Sunday, August 27, 2000

Aug 27 2000

I overslept on Sunday and told my folks to leave for church without me. After they did so — reminding me to keep an ear out for our dogs, who would probably need to go out at some point — I woke up, grabbed my Bible, and padded out in my socks onto my deck. It was about 72 degrees with low humidity, and the birds were singing to each other from the ancient oak trees nearby. I sighed contentedly, read through Proverbs chapter 27, then decided to go grab breakfast before reading more. I put my hand on the door handle, pushed, and…it was locked.

I was locked out of the house.

My beautiful new French doors were definitely locked. I knew that my parents had probably locked up the rest of the house, but I had to try everywhere else. So I gingerly stepped around to the front of the house, over our gravel driveway (not fun when the only protection that one’s feet has is a thin membrane of sock). Sure enough, that was locked. A quick trip across the gravel, then along the side of the house to the back confirmed that the basement door was likewise locked, as was the back door. Lovely.

There was one alternative, though. There is a small balcony on the second floor of our house, off of a large bathroom. It’s just big enough for two people to sit comfortably and share a card table between them — perfect for a cup of tea on an autumn day. The view through the woods is spectacular.

In any event, a sliding glass door provides access to that balcony, and if fortune was smiling on me, it might be unlocked. Unfortunately, the balcony is on the back side of our house, and due to the slope of the ground, it’s effectively two stories up from there. So I trudged back to the garage at the front of the house (more gravel!), got the extension ladder, hefted it all the way back to the back of the house, manhandled it into position, and climbed up.

After precariously clambering over the balcony railing, I stepped up to the door, took a breath to steady my all-too-hopeful heart, grabbed the handle, and pushed. It was locked.

Great. So I climbed back down, put the ladder away (gravel! gravel! ow ow ow!), and went back to my deck. I looked in balefully at Lexie, our English setter, who was whimpering and jumping about. She needed to go out. This was just getting better and better.

It was at this point that I heard the thunder. The sky had been cloudy all morning, and rain had been forecast. Fortunately, it seemed a long way off, so I sat down to think for a few minutes. This was like a puzzle in an adventure game, I decided. My character had to get into the house. What tools could I use? All of the doors were locked, and all of the windows were closed. I couldn’t pick the locks, I wasn’t about the break the windows. Meanwhile, Lexie continued to whine. I frowned to myself, thinking about how she got frantic when she need to go out. She’d leap up, trying to get our attention, sometimes knocking into things….

A crazy idea was born, and clung tenaciously to the base of my brain. If I could get either of the dogs to jump up in front of the door, they might put their paws on the latch, and then the weight of their bodies would push the latch down, opening the door. My chances were slim, but I was getting desparate. And I thought I felt a few drops of rain.

After stowing my Bible in the garage (thank goodness we’d put a door in the side of the garage, connecting it with my side yard), I grabbed a stick and held it up outside the door. Both dogs had an immediate missile lock on that wonderful, tasy, mouth-sized piece of wood. I held it near their noses, then lifted it up, calling out “Up! Up!” They eagerly stared up at the stick. “Up!” Lexie began to get agitated. “Up! Up!” She leaped, straight up, about six inches off the ground. A good start, but only a start. “Good Lexie! Up! Up!” She looked at me quizzically.

This continued for several minutes. Neither of the dogs got more than a foot off the ground, and since they never got the stick, they soon became bored with this strange little game, and just stared at me and that mouth-watering hunk of wood. Even a new stick was only enough to keep their attention for half a minute. ‘Twas a lost cause, sadly.

Finally, I followed in the footsteps of many great men. I went into the garage, climbed into my truck, stuck my foot out the driver’s side window, and slept. Or, more accurately, I dozed heavily, catching up on Friday’s terrible night’s sleep.

I snoozed without incident until my parents came home. Fortunately, they did not go out to lunch as they had debated doing, and Lexie had had no accidents in the meantime. And the weather had been pleasant, the rain changing its mind and wrapping itself up behind a ceiling of clouds until later in the day.

Later in the afternoon I went to an AWANA leaders’ picnic at a local park, where some of the clubbers came. We had a really good time, and talked about some ideas for the coming year, including concerns about how we do shares. Right now, the kids get shares (a.k.a. “AWANA dollars”) for finishing sections, coming to club, wearing their uniform, etc., and then a couple of times a year we hold an AWANA store where the kids can buy a trinkets and such. Sadly, that’s caused a lot of greed and ill-will (really, more from parents who ask “Why don’t you have thus-and-so? You had it LAST week! My boy wants thus-and-so!”). So maybe there’s a solution; we’ll be thinking and praying about it.

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