Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hey, Daddy-O, I Don't Wanna Go

(Ramones fans may recognize the snippet of lyric I'm using for my title, in which case they will have an inkling of where this is headed. It's really not enough to give away much, of course, but it does at least give a clue as to where I end up. The rest of you will just have to wait.)

In the pantheon of incredibly stupid moments during the life of Jim, yesterday secured a hallowed place. Let me tell you about it.

It began innocently enough. I had left work early on Tuesday with a headache and slight fever. It felt like the beginnings of the flu. Being a kindhearted and thoughtful fellow, I didn't want to expose my co-workers to it any more than I already had, so I went home.

Come Wednesday morning, and I still feel fairly punk (which is a decent pun, when you consider my choice of title, but I digress) so I called in sick. As MY WIFE is leaving for work, she reminds me that she will be working late. She holds a part-time second job, in a retail clothing chain, as a sales person. Her scheduled shifts are generally Wednesday evening and most of the day on Saturday.

(I would tell you the name of the store, but the idiocy that follows might reflect badly upon her - and thus upon the store - for having married someone so stupid, and why denigrate Talbots for no good reason?)


Anyway, she wouldn't be home until about 10 pm, an hour or so after the store closed.

I went about the usual business of a person home from work sick. I first lounged around on the couch, watching an old Rosalind Russell - Bob Cummings romantic comedy on Turner Classic Movies. I think the name of it was I'm In Love With A Sarcastic Bitch Who Has Really Given Me No Good Reason To Want To Re-Marry Her, And Her Miserable Bastard Grandfather Uses Every Opportunity He Can Conceive Of To Fuck Me Over, Giving Me Every Right To Strangle The Old Coot In The Final Scene, But This Is The 1940s, So We All Live Happily Ever After, Instead, but I may be mistaken. I also took a nap.

Upon awakening from the nap at 3:30, I'm hungry. I'm not feeling too bad - perhaps all I needed was some extra rest - so I decide to go out and get a sandwich.

(This is where the fun begins, so pay attention.)

Our house has an odd feature to it. Our kitchen door, rather than leading directly to the back yard, leads instead to a small common area shared with the upstairs tenants. This common area has a door that leads to the actual outside world, as well as a door that leads to the basement.

Once you venture outside, the door to the outside world requires a key to get back in, of course. The door to our kitchen does, also. When we go down to the basement - to do laundry, usually - we always have to remember to unlock the kitchen door. Otherwise, we will be unable to re-enter the actual living area of the house.

I put on a sweater and a hat. Even though it was reasonably warm out for January (I think it was about 50 degrees yesterday) I did have some sort of cold or flu or was just plain run down, so no harm in keeping a chill from my body. I went out the kitchen door, into the common area. As I was considering what type of sandwich I would drive to get, I pulled the kitchen door closed behind me. As soon as I heard the *CLICK* of it locking, I realized - with that horrible sinking feeling one gets in the pit of the stomach whenever one has been an idiot - that I had forgotten to take my car keys with me.

And my house keys.

The keys were both on the same keyring, hanging where I always put them, next to the kitchen door SO I WON'T EVER FORGET THEM WHEN I GO OUT.

I immediately knew that there was no way for me to get back into the house. However, I explored all of the possibilities.

I made a circle of the house, checking all of the windows to see if one might be unlocked, and through which I might crawl. Nope.

I tried the front door, hoping that MY WIFE might have forgotten to lock it on her way out that morning. Nope.

I went back into the common area. I took out my credit cards and drivers license and library card and tried to do that thing you've seen in movies where a guy slides a credit card between the doorlatch and the molding, somehow miraculously making the lock pop open. DUH! Nope.

I went down into the basement, found a key that goes to the garage door, and went back upstairs and tried to jiggle it around inside the kitchen door lock, hoping against hope that it might somehow open it, even though the key for the garage was about a quarter inch shorter than the actual key I needed. Nope.

I returned that key to the basement, and found a small screwdriver. I took the small screwdriver back up the stairs and tried to jimmy the lock open with it. I am happy to report, to all law enforcement authorities who may someday be interested, that I have no facility whatsoever as a burglar. The door remained locked.

