this wasn't in the safety meeting!

I woke up Friday with only a slight stiffness in my neck.  I was very pleased that my efforts in preventative medicine were a success.  I even got up a few minutes early and never slipped behind in my morning rituals.  I remembered my oatmeal so I could eat a healthy breakfast; I ate a very healthy lunch, and even managed to make it through the dinner hour without splurging on naughty food. (I did have a few Hershey’s kisses at the bank, but I decided to let myself off the hook for those this time.) Other than being a ridiculously long day, it was a good day! 

Nothing even remotely bad happened to me while I was at work. 

After work, I went home to get my daughter and we ran out for something quick (and healthy) to eat, before I took her to a friend’s house for the night.  My husband is out of town, and all of my friends were otherwise engaged, so I went out for a few rounds of karaoke (and not a single round of liquor) and was back home by just after nine. 

After shedding my work clothes in exchange for one of my husband’s t-shirts and a pair of my dwindling panties, I set out to feed the dogs and run them outside one last time before bed.  I wasn’t worried about being underdressed for the backyard.  The rear of my house is pretty private and my dogs have all seen me naked before, so seeing me in underwear and a t-shirt wasn’t anything new for them.

Admittedly, I am a little afraid of the dark, so I turned on every light outside before going out there with the dogs.  And because my husband is gone for the night, I also ran around locking every door and window in the house.  I have three sets of French doors that lead out to the rear courtyard and I was afraid the kids had left one unlocked.  I may have been a little overly paranoid, but we had a safety meeting at work today, and it covered all the ways to be safe outside of work too.  I wasn’t going to stop with the doors and windows either.  I had every intention of arming the alarm, including the motion detectors and the outdoor cameras once the dogs were safely back in my room with me so they wouldn’t set anything off. 

Unfortunately for me, in my haste to lock every possible entrance to my house so that no one without a key could gain entry, I failed to pay attention to the door I went out and locked that too. 

So there I was.  Locked out of the house without a key.  In my underwear.  Without my cell phone.  And even if I had my phone, my husband was over five hours away visiting his sick grandmother, and the kids were sleeping over with friends.  At least the dogs were with me.  They would protect me from renegade squirrels and the occasional owl. 

But I certainly couldn’t stay out there.  I had to work in the morning.  And it was supposed to rain after midnight.  And my BlackBerry was on the table inside! 

I had no choice; I had to make a break for it.  I had to pray that I had missed a door or a window somewhere that I could reach without having to scale the arbor to reach the roof. 

I tugged the t-shirt down until it covered most of my bottom and stepped down from the deck onto the pea pebbles below.  Pea pebbles on bare feet are not comfortable.  I don’t know how the dogs do it.  I swore under my breath as I tiptoed carefully around the back of the house, terrified that I would run into a nocturnal rattlesnake or a perverted stranger (because NONE of my neighbors are in the least bit perverted!) I didn’t run into either, but I did hear rustling in the bushes that could have been a rabid opossum or a bear! 

I ran the rest of the way to the gate to the side yard.  I had to leave the dogs behind, inside the privacy fence, otherwise I would easily lose them in the dark.  I yanked up one of the solar landscaping lights to act as a torch to light my way on the last several yards to the driveway.  I went straight to my car to see if I had left the door unlocked.  The garage door opener would be my saving grace! 


My only hope now was to run around the front of the house to the front door.  I hadn’t checked that door yet, so I held on to the hope that the kids had left it unlocked this evening.  I had yet to share with them all the information from my safety meeting, so hopefully they were blissfully unaware of the dangers of leaving doors unlocked. 

To get to the front door I had to traipse through the flower beds along the front of the house (in bare feet!) with nothing but my makeshift torch to light the way.  Hardwood mulch is no gentler on bare feet than pea pebbles, and I don’t even want to know what might have been living in it.  I vowed to myself at that moment that I would take a hot shower if I ever made it back inside my house again. 

I made my way through the beds, trying to keep low enough behind the bushes that the Joneses couldn’t see me running around in my underwear.  I didn’t think they would confuse me with a peeping tom, but I didn’t want to take any chances just the same. 

Once I reached the front porch I had no choice but to run up the stairs, risking a momentary flashing of my emergency underwear (the ones reserved for the day before laundry day or other such emergencies) I only had one other pair clean, and I was saving those specifically for the morning.  The porch light was off, but every light inside the house was on, so I could see my way clearly to the door.  I gripped the doorknob and gave a quick turn, preparing myself mentally in the event that my children had actually done as they were told and locked the doors as they were leaving. 

Thankfully, they hadn’t. 

I’m not sure if I should scold them for leaving a door unlocked or give them a bonus in next week’s allowance! 

I didn’t waste any time in locking the door behind me and running to let the dogs in the back door.  I armed the alarms, the laser motion sensors, and the outdoor cameras and locked myself in my room with all four dogs.  I will likely get little sleep tonight between the constant licking and the chewing.  I can only hope the grandpuppy sticks to his toys and not my shoes! 

Until the next time…I’ll be sleeping with my eyes open!

Copyright © 2000-2018, Erica Lucke Dean. All rights reserved. Any retranscription or reproduction is prohibited and illegal.
Posted on April 23, 2010 .