On New Year's Eve, I had quite the experience, and I am glad it ended my 2008 rather than kicked off my 2009.
I failed to see the humor in it at the time, but as I look back, I can chuckle a little as I retell the story that many rolled in laughter about.
If you remember, there was a heck of a snowstorm that day. The temperature was low and the winds were whipping, but, alas, The Daily Star does not have snow days. So, I proceeded to get ready for work.
Part of my morning schedule is to take my briefcase, my 2-year-old daughter Hailey's day-care bag, my purse and other items out to the car before bundling Hailey into her winter garb and heading out the door.
The less I have in my hands when getting her strapped in, the better. So in my T-shirt, sweats and slippers, I ran out to the car, which is about 10 feet from our front door. With four bags in tow, I put the keys into the ignition to get the car warmed up, and headed back for shelter.
That's when my troubles began.
I tried to turn the knob on the front door ... and it didn't turn.
Thinking that wasn't possible, silly me, I tried turning it a few more times for good measure ... with the same result.
My perfect little angel had locked her mother out of the house.
My first reaction was fear, as my heart sank to the pit of my stomach. I knew my house keys were inside. The second thought I had was, oh, no big deal. I will just go around back and use the basement door.
So I waded down back as snow continued to accumulate and realized the dead bolt that was locked on that door was not going to help me get in.
Because of my diligence to save on heating bills, I knew all the windows were locked, as I had methodically double-checked them months before.
I returned to the front door with the major problem that I was outside, not exactly in an outfit to ward off the elements, and Hailey was inside contentedly watching her favorite Cinderella movie.
So, I called Hailey over to the door and thought I could coax her into unlocking it. Well, after about 15 minutes of saying "turn the button in the middle" and Hailey wiggling the knob instead, I realized the door was not going to be unlocked.
With my daughter screaming, "Mommy, Mommy" and banging on the door, I went to the car to grab my cell phone to call for help. My mood did not improve upon discovering that my car had locked itself because it had been running for so long.
By this point, not only was I absolutely freezing as tears of frustration and worry streamed down my face, I was no further ahead in gaining access to my Fort Knox, located on Main Street in Worcester.
So, much to my husband's later dismay (he had left for work about an hour before), I told Hailey to go sit in her chair (an instruction that she surprisingly obeyed) and began to put my minimal Tae Bo training to use.
I karate-kicked the solid oak door.
After about 50 kicks, the door was winning, and my sheer exhaustion had set in when I turned and saw a familiar black Chevy Tahoe driving by.
I frantically started to flail my arms to get my friend to stop, but since I am usually energetic in my wave, she beeped and drove on thinking nothing of it (although she did call to see if everything was OK seconds after I finally gained access to the house _ thanks Lynn!).
So I resumed my aerobic exercise to break down the door, and it finally gave in. I am not sure why the movies make it look so easy, but I can attest that it isn't. I must have been quite a sight for those who drove by that morning.
After I found the spare set of keys to the car and loaded Hailey in, I headed to day care. After pulling into the driveway, I got out and walked around to the back of the car.
Wouldn't you know, my feet came out from under me and I fell on my rear, adding injury to insult. Bad things come in threes, so they say, so I was somewhat confident that my ride to work would be uneventful.
My soreness lasted for a few days. A Hide-a-Key made the top of our shopping list and brought a close to my 2008.
I know 2009 is only going to get better.
Now that the holidays are over, I need to renew my commitment to being smoke-free. My doctor and I will be discussing Chantix next week. Honestly, I have not done well in the past few weeks, but know that I have to conquer this habit. I'll keep you posted on my progress.
Tanya Shalor is publisher of The Daily Star and may be reached at (607) 432-1000, ext. 214, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears every other week.