Clunk. Uh oh. That’s the sound of the back door locking behind me. I try the knob. Yep, it’s locked. This is not good. I am locked outside my daughter’s house, in her Fort Knox style backyard.
I’m staying here just to look after my teenage granddaughters’ rabbits during one of Port Phillip’s rare heatwaves. I’ve come outside first thing in the morning to give the rabbits some greens, cool water, and shade to keep them safe. Backyard bunnies don’t do well in the heat. My family are off looking after a house with a swimming pool and a dog. (I thought that gave me the easier job.)
My brain goes into overdrive. The back gate is locked and barricaded. The side gate is padlocked. (I’ve never seen a key for it.) I contemplate huddling in a heap and living on rabbit pellets and lemons until they come and rescue me. They would (eventually) notice my phone going unanswered because it is, of course, locked inside the house.
The heat is the problem, and the reason I shut the door in the first place – to keep the heat out of the house. (didn’t mean to keep myself out as well!)
So, what to do? Even if I could climb over the high fence, which is unlikely, it is hardly practical because I am clad only in my nightie. And add to that (and I realise this could be classified as way too much information) no glasses, no denture, no underwear.
I contemplate breaking into the house. But if I did smash a, multi framed, window there’s still the problem of clambering through it.
Instead, I will break out – through the side gate. I scour the shed for suitable tools. Armed with screwdriver and hammer, I attack the padlock. I break part of the gatepost (oops) but it means I can slide the bolt and open the gate.
My objective is the key-keep on the front porch. This, of course, brings on another dilemma. I don’t know the code. Thankfully my daughter knows her neighbours well, and they know me by sight. (But usually, I am more appropriately dressed and with all my teeth.)
I take a chance and bashfully creep through their front gate. Thankfully Amanda is up and to her credit she doesn’t laugh. She doesn’t know the code, so she texts my daughter. Awkward minutes pass then I say, “She’s sent the code to my phone, hasn’t she?”
Amanda’s next text produces the code. Then I need more help as, without my glasses, I can barely see the key-keep let alone its numbers!
Amanda’s boisterous new puppy is overjoyed by the early morning excitement and will not be left home. I happily carry him while she wrestles with the underused, awkwardly placed, key-keep. Eventually she calls her (grown up) son over to help. Oh, the embarrassment. Thankfully I have the puppy to hide behind. But it gets me the key.
Inside, reunited with my phone, and glasses, I find texts from my bewildered daughter:
Text 1: Hi, the pin is…
[and there is the magic number]
Text 2: Sorry the bike is in the way
[No answer from me, of course.]
Text 3: Everything ok?
[Well at that stage, no!]
I text back that the bike was the least of my worries and give a brief rundown of events. I’m able to reassure her that at least she knows that her house isn’t easy to break into.
Oddly, we continue to text instead of calling.
Just got confused because:
(A) It was early
[I am notoriously not a morning person]
(B) you are always organised with keys
(C) you always have your phone!!
[Again, true and I briefly admire her ability to text in an orderly alpha style list]
1st thought (literally) was that maybe you’d been up all-night partying and just got home! LOL! And lost your keys and phone in a bar or something.
2nd thought was that you’d been out for a walk and didn’t take keys – that’s why I pinged your phone first – didn’t occur to me that that’s why Amanda was sending the message for you! Coffee not quite kicked in! What a drama. I’m so sorry that happened to you! Thank goodness for amazing neighbours. I’m still trying to process it all. But glad you’re safe and sound. I think scout badge earned.
[I’ll accept that]
The flurry of texts eventually ends with her: Phew! Well played!!
It’s then that the adrenalin kicks in. I indulge in comfort food.
[I earned salted caramel ice-cream drowned in chocolate topping for breakfast].
When I feel brave enough, I prop the door open so I can check on the rabbits.
[At this point I no longer care if the heat gets into the house.]
There they are, oblivious to the drama. So cute, contentedly chomping kale.
There I am, completely exhausted before eight o’clock in the morning.