceptionally high for a second story.

Suddenly I could hear Sabine crying through the door and saying, "mama, mama" over and over again. Now my heart was breaking and racing. I tried calming her down. I tried instructing her to get her stool from the bathroom, stand on it and turn the lock in the other direction. Silence. Then more crying.

So I decided to run to the next door apartment building and knock on that manager's door since he'd helped us get inside the last time I locked myself out. He's friendly with one of our neighbors so I often see him around our place. And thankfully, he was home.

After a lot more Sabine panic and fighting with the window, he finally gained access (it's less than comforting to know that it's fairly easy to break into our house). Somehow I heaved my large pregnant ass up, through the small window, into the kitchen sink and onto the floor, where Sabine was waiting for me with crazy hair, no pants and tear-streaked cheeks. I'm pretty sure the helpful but slightly creepy next-door manager unnecessarily touched my butt somewhere along the way. I mean, that ass is pregnant. Who wants to cop a feel of a pregnant ass?

Gross. But I can handle a little creepiness if it means getting me to my behind-a-locked-door child. I had a long talk with Sabine about locking the door. But really, I'm the one who needed the long talk. I am an idiot for not taking my keys. I'm an idiot for not bringing her with me however inconvenient. And I'm an idiot for doing laundry in the pouring rain with a toddler.



Leslie said...

No, you're not an idiot for doing anyone of those things! As heartbreaking as it is to have her locked in, she wasn't in danger and the'res plenty of other things that could happen to her if you do bring her with you to do laundry? There's risk everywhere. Can't be avoided and you're not a super human.
Ew, creepy neighbor. Ha, ha. I think we all have one of those :)

Laura Mauk said...

@Leslie, you're right. It seemed horrible at the time but there's a lot worse things that could happen. Hadn't seen it this way--thx!

danamite said...

You are so NORMAL - one time I got locked out of my house while doing laundry (sans toddler!) - but the only person who had keys was in ITALY! I didn't know the landlords name... it was gruesome - I had to mooch a quarter off someone at the grocery store down the street to call for help to a locksmith! Flip flops in January in Canada.. I almost had a meltdown and the woman who I mooched the money for the phone call off of was consoling me.... I also "collect called" my mom (!!) accross the country and was like -- what do I do?!? So ridiculous... so your story is so normalizing and now I look back and laugh at that story but geez... my MIL has a lock with a pinpad on her door - I think that is the sweetest idea to avoid these situations!

I can't wait until you write a book Laura - fiction or memoir - your writing is beautiful and speaks to me always. I rarely comment on blogs except yours, on which I am ALWAYS compelled to comment

dana in canada

Laura Mauk said...

@Dana, a lock with a pinpad! that's what i need. genius. and i was on the verge of knocking on a neighbor's door to call a locksmith or the police or someone. but i couldn't stand waiting for them to arrive. my next solution was to throw a rock through the window.

i can't tell you how thankful i am and flattered that you like my writing. i'm less than confident about it and putting myself out there like this so i'm warmed by the fact that it speaks to you. xo.


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