Locked Out, aka Why The Front Door Is Now Broken

Scott broke my front door.

Ok, so I was actually the one who broke the door down.  But only because I got home first.

THE BACKGROUND

Maybe it’s because I watch too many crime shows, but I’m terrified of the idea of break-ins.  So scared, in fact, that I lock up the place like Fort Knox.  One of the security measures I always take, and always nag Scott about, is locking up the doors at night.  For some reason, as the Man of the House, I make it his responsibility to keep the security of the casa in check.

In the morning, I usually get up and go to work before he does, so I undo the top latch that is used to lock ourselves up at night (it can only be done from inside the home), and head off.  Then Scott usually works from home for a few hours before heading out himself.  Then I come home, and then Scott does (he’s in sales though, so when is not as predictable as I am).  We keep Colby inside the house during this time since he’s too big for the backyard fence and will jump out if we are gone longer than a couple of hours.  Plus, bonus, a big, barking inside-the-house dog is probably more intimidating to intruders than a roped-off-in-the-backyard dog.  Making the fence bigger is on the to do list, but since a one-person income pays for improvements to the home, my redo-the-bathroom budget is also the put-up-a-taller-fence budget.  Priorities, folks – gotta make the money before I can spend it!

THE DOOR

So last week, it pretty much went as usual – except for one, crucial difference.  You may have heard about the storms ripping through Alabama and Georgia – the wind, the hail, and the damage it all caused.  I am both sorry for those who experienced loss and counting my blessings that my friends and family were not harmed.

In the midst of all of this freak weather, a house has a tendency to react to dips in temperature, to humidity levels, etc.  It’s the reason why people leave a space between hardwood floors and the wall; it allows for the expanding and contracting as materials tend to do.

Returning home Thursday evening (the day after the storm) with some dinner in tow, I arrived to my door and turned the lock.  Colby as usual heard my familiar fidgeting at the door and ran down the stairs to greet me at the front window.  But the door wouldn’t budge.  I checked, relocked, and unlocked the deadbolt and door knob on the front door.  Still no movement.

THE INTERNAL DIALOGUE

What about the garage? Locked.  As long as I’ve lived in this house, the garage could only be locked from the inside.  There was no key.  I looked around to see if Scott was still home, but his car was gone and the dog was doing his I’ve-been-left-here-alone-too-long whine.Could Scott have gone through the sliding glass door in the back?  I walked into the back yard and yanked on the latch.  Locked tight, and this too is locked from the inside, so he had to have gone out a different way.

I tried to call Scott, but got no answer.  Scratching my head, I gathered the facts:  The front door could be unlocked, and the mechanism did not appear to be malfunctioning.  The garage door was locked.  So was the back door.  And knowing how paranoid I am about break-ins, I already knew that every window in the house was locked.Locked, locked, locked.  Now what?  Better call Scott again.  He doesn’t answer.Could Scott have re-latched the door behind me when I left for work?  Probably not.  He would have relocked the deadbolt, but once he’s up he usually doesn’t re-latch the night lock.  And since the latch only locks from the inside, he would have had to undo it again to have left the house, and he’s obviously gone.  And since he hasn’t called me back, he might just be in the middle of something and I won’t hear from him for hours like usual.FRICK.

And then, it hit me: the storm.  Even though the door itself was metal, could the wooden frame around it have swollen enough to wedge the door in it?

DOUBLE FRICK.

THE “IT’S FUNNY NOW” CONCLUSION

After throwing my five-foot-two frame (with my not-as-little-as-I’d-like weight) into the door for several minutes, I came to the conclusion that no, in fact, it did not appear that the door was wedged into place; it appeared as if the night lock was latched on the door after all.  I call Scott again.  Still no answer.So, imagine me, after a long night of storms, an even longer day of work that followed, and locked out of my own house by my “careless” boyfriend who won’t return my calls, listening to the dog whine.  I. Was. Pissed.  I wish I could say I behaved better under the circumstances, waited patiently for Scott to finally call me back, and everything worked out okay.  But you already know that didn’t happen, don’t you?  Good.  At least we can all agree that I’m the mayor of Crazytown and running for governor of Impatientville.Instead, I just walked over to my neighbor’s house, told him my situation, and participated in breaking my front door open, latch and all.  BOOM.After being allowed back into the house, Colby happily greeted me as if it was just another ordinary day.

LESSONS LEARNED
  • Thirty-year-old door latches will fly across the room at astounding speed.
  • Despite the garage door being only previously locked from the inside, apparently it’s possible to close it from the outside and lock it without having access back in.  In other words, Scott locked everything from the inside and went out the one door that was inaccessible once closed.  He probably whistled on his way out; I, however, did not have the same reaction.
  • Colby is a wuss.  He’ll growl and bark anytime a stranger approaches the door, but if you’re outside with a stranger (like my neighbor), he’s more likely to hide in fear from all of the noise caused by a break-in.
  • There is surprisingly less damage than I thought there would be.  Only the spot in the frame where the top lock used to hit the door is chipped, and the trim on the right side popped a nail (but since it’s attached to the drywall through caulk, we have to score the trim before removing and repairing – more on that later).
  • My house is a lot stronger than I initially thought.  Thank goodness I didn’t learn the opposite.
  • Scott responds quickly to a text message that reads, YOU JUST BOUGHT A DOOR.

Sheesh, landlord-slash-girlfriends can be moody sometimes, can’t they?  In addition to baking cookies for my neighbor this evening to thank him for his help, I’ll also be making a few for Scott for the rage-induced texting that followed this fiasco.  But then, seriously, we probably need to get cracking on repairing the door.

It’s a small blog world… Katie blogged a lock-out story this week too!

Comments

  1. says

    Love this story! Something very similar happened to me – I thought I was the first one home to our apartment, found the door dead bolted from the inside, and got mad because my husband wouldn’t come to the door and let me in. After banging on the door for about a minute, I called him, and he’s like, “I’m not home.” So of course I freaked out a little, called the police, thinking someone was inside my apartment and they come and they’re like “the door’s unlocked, what are you talking about?” It’s a mystery to this day, but I probably just didn’t turn the key far enough to fully unlock it, and the freaked the f**k outa out murderers/intruders without trying the lock again ;) At least you didn’t get the police involved!

  2. says

    Just started reading your blog and I love it! You write very well and this story is absolutely hilarious! Looking forward to reading more about your repairs and adventures along the way!

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