My shivering frozen son

Last night, for the second time in less than a week, I accidentally managed to lock my son Michael out of the house. Now to put you in the picture – Michael doesn’t actually live with me but he does quite often come to stay for a few days though I don’t always know what day or time he will turn up, so while the first time wasn’t entirely my fault as I didn’t know he would be coming home, I have absolutely no excuse for locking him out last night.
On Monday morning I got up to find his bike outside my front door but no sign of him; he hadn’t said he would be coming home so I tried to ring him several times, only for it to go straight to voicemail each time. He eventually turned up later that day, just as I’d got to the point of worrying about him. It seemed that his night shift had been a short one and had finished at 1am, but when he came home he couldn’t get in – his key wouldn’t turn in the lock as I’d unthinkingly left my own key in on the inside when I’d locked the door the night before. He couldn’t ring me to wake me up and let him in as his phone battery had died, and as he didn’t want to shout me or bang on the door and risk disturbing the neighbours he’d gone round to a mate’s place and crashed there for a few hours. At least he was okay and nothing bad had happened to him, though I did feel a bit guilty for unwittingly locking him out.
So this morning I was wakened at 7.15 by an almighty bang and the dogs going mental – they only really bark when something disturbs them, especially when it’s dark, so I got up to investigate. As soon as I put the bedroom light on someone knocked on the front door so I looked out of the window and saw Michael standing there – I’d left my key in the lock again and he couldn’t get in. Even though it was now raining the temperature overnight had been bitterly cold and when I opened the door it was a shivering frozen wreck that almost fell inside. He’d arrived home just before 6am and couldn’t get in so when I didn’t answer his knocking he’d phoned me to wake me up, but as I’d no reason to get up early this morning I’d turned my phone off last night. Unable to wake me he’d sat on the front step for a while until it started to rain then he’d taken refuge in the van, which luckily had the side door unlocked, but it was just as cold in there as it was outside. Then when it got to the stage where – to quote his exaggerated words – he “thought he was going to die from hypothermia” he had the idea of slamming the van door to attract attention in the hope that I’d hear it and think someone was stealing the van. It obviously worked – that must have been the bang which woke me, coupled with the dogs barking – and he was finally able to come in out of the cold.
It took a lot of extra heat in his room and a mug of hot tea before he finally got warmed up and began to feel human again. Needless to say, if I’d felt guilty for locking him out earlier in the week I felt even more so this morning, especially as I’d known he would be coming back after work. Leaving the key in the lock once could be classed as an oversight but to do it a second time is just plain careless and I felt like the worst mother in the world. Michael did tell me not to worry about it though and we actually ended up having a laugh about it – he said he thought maybe I was trying to give him a hint, though I told him he only needs to start worrying when he comes back and finds I’ve moved house without telling him!
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10 thoughts on “My shivering frozen son

  1. My suggestion is to put a post-it note on the inside of your door as a reminder to yourself to take the key out!
    If it’s any consolation my husband worked permanent nights for over thirty years, so there were countless times he couldn’t get in on a morning as I had bolts on my front and back doors as well as locks and chains! It’s a wonder we’re still together 🙂

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  2. We’ve both done that to each other, leaving the keys in so the door can’t be opened, though not at such inconvenient times! I can usually be alerted by the doorbell but John sometimes has his music so loud he can’t hear that. In the days before mobiles I once had to go next door to ask to borrow their phone.

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  3. I’m usually quite a light sleeper and it doesn’t take much to disturb me, so I don’t know how I’ve twice managed to sleep through Michael knocking on the door. I can’t say I’ve had too much to drink the night before either as I don’t drink – the strongest thing I ever have is coffee! 🙂

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  4. My camping stove is in the back of the van so although he couldn’t have made a brew he could have used it for a bit of heat, but he didn’t realise it was there. He does now, though I’m hoping it won’t be needed in future 🙂

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