I considered other avenues of re-entry. I could break a window and then reach in and open it. No, I wasn't so desperate that I needed to incur the expense of replacing a window, nor have the possibility of slicing my wrist open and bleeding to death. I could kick the door down, but that would be even more expensive. I could call MY WIFE at work and have her come home to let me in. No, I wasn't about to cost her a night's pay because I had been imbecilic enough to lock myself out. If I had still really felt sick, I might have, but I didn't feel all that bad.

I finally resigned myself to the fact that all I could really do was call myself a frickin' moron and wait six hours or so for MY WIFE to come home and let me back into the house.

The saving grace in this absurd situation was that I still had access to the basement. We have a storage room as part of our rental, where I keep my old phonograph records and a combination record player/radio, and other things - boxes of musty old magazines and books; some odd musical instruments, like a ukelele, a harmonica, a thumb piano, and a bagpipe chanter; and old furniture, including a ratty easy chair - so I could reasonably entertain myself in relative comfort for a while. Also, we do our laundry down there. I'd make myself useful during my captivity by washing some clothes.

And so that's what I did. I loaded the washing machine, and listened to scratchy old records by Focus, Wishbone Ash, David Johansen, and Black Oak Arkansas. When it got to be 7:30, I put the Celtics game on the radio, hearing them lose for only the fourth time this season, which was somehow fitting considering my situation. I strummed the ukelele, thumbed the thumb piano, and blew the harp and chanter, realizing quickly why I kept each one in the storage room and not upstairs with the instrument I can actually play, the bass.

Thankfully, I had been smart enough to put on the sweater and hat, even though it had been reasonably warm out. As the evening progressed, the basement became chillier. I would have been somewhat miserable - and probably exacerbated whatever cold or flu I had - if I hadn't had that tiny bit of foresight.

Periodically, I thought I might have heard someone walking around upstairs, so I'd go outside (being careful to unlock the outside door before doing so) and check the windows for lights. Every time, it was just my imagination, so I returned to the basement and flipped through old copies of Blackjack Forum magazine, left over from my days of heavy involvement with card-counting and other ultimately non-productive gambling daliances.

All in all, it wasn't a horrible six hours. Aside from calling myself a dope at regular intervals, it was mostly enjoyable.

Finally, at a bit after 10 o'clock, I heard sounds from upstairs that let me know without a doubt that MY WIFE was really home. I went up the stairs and knocked on the kitchen door.

MY WIFE said a somewhat cautious "Yes?" through the door, to which I replied with a somewhat embarrassed "Hi, it's me."

She then let me in and I related to her the sorry tale you've just been told. And then, because I never did get the sandwich I had originally gone out for and I was hungry as hell, I made myself a dinner of macaroni and tomatoes, which I enjoyed while MY WIFE no doubt wondered how she ended up married to such a whack job.

The first thing I'm doing after work today is going to the hardware store and have about sixteen extra keys made. I'm going to secrete them in various places around and about the yard, in my car, underneath welcome mats, and inside Ram Jam and Budgie record jackets. Something will happen to make all of that precaution totally useless the next time I do something similar, of course. Perhaps I'll somehow trap myself on the roof next time and need a ladder, instead of a key. However, until that happens, I'll be prepared.

Soon, with more better stuff.


Anonymous said...

I just hope no local burglars read your blog... 'cause now they know that they just need to turn over the odd rock around your place to find a key. :-)

lime said...

lol...what sween said.

also i had a vision of yo udoning what chevy chase did in 'christmas vacation' when he got locked inthe in a fluffy robe and turban weeping over home movies. lol.

david mcmahon said...

Jim, there's always gold at the end of your rainbow.

Suldog said...

Sween - All the rocks around my place are odd. How did you know?

Lime - Well, I didn't tell about the part where I took the clothes out of the dryer and, feeling how warm they were, piled a whole bunch of them around me in the ratty old easy chair.

David - There is also always a rainbow at the end of my gold.

(Hey, that's pretty good! I should have saved that.) said...

