The MOST memorable experience involved taking a door off of its hinges, my father breaking and entering, commando style crawling on a roof, and doing major home repairs (no, I did not break anything) (for once). I think I was about twelve. The family lived in our neighborhood; and both the parents and their children were nice. This particular job should have been very straight forward and easy- watch the kids, feed them dinner, and put them to bed.
The evening had gone as planned, and I was in the family room watching TV. I decided I was hungry and so I headed to the kitchen for a snack (remember when you were twelve and could eat anything, anytime? I hope I took as much advantage of that as humanly possible!) My good luck (karma?) chose the moment I went to open the door. It wouldn’t open. The knob wouldn’t even turn! The family room was on the second floor, so I couldn’t simply open a window, and climb out to save myself. Oh, and I had locked the front door- so even if I had been able to
extract myself from the Family Room Prison, I would not have been able to let myself back in. (Before you assume that the kids hated me and locked me in, let me assure they did not. I had checked on them twenty minutes prior to needing a snack and they were snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug in their beds.) I took a deep breath. This couldn’t be happening, right? One of my secret fears is being locked in a bathroom at a party. While this situation wasn’t the same, it was close enough to make me extremely uncomfortable. This particular fear of mine came true during college when I monopolized the only bathroom at a fraternity formal for hours- for the entire formal actually. I shan’t go into details, just know that it involved sour milk and bad mudslides. And a lot of hatred towards me. However, I wasn’t in a bathroom; I was in a family room. With a TV! And a phone! I could handle this! I tried turning the knob left…nothing. I tried turning the knob right…nothing. I tried jiggling…nothing. Begging, pleading, crying, stomping my feet, and praying all
produced the same result…nothing. Things were going from bad to worse- not only was I hungry, I had to use the bathroom. I am not a claustrophobic person, but I was starting to be VERY sympathetic to those who are. I weighed my options, and I did what any girl would do. I called my Daddy.
I called my parents and explained the situation- several times in fact. My Dad was having a hard time believing that someone ‘just shutting a door’ would result in said door being totally, entirely, completely stuck. I reminded him who he was dealing with (Accident Queen), and how something like this could happen (Julias Math). Sighing deeply, he agreed to come and help me out (literally). He arrived at the house. Which was great… except how was he going to get in?! I obviously couldn’t go downstairs and let him in. As Daddy is good in a pinch, he was successful in getting inside via the side door (breaking and entering). Once inside the house, he made his way up the steps to the family room. He tried the knob and came to the same conclusion I did- the door was totally and completely stuck. More stuck than even a credit card could unstick. After the credit card fail, he needed to be on the side of the door that had the hinges on it. (The man is brilliant I tell you!) The family room faced the front of the house- which had a large front porch. The master bedroom also overlooked the porch. My father went into the master bedroom, opened the window, and crawled- commando style, in the dark- across an unfamiliar roof of the porch to a window in the family room. Once I unlocked that window (of course there was drama- the window lock was briefly stuck), he climbed in.
Another hour later, he had the door off of the hinges. FREEDOM! I streaked past him to the bathroom; which is where I was when the parents came home….
To recap, this is what they saw:
- a strange man on the second floor landing, sweaty and dirty,
- the light on and a window open in their bedroom,
- a door off the hinges and a small mess of paint chips all over the carpet, and
- no baby sitter in sight.
What a homecoming! I walked out of the bathroom as they were attempting to formulate questions- I mean, where would one start?! Thankfully, they were understanding about the strange man and the violation of their bedroom, horrified by the temporary imprisonment of their babysitter (for a variety of reasons, most importantly the safety of the children and of me), and over generous in their tip. I never baby sat for them again. I cannot remember if this was because they never called again, or because I refused to set foot in their house again….