This post is cross-posted to Road Widows.
My husband is on his way to a few shows in Canada… something that is always an extra challenge due to cell phone rates going sky-high when there. But apparently, I decided to make it an extra level of stress today.
We got a new kitten this week. Our cats’ liter boxes are on a back porch, with a little cat door for them to go through. Keeps the smell down in the house and it gives them privacy. However, the little kitten had yet to figure out how to use the cat door, so I decided to take on the task of getting him to “get” it today.
I walked out into the porch, closed the door, and started trying to coax the kitten through the door to me. After trying for close to half an hour, I gave up. We’d try again another time. I reached for the door handle and… it wouldn’t budge.
THE DOOR LOCKED BEHIND ME. I wanted to cry. I fought with the door. I tried kicking it in. I tried to pick the lock (which I’ve never done before but seemed to think I could do it this time). Nothing worked. I reached for my cell phone. Only. It wasn’t in my back pocket where I keep it all the time. Then I remembered… I’d left it on the couch. My mind raced for ideas on what to do.
The back door is off that porch, so I could at least get OUT. Just as I got that door open, as if the situation needed a splash of humor, the cat door swung open and the kitten came out onto the porch with me. I guess on the bright side, the kitten figured out the door!
But once I got outside, I had to ask myself, “Now what?” I started trying windows. None would budge. I was starting to realize that breaking into my own house is a lot harder than I ever thought it would be. A good thing, of course, but it didn’t help me in that moment! My husband has spare keys to the house and our truck, but he is hundreds of miles away.
I looked around and decided it was time to start knocking on doors. I tried four doors before I found someone home. I asked to use the phone, and they let me! So I called my husband, since his number is the only one I know (and left a voicemail) asking if he’d call our landlords to come let me in the house. I visited with the neighbor — a single mother who is my age! A new friend, perhaps! — and then I said I’d just wait on my front porch until help arrived.
As I left her house, another neighbor drove up and asked if they could help me. I explained my situation, and this couple invited me to visit on their back porch until my landlord got there with a key. I told them all about myself and my husband, and I left their house with their phone numbers should I ever need help again. The wife said, “With you home alone so much, you NEED someone close by that you can call for help!” So true!
At one point, the neighbor asked me, “What did we learn from this?” and I laughed and said, “Never leave my phone on the couch?” but in reality, I learned that I live in a great neighborhood. I am the most cautious person in the world. I don’t like people really knowing when I am home or when I’m not… when I’m alone and when my husband is home. But it felt so good to find good people nearby who were willing to help out a “stranger” and end up with a new friendship. Maybe I need to know my neighbors and let them help look out for me, especially when I am here alone so much.