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I'm locked out! Exceptionally so!
June 24, 2010 2:38 PM   Subscribe

So I'm locked out of my house with a laptop, and my dogs have to pee.

There's a locksmith here right now -- getting him took two hours, since I'm phoneless, but he's an octogenerian and has had little success over the past half hour. What are my options here? I really, really don't want to break a window -- it's actually my parents house, and I'm dogsitting for the day. I'm also 25 years old. Fer chrissakes.
posted by earlofrochester to Home & Garden (33 answers total)
 
if any of the doors have outside hinges (maybe a door leading inside from the garage?) you can remove them with just a couple tools.
posted by nadawi at 2:40 PM on June 24, 2010


Dog pee might be easier and cheaper to clean up than broken glass and a new windowpane. It might not be the worse outcome to wait.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:40 PM on June 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Did you call your parents? They might have given a neighbor a key in case of emergencies like this.
posted by oinopaponton at 2:40 PM on June 24, 2010


Does your car have a clicker for the garage by any chance? Obvious I know but just in case you haven't thought of it.
posted by special-k at 2:41 PM on June 24, 2010


Is there a window/balcony on the second floor that you left open? If so borrow a ladder from a neighbor and get in.
posted by special-k at 2:42 PM on June 24, 2010


When this happens to me, I look for an unlocked window. Even one up on the second floor, if there are items around that can be stacked. Think of it like Half Life 2 without the aliens.

If your dogs have to pee, isn't it better to be locked out of the house than locked in?
posted by lholladay at 2:43 PM on June 24, 2010


If your dogs have to pee, isn't it better to be locked out of the house than locked in?

The dogs are in the house and OP is the one locked out.
posted by special-k at 2:44 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thank you, special-k. Brain no worky.
posted by lholladay at 2:44 PM on June 24, 2010


Break the cheapest window you can break and gain access. Remember that you have to fit through the window or it has to be close enough to a door handle or window latch to allow you to open that door or window and get in. That may sound obvious, but so does remembering not to lock yourself out and the dogs in.
posted by pracowity at 2:45 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does the locksmith have a slim-jim type tool? Maybe the windows are the older kind where you can easily slide that between the moving pane and the fixed pane and pop the lock open?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:45 PM on June 24, 2010


Dog pee isn't easy to clean up if there are carpets.
posted by dfriedman at 2:46 PM on June 24, 2010


Have you checked for hidden spare keys? My parents used to keep one under a stone near the door.
posted by sallybrown at 2:46 PM on June 24, 2010


My parents just moved here and are by nature antisocial, so I doubt they gave the neighbors a key. But I'll ask just to make sure -- it'll take borrowing the locksmith's phone. They did leave me a key, but it's to the only door that ISN'T currently locked. They neglected to tell me the front one locks automatically.

And unfortunately, no hinges and a stand alone garage.

The locksmith is still trying; he seems to be a fighter. Sadly, he seems to be a Rocky in Rocky 1 type fighter.
posted by earlofrochester at 2:47 PM on June 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Nthing looking for open windows. There's usually one around that you forgot to lock.

Some exterior doors can be opened by just persistently jiggling the handle. the credit card trick really does work on certain doors (usually the more flimsy interior ones, though). It helps to cut one of the corners of an older card off in a curve.

This locksmith, does he have a phone he'd let you borrow (to call a better locksmith)?
posted by Pecinpah at 2:52 PM on June 24, 2010


Really, calling another locksmith is probably your best bet. I got locked out last year and the guy opened my door in twenty seconds.
posted by something something at 2:55 PM on June 24, 2010


Is there a garage? If so does it have glass windows? Lifehacker posted a great guide for when locked out to break into a garage with glass windows - all you need is a hanger or long rigid wire. Of course this only gets you in if the inside door is unlocked.

http://lifehacker.com/5549366/how-to-unlock-your-garage-door-from-the-outside-and-how-to-prevent-it

FULL DISCLOSURE - DO NOT BREAK INTO OTHER PEOPLES HOUSES USING THIS METHOD!
posted by doorsfan at 2:56 PM on June 24, 2010


They did leave me a key, but it's to the only door that ISN'T currently locked.

I am confused by this. If it's not locked, then why can't you go in that way?
posted by amro at 2:58 PM on June 24, 2010


You want another locksmith.

Picking a household lock should be the work of seconds for a professional. And even I would have had it open in under thirty minutes.
posted by Netzapper at 3:00 PM on June 24, 2010


the credit card trick really does work on certain doors (usually the more flimsy interior ones, though).

