We often have houseguests and usually give them a key to our house so they can come and go as they please. When we stayed with my brother-in-law a few months back, his wife offered us a key. I said we didn’t need one because my brother-in-law had already given me the keypad code to their garage door and their code to disarm the security system. I didn’t know how much I would regret this.
We were driving back to their home from a wedding late at night. My husband, a.k.a. the Bathroom Nazi, would not stop for his wife or any of his children to use the restroom on the two-hour ride back. I should be used to this by now, but after giving birth to five children any time I have to use the restroom is pretty much an emergency.
We finally arrived at their house and I jumped out of the car to enter the garage door code. I entered the numbers, the pound sign, and then pressed enter. The garage door didn’t move. Instead the entire keypad started blinking. I tried again. This time without the pound sign. Still nothing just a blinking keypad mocking me.
My husband got out of the car and immediately started questioning my ability to enter a garage door code. “Are you sure you did it right? Here. Let me try.” No success. He then repeatedly texted his brother to try to wake him up. (Knocking wasn’t an option since we didn’t want to wake their children.)
By now my teenage daughters were getting impatient and they were confident their parents did not know how to operate a keypad. My oldest daughter stomped out of the car in her high heels and demanded the code. (Did I mention she and my husband are very similar?) Nothing happened. I smugly felt good about this except that by now my need to go to the bathroom was far outweighing my need to be right.
Without saying a word, my son calmly got out of the car and started opening the gate to the backyard. I have no idea where he gets his calm demeanor. He definitely did not inherit it from me or my husband.
I didn’t have time to question whether or not going in the backyard after 1 a.m. was a good idea. I was pretty confident it wasn’t. In this case there were two obvious reasons why it made me a little nervous. One, my brother-in-law is a police officer and I was worried he would mistake his nephew for an intruder. I didn’t see that ending well. And two, they had a dog. Max was a fat bull dog with large, scary bottom teeth. Lucky for us, Max had a doggy door. Bingo!
It was clear my husband and teenage son would not fit through the tiny doggy door. I don’t even know how Max gets in and out to be honest. My teenage daughters and I were wearing sleeveless, cocktail dresses and heels, and our little children weren’t with us. Argh.
Although I was wearing a white dress (of course, the one time I opt for something other than black), I felt responsible for our situation. Unfortunately, by now the bathroom situation was at a mock 10 level. I told my husband he had to take me to the nearest gas station before I could even attempt to squeeze through that thing.
After returning and finally able to exhale, I said a quick prayer that Max wouldn’t eat me and that I wouldn’t set off the home security system and wake up the entire neighborhood. I slipped out of my high heels and ignored the fact that I’m a little claustrophobic. Instead I channeled my inner Mrs. Incredible and squeezed through the small opening as fast as I could.
No alarm went off and the dog was snoring in a corner. (Why was I ever afraid of him?) I stood up, looked at my family and was tempted to wave good-bye and go to bed since the majority of them were angry with me. Then I saw the look on my husband’s face. He was in complete disbelief by what I had just accomplished. It was like I had saved the world from destruction just in the nick of time like a super hero. He was totally impressed. I had to let him in. He was so proud of me.
The next morning we learned my brother-in-law gave us the wrong keypad instructions and he felt terrible. As for me, from now on I will always opt for the house key and save my Elastigirl skills for another time.
(First published in the Atchison Globe 6-4-16.)