I was alone for most of the day yesterday, my husband away for about twelve hours at work. I had been running around all day, completing things here and there, managing my cherubs, and overall feeling quite accomplished, when the babies’ bedtime rolled around.
I felt so accomplished, in fact, that I decided to replace a few outdoor lightbulbs before the sun set.
After grabbing a fresh bulb, I grabbed the key ring that held the key to the deadbolt on the patio door. I walked outside, painlessly changed the nearest bulb, and continued across the deck. The babies were watching me from the window. I waved and smiled. I decided to make it a game. A little indoor-outdoor Peek-a-Boo, if you will.
I continued to the farthest window with the old light bulb and key ring in my hand, paying particular attention to the space between the boards. On my way over, I started to think, “If I dropped these keys, they would…”
Fall right through. Before I could even complete the thought, I was watching the keys skid across a wood plank and land, with a clink, in the dirt below the deck.
I laughed quietly to myself. No biggie, right? I walked down into the yard, calculating whether or not I would be able to crawl underneath and get the keys. I concluded that they were too far away and the ground had too much dirt. I walked back up onto the deck and peered down at the key ring. Something long. I need something long.
I attempted to contain my mounting fear as I approached the back door to return inside. I tried to turn the knob. Locked.
It was at that point I began to run maniacally around in circles on the deck, holding my forehead, hysterical about the fact that I was trapped outside my house, in my pajamas, with nothing but a dead light bulb, and my three children were inside.
I was panicked. Panicked. I had already gathered the complete mental picture of my mugshot, face blotchy from crying, no bra, and crooked ponytail. I prepared for my arraignment. I considered the reality that orange is not my color.
I looked down at my right hand. There were my house keys. There were my house keys. I didn’t remember bringing my house keys outside with me, but I must have grabbed them, because there they were. I hopped off the deck like Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas morning, ran around to the side of the house, and in through the open garage.
Upon returning inside, I called my husband, having a conversation that included several hypotheticals and a preponderance of nervous laughter. He informed me there was a spare key in the office. I hung up the phone. I didn’t need no stinkin’ spare key. I needed to get that key. I wouldn’t sleep until I got that key. My ego depended on it.
After checking on the babies, who were doing just fine, I flew up the stairs, on a mission to find a wire hanger with which I could unbend and pull the keys back up through the space between the planks. I went to our closet. No wire hangers. No wire hangers!
I grabbed two plastic hangers and headed into the next bedroom. No wire hangers there, either. Once I was done sweeping the closets for hangers I wouldn’t keep around the house anyway, I descended the stairs to complete my mission.
I went outside, with my keys, and lay face down on the deck. I tried the first hanger. Not long enough. I tried the second hanger, a toddler-sized hanger. Not long enough, either. Go figure. I decided I needed string. I hopped back up and ran into the house again, the babies following my every move.
I opened our household tool/junk/things-we-don’t-want-the-babies-to-assault-one-another-with drawer and couldn’t find the twine. I stared into the drawer. Hammer? No. Scissors? No. Picture hanging kit? Nope. Tape measure? Bingo!
I snapped up the tape measure and swiftly returned outside. I lay down again, on my stomach, on the deck, fixing my gaze on the keys. I extended the tape measure to the ground. I was Inspector Gadget, sans trench. I was McGyver. I had this.
I hooked the key ring to the end of the tape measure and very carefully (and very slowly) reeled it in. If this were a carnival game, I was all over that four-foot-tall tie-dyed teddy bear, that Def Leppard poster. Hell, maybe both.
I wrestled the keys back up through the opening and into my hand. I sighed with great relief.
I jumped up and yelled, “I did it!” The babies were staring quizzically. “I did it!” I yelled, as I dangled the keys towards them. They were unimpressed.
I ran inside and texted my husband, “I did it! I’m McGyver!”
“Cool,” he responded anticlimactically.
I was pretty impressed with myself, despite the lukewarm reception. I’m the girl who has trouble walking from the counter to the table with a hot cup of coffee, the girl who trips over the doormat. And I retrieved those keys. I saved the keys, dammit, saved my children, and saved the world.
I’m a hero. Seriously.
Next up? I’ll use my powers to somehow stop my daughter from licking the bricks around the fireplace. Don’t worry. I’ll figure it out. There is twine around here somewhere.