I live in a large house with four other housemates. My “room” is a 1200 square foot loft-esque space that occupies the entire bottom floor of the house. I have my own entrances from the outside, but I also have a door to my area from the inside of the house. That’s the entrance I typically use because I park in the garage and then walk through the house and downstairs to my area. It’s this last entrance that is at issue.
I had plans with friends to go see “Robin Hood” Friday night. I came home, tossed my keys on the desk, and sat down to poke around on the computer for a while. 45 minutes later, it was time to go. So I got up and walked out of my door. I started to close it behind me, and then realized that I hadn’t locked the door from the inside. You’d think that would have been a clue – but oh no, that would have required actual thought. So I reached back around to the inside knob and locked it. And then I closed the door.
I headed up toward the garage and reached for my keys. “Where are my – shit, I left the car keys in the…the…house…with the…house keys…fuck. FUCK!” I just kind of stood there, dumbfounded. I was on the phone with my girlfriend at the time (no, not her fault I was distracted – that’s all on me), and she suggested trying to pick the lock. I tried credit cards and other assorted items, but I just couldn’t get at the latch the right way. Then I removed the pins from the door hinges so I could try to pull the door off. Unfortunately, the way the door swings, there wasn’t any way to slide it off the hinges while the door was locked. Oh, and I managed to cut my finger really badly with a pair of pliers I’d used to pull out the pins.
So now I’m just standing in front of my door, bleeding and looking otherwise stupid, as well. I call my friends to tell them I’m not going to make the movie (cue laughter on the other end of the phone). Fortunately, one of my housemates got home about 20 minutes later and was able to look up a locksmith for me. Emergency locksmith calls on a Friday night are…not cheap. 90 minutes and $140 later, I was back in my place. Embarrassed and really pissed off about my rather costly mistake, but home again. At least I was locked out of only my area and still able to be inside the house, so I could watch TV and be relatively comfortable while I waited. But somehow, it felt WORSE to be so very close to my place and yet, not quite there. Gah.
I have since been EXTREMELY careful about making sure I’ve had my keys on me.
It is a good idea, but my housemates are 20 and 21, and they act their age. I had someone from a party they’d held back in February come downstairs and into my place to use my bathroom when I wasn’t there, which is what inspired me to put a keyed lock on it in the first place. So I’m wary about them having that key.
I always always always physically hold my keys in my left hand every time I leave. A few bad experiences from my teen years taught me well.
About ten years ago I got home from a vacation and found my keys didn’t work. I was tired and hungry and it was late, and I didn’t know what to do. I ended up going to a local store and calling a locksmith. $150.
When I told my landlady a couple of days later, she hit the roof. $150?!? $150?!? Didn’t I know that Joe (downstairs neighbor, cousin of landlady) knew a guy who’d charge only $40? No, I told, her, I didn’t know that. And Joe wasn’t home. “Well, he was just out getting milk. He was going to be home in just half an hour.” Yeah, lady, right. It was on a Saturday night between Christmas and New Years. I should have naturally expected him to return home within a few minutes.
Burying a key in the yard somewhere around my house in a waterproof container has saved my ass quite a few times and I don’t worry about it being accidently found and used. A few minutes with a shovel is cheaper than 140.00.
I also keep a spare set in my office, car and my wallet.
This thread makes me happy that the doors I use to get in and out of our house can’t be locked from the outside without a key. Then there’s no choice but to physically hold the keys in your hand when you leave the house, since there is no other way to lock the door.
There is a door that I could use and end up locking myself out, but it’s not the door I generally use.
My Plan B is a spare key with the neighbors. When I was a kid, everybody did that. I still think it’s a good idea. Our housecleaner also has a key.
Is there anybody who lives nearby that you could trust with a spare key?
Nobody I know. I think I have two options, though. I can see if there’s any way my gigantic key (and it is gigantic) can be copied onto a key that doesn’t have such a big head so I can store it in my wallet (something I never leave the house without). Alternatively, I only live a mile from work, so I could leave the key in my office and walk to work to retrieve it in an emergency.
I spent a few days staying with a friend once a year or two back. He ended up coming home VERY late one night, so I basically had the run of his place. After I went to bed, his dogs kicked up a fuss out on the enclosed porch. So I grabbed a flashlight and went to check it out.
The door locked behind me.:eek: I’m left standing on the porch, wearing my glasses and skivvies and a panicked expression. Fortunately, there was a doggie flap door back into the house. I spent a few minutes wondering if it was better to sleep on the floor of the porch with a rug wrapped around me, or be found stuck in the doggie flap door when he got home. I decided to risk the doggie door, and wriggled through with no problems, and no appendages scraped or torn off or otherwise damaged. I went back to bed, and never told my friend. I’m sure he would have told the entire world about this one.
We have locks that have to be locked with a key, too. I also make it a habit to always keep my car keys in my hand from the time the ignition is turned off until the car door is shut for the final time. You can guess why I developed that habit.
Mine’s like Anne Neville’s… only lockable with a key. I have locked my car, with the key in the ignition AND the engine on. Yes, I know, how lame! It was years ago, now I make sure the key is in my hand before I shut the door.
Just pretend you can’t lock the door without the key?
I once locked my keys out of my upstairs apt on a Friday night. I called every locksmith in the book and no one would come. I was also stuck because my car keys were with my house keys, there was no apartment manager, and the apartment owner basically said she could get me a key Monday and good luck 'til then.
I ended up finding a rickety old ladder, telling my 2 year old daughter not to move from the spot I put her, and hauling myself up and over the balcony railing and into the back door. It was really harrowing, but I was kind of proud of myself for doing it too.