Snow in the Northwest

Posted by on Jan 19, 2012 | 0 comments

Excuse me if there are typos in this post.  My friggin’ fingers are still numb.  Let me explain.

We live on the Puget Sound.  You may have seen where the northwest has gotten blasted with snow over the past few days.   This morning, my friend Curt sent an email asking how we were holding out.  I decided to send a picture so everyone could see.  I work from an alcove off a bedroom on the second floor of the house where we’re staying.  The bedroom has a nice balcony so I decided to brave the snowstorm for a second and snap a couple of shots with my iPhone.  It was going to be a quick trip, so I didn’t grab my coat – I was dressed in jeans and a polo shirt and wearing slippers (one of the benefits of working from home).  I stepped outside and closed the door behind me so the cold wouldn’t get in.  Less than a minute later, I was done and ready to head back in.  Not so fast.  Someone had locked the door handle and I was locked out.

A bit of history – all the doors in the house have deadbolts plus handle locks – the kind that stays locked unless you manually turn them.  When we moved in, we didn’t know this and Michelle locked herself out once.  We learned from this experience and we did two things to make sure it didn’t happen again.  First thing we did –  we made it house rule number one  to only use the deadbolts – never the handle lock.  The handle locks are to remain unlocked always.   Second thing we did was we hid a key outside in case we screwed up on rule number one.

This solution has worked pretty well.  One occasional problem is that no one else knows about house rule number one and sometimes people come over and notice that a handle lock is unlocked.  Wanting to be helpful, they lock it for us, usually not telling us.  That’s when the hidden key comes in handy.  For me, the problem was solved.  I never even check anymore – the doors are always supposed to be unlocked, right?  With a backup, even.   Not this time.

Someone had locked the handle and I was locked out.   Worse, the hidden key was no help because it’s downstairs and I was stuck on the balcony on the second floor – no way to get down and no way to get in.  In the blizzard.  In my friggin’ slippers.

I knew Michelle had just gotten in the shower downstairs.  This could be problematic because she doesn’t always hurry through this event.  😉    Worse, she usually turns her phone off so she doesn’t have to be bothered by it ringing while she’s in the shower – calling wouldn’t help  (trust me, I called ten times!)   Left with few options, I naturally started pounding on the door.  I wasn’t acting completely irrationally as I hoped that our two dogs would be curious as to why someone was standing outside in the snow on the second floor balcony, pounding away.

I guess that was something the dogs didn’t expect.  It probably took five minutes or so before Sam (our alpha German Shepherd) finally came upstairs to see what all the racket was.  (By the way, five minutes is a pretty long time if you’re standing in a blizzard in your slippers, staring inside at the warm room.)  Sam didn’t bark.  Instead, he kind of cocked his head, trying to figure out why I was standing outside.   He gave me a pretty effective “What the hell’s wrong with you? Why are you standing outside beating on the door?” kind of look.  He wagged his tail like this must be some kind of new game.  Fortunately, I’ve trained him to bark on a hand signal and believe me, I was signaling away.  Finally, he got it and he started barking.  This was to be my salvation, I figured.   Michelle would wonder why Sam was barking and she’d come to find out.  I’d be let in.

And that’s pretty much the way it happened – about fifteen minutes later.  Five minutes after Sam started barking, Sarge (the omega dog) came upstairs to see what was going on.  He was pretty amused as well and he joined in.  I had to keep beating on the door, and giving the bark command, otherwise they stopped and just stood and wagged their tails.   Great fun.  I was worried that if they stopped barking, Michelle would assume I was just playing with them and she’d never come up (assuming  she heard us in the first place).  Fortunately, beating on the door and stamping my feet were the only things that kept me warm.

Eventually, Michelle came up, wrapped in a towel.  I think she wondered why I was teasing the dogs so much.  She got a pretty good kick out of my predicament.

So, lesson learned.  Again.   Good news is that now, twenty minutes later, I’m starting to feel my toes again.

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