My Own Panic Room

December 21, 2004

I woke up yesterday morning at around 5:00. I'm not sure why I was up so early, but I was fresh and ready to start the day. I went out to the living room where the gas fire still warmed the air. I watched most of Sports Center and a little bit of the news on CNN. Then I took a shower and went to work early. It was a normal start to a day that would end very abnormally.

Maybe because it is the week of Christmas, but work was quiet. I was able to work more or less uninterrupted on a semi-fun design document from 6:30 until my stomach finally made me get up and go out just after 1:00. After lunch, I had a quick meeting (which was a little bit painful) followed by a call to resolve issues for a client. That was more painful still, but not really as bad as I had expected it to be.


When I got home, Mrs. theskinnyonbenny was geeked to go pick up our nephew to spend a few days with us. I was pretty worn out and immediately started some preemptive complaining, but it was to no avail. Off we went for a three-hour round trip.

Our 10 year old nephew Sam was excited to get away from real grown ups for a few days. He chattered non-stop all the way back. Our favorite pastime is to make up rhymes and songs with ridiculous and inappropriately off-color words. A nighttime drive through Louisiana is a good place for that. It was fun for a while, but I was tired of it before we made it home.

After a short whirlwind of activity through the house, I finally found the opportunity to sneak off to bed. I turned on the bedroom TV, which due to my wiring expertise, automatically switched the kitchen TV to what I was watching in the bedroom. Sam came in to complain that the kitchen TV had dumped his cartoons for football without any warning.

My reply was something to the effect of, "tough titties," with an afterthought of, "shut the door good, so Daisy won't go sleep on the couch." He struggled with it and got it shut.

(I know, this story is dragging. I'll try to pick up the pace).

When Sam went upstairs, Mrs. theskinnyonbenny tried to go to the kitchen to make sure everything was off. But she couldn't get the doorknob to open. She rattled it and fudged with it, all the while putting me in a more and more foul temper. I finally got out of bed and tried it myself. No dice. The damned door was locked from the outside.

So here's the situation: Mrs. theskinnyonbenny and me, locked in our bedroom. There's a door to the outside, but it's dead bolted, and neither of us have our keys in the bedroom. Sam doesn't hear us scream, and he doesn't answer the phone. I'm wiped out, and mad as a damn hornet by this time.

Yes, I fit through this door.

I finally decided that I had to go out the dog door. I stuck my legs out and immediately realized that it was cold outside. I was squiggling like a snake, trying to find the angle that would allow my ass to fit through. Then, my shoulders didn't want to go, and I thought I would be stuck for a minute. Meanwhile, my legs dangle over the dog balcony and hover a couple feet higher than the ground. (Clearly, our dog door setup is unconventional).

I finally squeezed out, and found the back door to the breakfast room mercifully unlocked. Sam got an earful, but seemed neither amused by my predicament nor remorseful for putting us in said predicament. I would have expected one reaction or the other.

Tonight, I sleep with the door open.