Here’s an obvious parenting statement: Having a toddler increases the stress of unexpected events. There’s already one element of chaos in your life, adding more compounds the existing chaos. It’s like multiplying a math problem by another number, which I suppose is already the definition of compounding.
Recently we were locked out of the house. That’s a simple way of defining it. We had the keys to our front door, the door simply rejected the keys like Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio turning away a plate of uncooked risotto.
Generally being locked out is not a big deal when you’re single and childless. It’s a minor annoyance; it’s a reason to go to the bar, or an excuse to crash on a futon. When it’s cold outside and you have a toddler with an approaching bedtime, it’s a bigger deal.
The first priority, look after the toddler. She couldn’t wait in the car while I attempted to burglar our home.
Thankfully, our babysitter lives nearby and her family was welcoming of our random intrusion. It didn’t even cost $10/hour plus fridge privileges. The babysitter and her siblings brought down books and toys to entertain our confused daughter while I pursued a locksmith.
I don’t have a locksmith, or an electrician, or a plumber that I can call. So I was left to consult the Yellow Pages and followed the old adage of “if you paid for a large ad you must be somewhat competent.”
I was wrong. Locksmiths advertised as 24 hours didn’t answer their phones, or would agree to show up in 3+ hours, or charge hundreds just to appear. It was frustrating. I was regretting choosing a classics minor in university over “locksmithing and related manly skills.”
Sensing my frustration, our neighbour mentioned the area handyman might be of help. He was. When he showed up I was trying to jimmy the lock open with a screwdriver to no avail. He suggested a better tool – a hacksaw.
It took 45 minutes of hacksawing and prying to remove the doorknob. My contribution to the hacksawing effort: Holding the flashlight.
Eventually we regained entry to our house, but only after our daughter’s dinnertime, bath time, and bedtime had passed. She was beyond exhausted. We were beyond frustrated. Our only consolation was knowing that it would never happen again because like watching an afterschool special we learned a few valuable lessons.
For your benefit, here they are:
- A Blockbuster card is too thin to effectively jimmy a lock. I’m still trying to discover what it’s actually useful for.
- The area handyman is not the area cat burglar.
- If your neighbours hear someone trying to hacksaw their way in your house, they won’t express any concern.
- Breaking into your own house is reassuringly difficult.
- If you keep your toddler up past her bedtime by over 2 hours, daycare will call the next day to report that she has a slight fever and seems lethargic.
- Keeping keys to the backdoor on your actual keychain and not inside the house is a good idea.