Earlier this week I was home alone with Annie and having an utterly uneventful day when, in a couple seconds, it went from “yawn” to “HOLY CRAP WHAT DO I DO NOW?!” because Annie locked me out of the house.

It all started when I decided to be proactive while Heather was gone and do some of our laundry (I’ll never make that mistake again). I left Annie sitting on the couch watching an episode of “Dora the Explorer,” then took a load into the garage where our washer and dryer are. Not even ten seconds later I suddenly heard a “click” on the other side of the door leading into the house. Alarmed, I tried the door knob and found it was locked. I stared, confused, until I heard:

“I touched the door, Dada!”

Once the realization of what happened settled in, I frantically reached into my pocket and found that, since I was just hanging out around the house in my pajama bottoms, I didn’t have my house keys or my phone. My heart leaped into my throat.

“Annabel,” I said attempting to sound as calm and sweet as possible. “Can you turn the lock back the other way?”

“Can I come in the garage, Dada?”

“Not until you turn the lock back the other way.”


I put my ear to the door and heard her little hand fumbling on the door.

Oh please, oh please, oh please.

But then she said, “I can’t do it.”

“You have to, honey, otherwise I won’ be able to get back inside. I’ll be locked in here.”

That’s when Annie burst into tears.

Good one, Dad. Real good.

“I’m just kidding,” I lied. “Everything’s fine. I’ll be right in!”

In a flash I considered my options, none of which were desirable, then decided that my “best” one would be to knock on a neighbor’s door (in my pajama bottoms, no less) and say, “My three old just locked me out of the house and now she’s in there all alone with the dog. Can I use your phone to call my wife?” Talk about awkward. Also awkward? Calling my wife and telling her about of this.

I was about to do just that until I remembered that a few days earlier Heather had taught Annie how to open the door to the backyard to let Rigby out. It had taken Annie about fifty tries that day, but eventually she managed to open the door.

Bingo! I opened the garage door, ran around to the front of the house, then peeked through the window at Annie who still stood at the door to the garage, confused. I knocked on the window.

“Annie! Go let Rigby out!”

Annie nodded and ran toward the back door as I sprinted around the house into the backyard. I then coached her on opening the door. “Turn the lock on the door, sweetie. You can do it! Just like with Mommy!”

For the next several agonizing  minutes I peered through the window, wishing and hoping, as Annie tried in vain to unlock the door. At one point it dawned on me that this was exactly what the pirates in the jail cell on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride at Disneyland must feel like waiting on that dog to bring them the keys.

Eventually, lo and behold, the door clicked open. Phew!

I picked Annie up and smothered her with kisses, then laughed with relief at the fact that no one would ever have to know about this since I’d made it back inside no harm no foul. That night, though, as Heather read Annie her bedtime story, Annie suddenly blurted out “Mama! Dada got locked in the garage today!”

Busted. Thanks a lot, kid.