200. Breaking Bad (into my own house)


It was Valentine’s Day and we were going out to the theatre to see a live 1960’s rock and roll tribute show in Gettysburg. My wife and daughter and I had spent an hour getting hippiefied for the show. There was a $100 prize for best dressed hippie and we wanted to win, which is a very un-hippie attitude, Man. “Like, you should just love each other in peace, ya know? No competition just kissin.” Well Momma looked good and hip; daughter too; I was rocking it big time with my low rent Jagger swagger. Oh yeah.  The problem began before we left the driveway. My wife asked if my daughter had her house key. “No. I locked the door though.”

“Oh crap. I don’t have mine. Do you have yours?” she asked me.

“Uh, no…but not to worry, I have the garage door opener.”

“No you don’t. I never put it back in your car after I used it when your opener was broken.”

“No problem, we have the hidden key.”

“Yes, but that only works for the front door. If the storm door is locked, we’re screwed.”

“Let’s check this out before we leave. We can still see things in daylight now, and it’s supposed to be snowing when we get back.”

“You know, I think that hidden key works on the downstairs sliding door.”

We trod through ten inches of snow and secured the hidden key. We hid it last fall after my daughter locked herself out of the house and broke down the glass door to get back inside. It was an awkward conversation later that day.

I tried the key on the downstairs slider. No deal, no way. “Try the upstairs slider”, my wife offered.

I walked up two flights of snow and ice covered steps to the upper deck with trepidation. “There’s not even a keyhole here, Honey.”

“Okay, it’s all or nothing on the front storm door then.”

I walked up to the front door. The snow was just an inch or two higher than my motorcycle boots, allowing just a little snow to fall in and begin melting. Nice. I reached the locked storm door.  Ugh! Tight as a drum.  I knew what we had to do eventually: break into my own house dressed as wild-eyed hippies no less. Like Charles Manson and his bloody disciples for goodness sakes!!

Back in the car I asked my wife if anyone else had one of our house keys. “When does.” She walks our dog periodically when we cant’ make it home. It’s a Vietnamese name. Not Who but When. “But it’s the same thing– opens the front door behind the storm.”

“How about Chuckles?” He used to house sit for us.

“No, he has the key to the old door before Jess smashed it.”

“Oh. We are screwed.”

“Sonja (who cleans for us occasionally) has one too….to the front door.”

“Okay, that leaves the garage window Houdini entrance.”

“Yes, but let’s go and have a good time.  We’ll break in when we get back. You’ll be all sweaty then. Forget it till then.”

“Okay.”

I felt somewhat uneasy about this future mess, tromping through the deep snow. Forcing off the screen. Opening the window. Carefully removing all the junk on the shelf in front of the window. And finally sliding feet first on my belly backwards into the garage without knocking down jars of canned peaches on the next shelf onto my wife’s Honda Civic in the dark.  Just the number of prepositional phrases needed to describe the scene is daunting. Oh it would require Spiderman like grace and strength. And here I was dressed like a pot head from the ’60’s .  I put it out of mind as we drove to the theatre, 25 minutes away. In all the stupidity of the moment, I did feel more like a bona fide hippie, however. “Dude, I locked myself out of my pad and I don’t have my rolling papers. Such a Bummer!” Like Dumb and Dumber plus Dumbest.  You can put us in any order you wish, you Blogippies.

Well, off we went and miraculously the tension abated as we passed the adult bookstore /dance emporium on the other side of the mountain. It was closed due to the weather. Amazing, ten inches of snow stopped what common decency and good taste could not.

Parking was okay and before you know it, we walked into the theatre lobby where NO ONE was dressed like a hippie. In fact, the ushers were in black uniforms talking with folks in suits and dresses. Surely this could not be right. Quickly a lady with a camera approached us smiling and asked if we’d like to be in the photo competition. To our relief other oddly dressed folks were standing on the other side of the lobby. We were complimented on our outfits, but it was surreal. I felt a bit like an entertainer at a mental hospital who’d been confused with one of the patients.  “Oh, I love what you’ve done with your mania.” “Cute pathology.” “I miss those schizophrenic days, mmmhmmm.” Fortunately other buckskins and leather vests and tie dyed stuff floated in off the street. Oh, thank God. We were not the only nudists with funny clothes on.

The show was a blast. I enjoyed the anonymity of being in costume where no one knew me. I joked about this freedom to my wife, and wouldn’t you know it? At intermission I ran right into a lady I used to work with. She recognized me in a second and took pictures for her grown up daughter Fuchsia, who was my student in seventh grade, to gasp over. As Newman often said, “Oh, the humanity!!”

We had a decade of fun reliving Woodstock era musical memories. Eventually, however, all good things must end. We said goodbye to our friends and drove back over the mountain into the oncoming snow. I knew exactly what I had to do and got right to it. No one was out. Why would they be? It was like standing at the net of a frozen spitting contest.

I gained entry and flipped the garage door opener on. We swapped keys and garage door openers and made sacred oaths never to lock the storm door ever again. Somehow, I believe it was a musical miracle, California Dreamin’ had saved our lives. I could not have dealt with a cop pulling in as I was breaking into my own house. With my luck it would be Brad, from my post 153. Porn and Rogaine, coming by to exact justice for me pranking him twenty years ago. As it turned out we went to sleep at midnight with the soundtrack of our lives buzzing in our brains. Dance to the Music….

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