Late Night Drives & Frozen Locks.

This is Part 2 of my “welcome back to writing” post. See The List. for Part 1.

It was a snow-covered, bone-chilling February evening when I had the brilliant idea to head down to my family’s new-to-us lakehouse for some alone time. It was perfect timing to get away and I couldn’t wait to write, draw, and watch movies. I decided my night out with a friend gave me enough energy for the drive. I text my dad I was going to leave that night instead of in the morning. Seeing as it was 11PM, he questioned if I should wait since the house is about an hour away and the route is fairly desolate at night with curvy roadways. Like any stubborn woman, I assured him I was fine and took off.

Thanks to satellite radio, the drive’s music was on point: Notorious B. I. G., Sheryl Crow, Third Eye Blind, Hillsong, Band of Horses, Miike Snow, Skee Low, The Arcs, and the list goes on and on. It was, by far, the best unplanned mix. Based on music alone, it was like that drive was MEANT to happen. I arrived around midnight and was anxious to get inside and just “be”. With the exception of the neighbor’s motion sensor lights, no outdoor lights were on, which led to a bit of scrambling when I tried to unlock the doors. I couldn’t seem to get my key into the deadbolt, so I settled for the knob first. I put the key in, rotated it, unlocked it, turned it to get the key out, turned it to get the key out, turned it to get the key out…it was stuck. I stood there for a few minutes trying to wiggle it out and repeat the rotation, but it didn’t work. Being the good father that he is, I knew my dad would be up until he heard I arrived safely. Instead, he got a text from his daughter at midnight saying that her key was stuck in the door, the deadbolt was still locked, and she couldn’t get in the house. He gave me suggestions on what to do and also said it was so cold that the key could have froze inside the lock. Knowing my affinity for coffee, he jokingly asked if I happened to have any to pour on the handle in order to melt the ice. I didn’t.

Being the problem solver I am, I thought of what I had in my car that I could use to MacGyver my way in. I had an empty water bottle, frozen vegetables, eggs, bread, Shaklee cleaning supplies, rags, a tire pressure gauge, blanket, Bogs, and my always packed overnight bag with hygiene products, pajamas, etc. Essentially, if the door needed to be cleaned or fed, I was golden but that wasn’t the case. As I was thinking, I would head back to the door and try to wiggle the key out. But each time I got out of my car, the motion sensor light would come on and the dogs would start barking. Did I mention it was midnight? The wiggling and anger methods didn’t work so I tried breathing heavily on it hoping the steam would melt the ice holding the key. I would do that until I’d get so cold I couldn’t tolerate it and head back to the car. This didn’t work. Bobby pins didn’t work either and I was aggravated. Around 12:15AM, I decided to crank up the heat to warm up the Shaklee glass cleaner (made of mostly water) with the hope to get it hot enough to pour on the knob and melt the ice inside the lock. I put the half-filled spray container on the floor, turned the heat to 90, turned the fan on high, aimed the vents to the floor, and almost patiently waited. Seven minutes went by and I decided enough was enough, so I took my not-so-heated bottle and poured it on the lock. Nope. If anything, I made the issue worse because as soon as the solution hit the ground, it was ice.

Since I had consumed a bottle of water on the drive down, I had to go to the bathroom. As Gru says in Despicable Me, “Liiiiiiiight buuuuuulb”. What if I could go to the bathroom using my empty water bottle to collect a heating agent?! If coffee would be hot enough to melt the ice, urine definitely is! I grabbed my pocket knife, cut open the bottle, and marched into the backyard to finish this once and for all. The motion sensor light comes on and the dogs start barking again. There was nowhere to hide. I was finished. I was done. I was frustrated. I also chickened out. What if the urine thing WOULDN’T work?  I’d have to drive home with no way to wash up and urine would be all over the door handle and walkway. Gross. I text my dad I was heading back and he said he was coming down the next morning so it was okay to leave the key in the lock. He would figure it out. I pulled out of the driveway around 12:30AM and made the drive of shame back home.

The music on the way home was not so great. It was like Sirius XM knew my defeat and gave me songs to remind me of it, like Nickelback’s “This is How You Remind Me”. Hard pass. Forever. I got back and crawled in bed. I laid there thinking how and why did this night take a turn? Things were going so well! Instead of spending a night relaxing, I was irritated, so very tired driving back, wasted gas money, I made my dad stay up late, and I proved I was not capable of peeing in a bottle.

The next morning, I got up, made enough coffee for drinking and pouring onto a lock, got in my car, and started the trip all over again. It was a beautiful sunny day and I could tell it was going to redeem itself. There was a pastry shop called ‘Sweet Temptations’ about half-way down that I had wanted to stop at so many times but it was rarely open when I drove by. That particular Saturday, it was open and this day was worthy of stopping. Let’s be honest, any day is worthy of pastry shop stopping. I got a cream cheese cinnamon roll and he gave me samples of other items. It was one of the best cinnamon rolls I have ever had and he was such a pleasant guy. This is now a must stop pastry shop. If the ‘Open’ sign is on, my car is going in. En route, my dad text me that when he arrived, the key popped right out. Of course it did. Why wouldn’t it?  (Sidenote: almost every time I see the word “popped”, I think it says “pooped” and the sentence becomes far more interesting. You’re welcome.) He said the sun had been hitting the knob all morning and melted the ice inside the lock. My response to that was asking that if urine would have been poured on the handle last night, would that have worked?  His answer? Yes. Yes it would have.

Moral of the story – always have hot coffee with you, don’t be afraid to pee in a cup, and sometimes things happen so you can get a pastry. (Another sidenote: my auto-correct initially changed ‘pastry’ to ‘laser’, which is still equally true.)


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