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Locked out

August 19, 2013 - Heather Ziegler
I've done it and I'll bet that you have, too, at least once in your life. It happens a lot judging by the calls on the police scanner. Lockouts. I'm not talking about when unions and companies can't get along and reach employment contracts. I'm talking about locking your keys in your car or locking yourself out of the house. While some police departments have tools that can unlock a vehicle door, there are times when windows must be smashed to save a child or animal locked inside a hot car. Firerighters sometimes have to climb a ladder to help resolve the house lockouts. It's not fun or funny. Speaking from experience, I was placing my son in his car seat (years ago) and tossed my keys on the seat beside his car seat. I strapped him in, locked his door (in my older car, there were no key fobs and electric door locks) and walked around to the driver's side. That's when I discovered all the doors were locked. There is no greater feeling of panic. My saving grace was that the window on the side where my son was seated was down about a third of the way. He was a toddler but still old enough to help out his Mom. So I asked him to grab the keys on the big, gold keyring and hand them to me through the window. He was in a car seat but was within reach of the keys. It took a couple of attempts but he managed to get the key ring close enough to the window that I could reach in and grab them. Success! I thanked the guardian angels. It's always a good thing when the wife of a firefighter doesn't have to call him for such an emergency. My second worst lockout involved the house. The old storm door on the back of the house sometimes would lock without any assistance if it slammed shut a certain way. Dressed in my nightclothes, I was letting the dogs out the back door, stepped outside to grab their leashes, when the door slammed behind me. Well the toddler in the house stood there at the door on the inside asking me what I was doing, while I stood in the freezing cold in my robe trying to think what to do next. I knew for sure the front door was locked and there was no one else home but me, my son and the dogs. All the windows were locked, too. I wasn't panicked until my son ran out of sight into another room. I knew he could not unlock the stiff metal lock on the door but I was worried what he was doing in the house without me. I resorted to mother-in-a-panic mode. The storm door had a Plexiglas panel in the middle, not glass, thankfully. I pushed on that panel until it gave way with a crack. I stuck my hand up through the crack in the panel and unlocked the door. The dogs had wandered off by this time, but my toddler was safe and sound watching Sesame Street on the tv. I could have kissed Big Bird for distracting my child. These days cars have satellite controls that can unlock a car door and computers to unbolt the front door of your house or open the garage. I don't have those things but I manage. I've learned the value of extra keys and always knowing where they are. My husband laughs every time we go somewhere because he's usually waiting on me to "find my keys." I often put them in the same place but, hey, things happen. And I swear my purse can swallow up a set of keys like a shop vac.


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