I suppose we needn't have worried about the rain.
We went for a walk this morning so we could be sure to get one in before it stormed, but it didn't really start raining until this evening so we had plenty of time. Before we left we emptied the tent of all the kids' stuff—foam pads, sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, flashlights, water bottles, books—and then dragged the tent under the roofed portion of our deck so it could dry off properly before folding it up.
It had already been sprinkling a bit. That's why we wanted to be sure to get a walk in!
We've been having that funny sort of weather where the outside feels exactly the same as the inside, and it feels as if the portal between those two worlds is malfunctioning. There should be some sort of shock—an icy blast, a wave of heat, a thick lick of humidity—but recently there's been nothing. It's just been...nice.
We walked around the block. Well, Rachel, Miriam, Benjamin, and I walked around the block. Phoebe rode in her jogging stroller, feet resting on her snack tray, giving off regal vibes, as if she's being carted in a palanquin. Alexander and Zoë rode their bikes.
They arrived home first, of course, and found that the code box for the garage door was malfunctioning again. So they ran up the street to meet us, begging for the keys so they could get in the house, open the garage door, and put their bikes away like the responsible children that they are.
Our garage code box has been on the fritz. A temporary solution seems to be to replace the batteries, but that solution only lasts a matter of days before the box stops working again, so clearly there's something deeply wrong with it. We're therefore conditioned to bring our house keys with us whenever we leave the house. And today was no different—I grabbed my keys to take along with us, just in case the code box decided to malfunction...even though it worked yesterday.
"Good thing I brought my keys!" I said, handing them off to Zoë. "Remember—put it in flat side down, turn to the left to unlock the door, return the key to the neutral position to remove it from the lock."
She galloped off toward the house and was still working at the lock when the rest of us made our way down the driveway.
"Want to see our new dugout?" Benjamin asked. "Reed and I rebuilt it better than it was before!"
The roof had collapsed on them during a strength test.
Fortunately the strength test was the two of them standing on the roof of their dugout, so no one was inside at the time of the collapse. After rebuilding it, they can both lie on the roof of their dugout (they haven't tried standing on it yet).
"Sure," I said. "Why not? Let's go look at your dugout."
We left Zoë working on the lock and followed Benjamin into the backyard to admire his dugout (which is really pretty neat).
"Hey, Mom," Zoë called from the gate. "Which way do you turn the key again?"
"Left," I answered. "Lefty loosey. We want to unlock it."
"That's what I thought. But I can't turn it!"
I followed her back up the hill and around the side of the house to the front door so that I could see what she was doing wrong. But she'd done everything right. The key simply wouldn't turn. I tried it over and over again.
"Hmmmm..." I said. "Good thing we have more than one door! To the back door!"
"To the back door!" the kids echoed my cheer.
We walked down the hill and around the house and up the steps to the kitchen door. The key slid smoothly into the lock and easily turned to the left.
"See?" I said, turning the door handle and pushing the door open. "Easy-peas..."
The door thudded to a halt. Our swing bar lock was engaged.
"Oh, you've got to be kidding me!" I muttered.
We don't really use these swing bar locks for added security. They were already installed on most of the doors in the house before we moved in. I don't know if the previous owners thought they added a measure of safety to the house or whether they, like my family growing up, used them to keep would-be escape artists inside.
Josie was forever running away as a child!
And I was so often home alone with her. I don't know how many times I called my mom at work, crying because Josie had disappeared on me...again. Our neighbours were all well trained to just point in whichever direction they saw her sprinting off. Was she headed toward the park? The co-op housing where her friend Dana lived? The (dreaded) lake? Down the alley toward the Real Canadian Superstore?
Those locks weren't a failsafe measure because she quickly learned that if she wanted to get out of the house while they were engaged, all she had to do was open the door as far as she could—which was only a few inches—and then slam it as hard as she could and the locks would bounce open.
With enough of a delayed response from any big people she could at least get a taste of the great outdoors before she was caught again.
So that was the first thing I tried today, only I was breaking in instead of breaking out. No amount of slamming seemed to budge the lock though. It's old and squeaky and apparently they're safer that way because they won't just bounce open like a shiny, brand-new one will.
We tried sticking a stick in there to push it open while keeping the door as closed as possible.
We tried sticking our arm through the gap to see if we could unlock the window. No go.
Benjamin was certain he had left his bedroom window unlocked (though I was fairly certain it was locked because as far as I knew I had been the last one to close it) so Zoë decided she would scale the side of the house to climb in through his window.
She got to the top of the brick, which was really pretty impressive.