Friday, September 13, 2013

If There Was a Key to Happiness I'd Probably Forget It

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Cigarettes. Glasses. Money.

That was my mom’s recitation before she left the house. Those were the things she couldn’t be without when she went into Loblaw’s or Lawsons or Guy’s Drug Store.

After locking myself out of my house twice in two months since moving here, I’ve had lots of time to think about why Keys weren’t on my mom’s exit list.

It’s actually simple: She never locked the doors to the house, and her car keys were in the car. Even when the greenhouse across the street was robbed and Ed and Mrs. Owen were tied up and their house ransacked for egg money. Even when a prison moved in 2 miles down the road. Even when Ed’s Greenhouse was robbed again. And if by chance my mom did lock all the doors in the house when she left? She could just grab the keys that were in her car. The unlocked car. In the driveway. Two miles from the prison. Across the street from the robby place.

Obviously the time and place in which I live now is just a little bit different than Hubbard, Ohio, in the 1960s and ‘70s. It seems that each time I move, I get further away from Hubbard, both geographically and Mayberry-spiritually.

In my most recent move, before I could even put on my list Find place to hide house key I had already locked myself out of the house. It happened right after I was handed the keys by our Realtor after the final closing. He met me in our apartment parking lot and handed me a bottle of champagne and a white envelope full of five house keys. I was so excited to get into the house and walk through it without being followed around by someone in a jacket holding brochures that I threw some stuff in the car and drove right over there.

My first time pulling the car into such a narrow driveway on such a busy street was made more complicated by the three garbage cans lying willy nilly and in my path. So after going into the house, setting up the wine and wine glasses on a scarf on the living room floor in front of the fireplace (nice touch, I know. Thank you.) I decided to go out and put the garbage cans back in their place.

The fact that I did not leave my cell phone lying on the fireplace mantel with all five house keys was God’s way of saying Oh crap, Diane, you’ve just answered my question Can you be any more stupid?  The answer being, Yes, I could have also left my cell phone in the house.
Did I have a key hidden? Did I know a neighbor who might have had a key? Did I know a neighbor period? Nope to all of the above.

So I called my Realtor, who was in a meeting with an almost dead cell phone, but he managed to get me a locksmith, who came and opened the house for me. Because, you know, there were no other keys that the sellers held back for later middle-of-the-night break-ins.

After that debacle, I was afraid to leave the house for fear I would get locked out. I walked around with four keys in my hand, reasoning that if one of them fell, one of them vaporized, and one of them teleported to a parallel universe, I would still have a key to get into the house.

We eventually came up with an emergency lock-out plan, but by then I was obsessed about where the extra spare keys should go. Their placement - their very existence - became as crucial as if I were given the holy grail inside the ark of the covenant and asked to hang on to it for a sec while an epic battle was fought. Or something.

For about an hour I walked around the house trying to figure out what to do with the other spare keys. Took me at least 45 minutes to conclude that of all the places in the galaxy, the single worst place to put your spare house key is anywhere inside the house. So deciding which drawer to put them in was a big waste of time.

And after all that obsessing, I still locked myself out again. Next time, I’m going to be sure to at least have cigarettes, glasses and money, so I can walk down to the sidewalk cafe and have a drink and a smoke.

If you like Diane's humorous take on moving, you'll love her book Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves.

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