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May 04, 2008

Trapped in My Backyard

I have a long history of locking myself out of things. I'm really good at locking myself out of various vehicles. I went through a stretch where I did it weekly, sometimes twice a week. Twice I did it while the car was RUNNING. I'm pretty proud of that accomplishment.

I've been locked out of my computer more times that I can tell you. Or various websites that I swear I can remember the password for, but upon my three attempts suddenly find that I need to call customer service because I no longer have any type of access. I finally had to create a hidden secret "cheat sheet" that I use to get to the various portals around the internets.

I thought I'd really done it a couple of years ago when Frinklin and I locked our selves IN our house. Yes you read that correctly. IN the house.

The deadbolt to the front door broke due to shoddy workmanship of the previous owner (a reccurring theme) and since we don't own a key to the back door, and our back gates are padlocked shut (a detail that will become important later in this blog entry) we were trapped. A very kind locksmith came and removed the deadbolt, re-keyed the front door, and fixed the crappy job the last owner had done with the whole thing. I highly recommend Jack at Security Lock, Safe, and Alarm.

I really didn't think it would be possible to top locking myself IN my house. But yesterday I did it.

Yesterday I locked myself in my backyard.

Really, it was all the cats' fault. But lets back up.

Remember how I told you earlier that there is no key to the back door and the gates are padlocked shut? We've been having issues with the back door not shutting all the way unless the deadbolt is thrown. The wind will push it open and 4 of our 5 indoor only cats will sneak outside to frolic on the deck, eventually making their way under the house.

Yesterday I happened to be walking past the back door and noticed it was waving gently in the afternoon breeze. Immediately panicking I jumped into action and ran outside. All four adventurous cats were outside. Making a grab for the one closest (Clyde), I felt fur and threw him in the house, slamming the door behind me. One down and three to go! An orange streak flew past my feet. Percy! I snatched him up and grabbed the door handle, leaning in to open the--ow! Open the--

Oh for fucks sake. I hadn't latched the deadbolt, but the small doorknob lock was thrown and it was good and closed this time. As Percy squirmed in my arms I grabbed for another orange kitty and picked up a clawing mass of Barney. As his talons sank into my body I thought, "this is bad." Turning to the right, I watched as Moby slipped under the house.

As I lost more and more blood from Barney's slashes I realized I was going to have to let the cats go, even if they did go under the house. I was either going to need to try to climb through a window (all locked), climb the fence (six feet high), or find a friendly neighbor with a cell phone to help. Fortunately, a friendly neighbor happened to be standing just on the other side of the fence.

"Excuse me?" I called, trying not to look insane with orange cats dangling from my limbs. "I have locked myself in my backyard and am in need of a phone. May I borrow yours?" Hopefully proper grammar and being the picture of politeness would help my cause.

"Uh, IN your backyard?" replied the kind neighbor.

"Yes. You see, my door is locked from the inside and I lack a key (Ow! Barney stop it!). And my gates are padlocked (Dammit! Ow!)." (Big smile)

"Sure." Kind neighbor tosses cell phone to me over fence. I should explain at this point that Frinklin was out assisting friends with their 72 Hour Films Festival (tickets on sale now!) submission. I called him. And called him. And called him. Angels be praised - on the third try he picked up. I make no apologies for the messages left that sound something like, "Iamtrappedinthegoddamnbackyardandyouarenotpickingupyourcellphonewherethefuck
areyourightnowIreallyneedyoutocomehomeandhelpme!" To his credit as soon as he did pick up the phone Kevin, Joe, and Frinklin did rush home to rescue me. I sulkily entered the house, sans cats.

Ah yes. The cats.

The next three hours of my life were devoted to cajoling two stubborn kitties out from the tiny (non) crawl space of the house. Percy decided he'd had enough of the great outdoors and came quietly, but Barney and Moby found a playground of smells, sights, and a possible doorway to a wonderland of adventure through that little gap in the concrete. I'd like to say that Frinklin and I tempted the cats by calling their names and offering them treats, but that did absolutely nothing for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Also ineffectual; lying on a towel to avoid dirt and other backyard debris while peering under the house with an industrial strength flashlight (although I got a close up look at one of our air vents). The best technique was to stand absolutely silent and still for 10 or 15 minutes, pretending to be a part of the house, then pounce when the cat came out to explore. Good to know for future reference.

I really need to get the back door re-keyed so that we can unlock it normally. And probably need to have the entire thing worked on so that it actually stays closed when the wind is blowing. Hopefully I'm working a good average and I won't lock myself back there again for another three years, minimum.

Bonus trapped in moment! Trapped IN my pants!

Posted by Ensie at May 4, 2008 12:50 AM

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Dang. What a crazy afternoon/evening. And you handled the situation much better than I would have. At the point I would've realized I'd locked myself in the backyard, my head would've just asploded.

Posted by: Cassioposa at May 4, 2008 04:54 PM

damn. I would have.... um... I dunno. Uttered alot of curses. Many of them well-conjugated strings of cursewords. I can demonstrate that curse-conjugation skill for you someday, if you like, though I suspect you may have the skill within you....

Nice to know your peaceable kingdom is all well again :D

Posted by: JCBetty at May 4, 2008 09:46 PM

This is something I would do. Glad you got all your various cats back inside.

Posted by: Jenyum/Tacomamama at May 6, 2008 03:58 PM


Oh, I uttered A LOT of swear words. Don't worry. I may have even been speaking in tongues at one point. It was not pretty. I'm surprised I didn't scare away the Kind Neighbor. Fortunately I didn't though, and he stuck around long enough to lend his phone.

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