Saturday, June 11, 2005

Call 911: I'm Locked Out and The Baby Is In the House!

This is a true story of events that happened in my nice, quiet (OK, in my dreams) home a few hours ago. Alyssa was sleeping and I went outside to use the cell phone to call my younger sister about our dinner plans for this evening. I did this to be quiet as Alyssa often sleeps very lightly in the afternoon. This was one of those days that I could tell she was sleeping very lightly yet I knew she needed her sleep.

My older sister came by and she was playing quietly with Chase inside. I went out and they followed me, first Chase and then my sister. Once they came out, I turned to go back in as we have not had a baby monitor hooked up for some time. Imagine the sinking feeling in my stomach as I went to open the door and the door was locked. I did not have my keys. I remembered that Sam, my husband,had mentioned to me that the door sometimes locked on its own and that I should always bring my keys with me when I go outside.

My older sister, mother of two college graduates, first told me to remain calm. Good thing she was there because calm would not have described any aspect of this experience for me! I first called the in-laws who do not live far and have a key but my MIL who has the key on her keyring was not home and does not have a cell phone. Sam was in the middle of photographing a black tie wedding at the Ritz Carlton and absolutely could not be interrupted. I was on my own with this one; me, my sister and Chase were going to have to figure out what to do.

After investigating the perimeter of the home and thinking about potential ways in, I realized I had left one window open. I stood on the patio table but I was not raised high enough to get into the window. Getting more worried, I went to one neighbor, explained the situation and asked for a ladder. They have already moved out partially and the ladder is at their new home.

I saw our wonderful neighbor, an original homeowner on our block, Mr. Chuck, who offered his ladder. I practically ran home with the thing after quick instructions on how to set it up were kindly given by Mr. Chuck. I threw the ladder against the house and I climbed up but I still could not reach the window enough to catapult myself inside. By now, Alyssa had woken up and she was crying.

I had enough! I called 911 and explained I was locked out of my home and my 18-month old was trapped inside alone, crying. They said that they would send someone right away. Was I dreaming or was this real, I kept asking myself. Deciding it was real, I broke out of my reverie long enough to break away to the front of the house to wait for help.

What I saw next confused me. A cop, a single cop, showed up in a cop car. "Where is the fire truck and where are the ladders!" I fumed to myself. Didn't I tell them I needed a ladder?

I hurriedly explained to Mr. Policeman that I had a ladder up but still could not get in. "Oh, no problem." he said ever so calmly. " I can climb in there easy." So he starts climbing the ladder, confidently and deliberately at a pace that to me seemed excruciatingly slow. Once up there, he opened the window fully and surveyed it. "Oh my goodness! Please don't tell me that he can not fit through the window!" I thought as panic started to build up inside me. Was Alyssa getting into something? Did she think I abandoned her?

After what was only probably seconds but seemed like hours, Mr. P. started taking off his belt. Yeah, that one, with the gun on it. I was willing to take the thing from him but I wondered if it would be safe for him to drop that gun down to me. No, apparently not, as he threw the gun inside the house and then dropped down the rest of the belt.

Mr. P climbed in the opening, squirmed and shimmied and he was in! "Meet me at the front door!" I yelled. By now, the desired fire truck and ladder were in the front of the house along with about 5 firemen and several curious onlookers. I barely noticed. I just wanted to get in to Alyssa!

My policeman superhero opened the door, I threw his belt at him and ran up the stairs. Poor Alyssa was sobbing so hard she could hardly catch her breath! And she felt so hot!

I picked her up and she clung to me more tightly than she has ever held on before.

I said a quick prayer of thanksgiving and went about the business of giving my vital stats to superhero Mr. P.

What an afternoon!

"Take it in stride", my older sister says. "This is just normal Mommy stuff. Weird things happen sometimes."

Okay, if she says so!

Nonetheless, I left Sam a message on his cell phone to ask him to please replace the offending door knob (the one that locks on its own) with another one ASAP.

What an afternoon but I thank God that everyone is OK. I did not fall off the ladder and Alyssa did not get into anything being in the house alone.

I felt so grateful everyone was OK. We did not go to my younger sister's house for dinner. We stayed home and started watching "The Sound of Music" instead.

One rousing chorus of "My Favorite Things" and I truly did feel better.
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