Credit card trick totally worked on the (since-replaced) lock of my front door, fwiw.
posted by desuetude at 3:00 PM on June 24, 2010


They did leave me a key, but it's to the only door that ISN'T currently locked.

I am confused by this. If it's not locked, then why can't you go in that way?

Yeah sorry, that is confusing. The door that's open has a glass door in front of it. That glass door is locked, as is the main front entrance.

And unfortunately I don't have a CC because my wallet's inside. And even more unfortunately, I already asked to borrow dude's phone -- because oh btw I missed a really important I-might-have-gotten-a-job call, but luckily have been emailing with the editor and he seems to buy my crazy story -- and he said "My phone don't work! My wife can't even dial it!"

Like I said, octogenarian.

Scoped the whole place for open windows, nada.

My parents live in a small town and when my friend called the second locksmith, they told him to call the first (the one that's here now).

Thanks for all your suggestions,though. They'd be helpful if I didn't live on planet fuck up.
posted by earlofrochester at 3:04 PM on June 24, 2010


Are there any sliding windows? Is there an upper story?

I locked myself out of the house a few weeks back with a pot on the stove and no wallet, keys, phone, shoes, or jacket. All the ground floor windows that open had been replaced with modern, locking, double-pane windows, and would not open. There are old-style single-pane basement windows, but I already knew you can't get in that way because one of my housemates tried it when she locked herself out six or eight months back. (She broke the glass and everything: panes are just too small, and the window frames are nailed shut.)

I eventually got back in by climbing onto the roof of the back porch, prying the screen out of the upstairs bathroom window frame, and sliding the window open (palms flat, fingers spread, friction). Then I sort of ungracefully belly-flopped in over the back of the toilet, but at least the kitchen didn't catch fire.
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:33 PM on June 24, 2010


I'm surprised that no one has mentioned trying to remove a window, rather than breaking one. This usually only works with old windows with aluminum frames, and are often ones installed on the upper floors, but ...

Find a window. Push up on it, just like you would push up a screen to lift it off the bottom track. When the window is pushed up off it's track, push inward, being careful not to drop the window.

Voila. Open window.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:33 PM on June 24, 2010


offer the old man double if he can do it in the next 5 minutes. Maybe he needs incentive?
posted by JohnnyGunn at 3:34 PM on June 24, 2010


Got it! There's a third door -- a side door with a latch-locked screen door in front of it -- and once we got the screen off and opened that door, he was finally able to pick the deadbolt of the side door.

The euphoria of being inside quickly wore off as I made out the $70 check. Anyway, thanks for all the suggestions. I think my parents house is totally robber proof, on the bright side. All the windows have bolted-in casings around them that you can't even really see until you try to open one, and, as Old Man Lock put it, he's been "picking locks since '69 and ain't ever seen none like this."
posted by earlofrochester at 3:49 PM on June 24, 2010


I would not break a window.

In the worst case, a jug of Nature's Miracle and renting a steam cleaner is a damn sight cheaper than replacing a window, especially if they're new multilayer windows. As long as the pooches have water they'll be okay until tomorrow.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:50 PM on June 24, 2010


> I think my parents house is totally robber proof, on the bright side.

Robbers will just break windows, though. Glad you got in!
posted by Burhanistan at 4:03 PM on June 24, 2010


Don't tease us - did the dogs pee?
posted by A189Nut at 4:09 PM on June 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


If the key fit in the hole, you could have tried Bumping it to unlock the door. It probably wouldn't have worked, but it might be worth a short to try.
posted by 47triple2 at 5:16 PM on June 24, 2010


*might be worth a shot to try*

As in, test it now while you still have a way to get in so that you can use it in the future.
posted by 47triple2 at 5:18 PM on June 24, 2010


Have you ever seen the xkcd comic about a similar dilemma? Perhaps not entirely relevant but hopeful it will help with the associated stress.
posted by Toekneesan at 5:35 PM on June 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


No pee or poo! Miracle.
posted by earlofrochester at 5:48 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


when was locked out of my building at 5:00AM (though I did have the apt key), after calling locksmiths in desperation I walked to a police cruiser parked on my block. One of the cops broke me into the building. They have special keys. I don't suggest calling 911 but if you see a cop and you are in a similar situation, they might help you.
posted by spacefire at 7:11 PM on June 24, 2010


No pee or poo! Miracle.

They'd hold if they have to, but I bet you got big sad grateful doggy eyes when you took them out. Congrats on getting back in!
posted by desuetude at 7:54 PM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


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