You need to rig up one of those "ass kicking" machines down there like you see in cartoons, and give yourself a good one!

Naw, it happens to us all once in a blue moon!

NAP...wish you hadn't used that word...I can seem to think of much else I'd rather do.

Anonymous said...

Macaroni & Tomatoes???? It must run in the family. That is my favorite meal... well next to Fillet Mignon.

Suldog said...

Mushy - For what it's worth, you have my permission to nap.

Uncle Jim - Oh, yes, one of my absolute favorites. I probably have it once a week on average. It's a very satisfying and comforting meal for me.

Sharfa said...

You could always Go Keyless

One of the best places to hide a spare house key is in your wallet...good to have if you get locked out, but bad to have if someone steals your wallet.

You certainly made the best out of a bad situation.

Unknown said...

Haha, glad I am not the only one who does things like that ^^

Thanks for sharing and making it into an enjoyable blog post for all of us to enjoy from the INSIDE of our house.


David Sullivan said...

I've locked myself out of the house a few times. Luckily I've learned a few tricks in my day on how to break...I mean...get back in. ;)

Melinda said...

Sounds like you made some pretty fantastic lemonade! ;)

btw - I got the Pointy CD in the mail today - it's FABULOUS. Thanks so much once again!

Suldog said...

Sharfa - I used to go keyless back in Dorchester. When I was growing up (back when pleisiosaurs swam the Neponset River) we NEVER even locked our front door. Can you imagine? No locked doors in Dorchester and nobody ripped off your every posession? Amazing, but true.

Karen - My pleasure, at least in retrospect.

Cuz - If I could have somehow gotten to my phone, I would have called you for advice, no doubt.

M - Took me the longest time to figure out what you were saying. I'm just dumb, of course. Yes, I made lemonade from the truckload of lemons I self-delivered. said...

Sul - Please send me an email address to fuzzbert_1999 AT

We need to discuss BLOOKING!

Deni said...

HI Jim,well living in the middle of nowhere with snow halfway up the house,we don't lock our doors,hey we are so far out any visitors would be glady welcomed

Anonymous said...

The key here is to now take that sick day from work when you are feeling better. Your co-workers will think you have had a relapse and you can spend the day tooling around the city at your leisure.

Melissa said...

Well thank goodness you weren't too sick and needed to lay down, though from the sounds of it, I bet you could have constructed a bedding area in the basement!

You kept great spirits throughout all of it, I don't know many people who would have done that.

kuanyin333 said...

Hee hee! You make me laugh--what a good writer you are. You NEED these experiences you see so you can make the rest of us laugh. :-)

I broke into our home once after a long journey overseas. I had absolutely no patience because I was so tired, and I found a way to do it, and now that I know, I feel so accomplished.

Buck said...

No one else is likely to read this except you, Jim, and I'm OK with that. Just wanted to tell you I'm enjoying your writing... truly among the best I've seen/read in quite a while. While I've read and enjoyed your comments on other blogs the two of us frequent, this is my first visit to your place.

It won't be the last.

Debbie said...

Hey Jim,
this is one of your younger cousins, Deb. David is my oldest Brother. We met at a family reunion at my dad's in the late
80's or early 90's.
I have been reading your Blog for more than a year now and I Love it!!! It seems to be the only family history I can get from the Sullivan side. Uncle Jimmie tried to get me in the right direction with the "Aunt's" but they didn't offer much.
Anyway, I'm interested in the Mac and cheese and tomatoe receipie.

Suldog said...

Hi, Deb!

Glad to know you're reading (well, except for the parts where I totally embarrass myself and the entire family, but...)

I've become more aware of my role as a sort of "family historian" since getting to know David better. If there's anything in particular you'd like to know, drop me a line:

As for the recipe, it's not mac and cheese and tomatoes, it's just plain old macaroni and tomatoes. Cook the macaroni, open a can of tomatoes (I prefer plum tomatoes) and heat them up in a saucepan, cut the tomatoes up with a knife, to whatever size you prefer, and then dump them over the macaroni. It's just a simple yet fulfilling dinner.

Good to hear from you!