i'm losing my mind

Truly, I am losing my mind.  I locked myself out today.  Again.  I locked myself out last Monday too.  You would think that after sitting outside for an hour with George last Monday and having to fork over $127, I'd be a little more careful next time.  Well I was, for exactly one week.

This morning, as soon as George and I stepped into the foyer and I heard the lock click behind me, I realized I had locked myself out again.  Last time I spent about 20 minutes trying to pick the lock.  I used the little wire connecting George's dog tag to his collar and was so miserably unsuccessful I broke the wire in the lock.  So seeing as I no longer had any device with which to even attempt to pick the lock, this time I tried sticking his leash under the door to trip the lock (seriously suburban white girl - why the hell would I have any idea how to break into things), also miserably unsuccessful.  I still waited like 45 minutes before venturing out for help because I knew it was going to cost so much.

So the phone books were delivered two weeks ago and both our neighbor upstairs and Joey and I have neglected to bring them off the front stoop as they are pretty obsolete nowadays.  Thank God for that.  I grabbed one of the soggy phone books and found an ad for a locksmith.  Then George and I walked down to the neighborhood doggy daycare, and asked to use the phone.

About 45 minutes later the shady looking locksmith pulled up in his old, faded, pale yellow Lincoln with the royal blue "Prestige Transportation" letters peeling off the sides.  He was number 904, which I noted because I was pretty much convinced this dude was going to rape me and I wanted to be able to tell the police.  So the six-feet tall man got out of the car in his baggy, black cargo sweatpants and baggy hooded sweatshirt.  He pulled a black stocking cap over his shaved head and stood at the foot of the stairs to my house.  Great.  He took one look at the lock and told me in his Middle Eastern accent its going to be $160.  I told him that I didn't have that much and that I would just call someone else.  Just because I'm freezing my ass off and this is the second time in two weeks that I've been locked out doesn't mean I'm going to be taken for a ride.

He said, "She (referring to the dispatcher I spoke with on the phone) told you about the service fee, right?"

Me (who by the way just rolled out of bed and is therefore wearing her pajama pants, which were thankfully black sweatpants, but because who seriously wears underwear to bed, my ass was eating my pants; my pajama shirt, under which I am obviously not wearing a bra; my black Northface jacket; and my black fuzzy slippers): "What service fee?"

Locksmith disguised as hoodlum: "Well there's a thirty dollar service fee just for coming out here."
Me: "Fine.  Send me a bill for the service fee and I'll find someone else to open the door."  (Duh I'm not going to pay that bill.)

"No, we can't do that.  You have to pay today"

Look dude, I don't have my freaking bra, let alone my phone - you think I'm just going to magically pull my cash or credit card out of my ass to pay you?  Guess what, you can tell me whatever you want but if I walk away and you continue to pick the lock I'm pretty sure you'll get arrested.  Obviously I don't say this and reply, "I got locked out last week.  He only charged me $120.  Your ad says you will beat any price" and I triumphantly pull it out of my pocket.  Thank God again for obsolete phone books.

He calls his dispatcher and tells her that I will not pay $160.  She tells him to charge $140 plus the service fee.

"That is still $160.  I don't have that."

So he tells his dispatcher again, "She won't pay that."  So the dispatcher tells him to charge me $120 plus the service fee.  I again refer to their ad, which says they will beat any price.  Finally it is agreed that I will pay $120, and the locksmith went back to his car to get his tools.  He comes back with two pieces that look like blood pressure sleeves and some screwdrivers.  After a few minutes of pounding, he announces that he may have to drill it, and returns to his car to get another box of tools.

He picked and picked for another twenty minutes, informing me several times that I have a good lock.  Then he said he'd have to drill it.  I told him that I was not willing to let the door be drilled and he said it'd just be the lock he'd have to drill.  I asked him what I'd have to do to fix that and he said buy a new lock, which according to him, a good one like mine would cost another $170 to replace.  I began mentally gearing up for the inevitable argument that I would not let him drill the lock, and I would not pay him for a lock he couldn't pick without a drill and to begin the run around about the service fee when finally, the door popped open. 

He stepped back, because thankfully, when he first arrived the dogs went crazy.  Obviously all of the pounding and banging of the door and the lock sent Moe running for cover, but luckily for me the locksmith doesn't know the big dog barking inside is chicken shit.  So the locksmith went to his car while I grabbed my keys and wallet.  He tried to convince me over and over again to just pay him cash and something about that just made me nervous.  Plus I don't carry $5 cash, let alone $120, and I really didn't want to walk the block and a half to the ATM.  I told him that I could go get cash, but that my bank has a $100 limit on ATMs, so I could either pay him $100 cash or he could charge my card $120.  He then suggested charging my card $20 and me getting the cash.  After some back and forth he finally agreed to charge my card for the full amount, but then while using a pen to imprint the card, he asked if there was any way I could pay him a little more in cash.

So anyway, here I am two hours later and another $120 poorer.  I have plenty of stories from the weekend as my friend Lauren graced us with her presence, but those are for another post, another day.  Right now I am vacillating between a run and a very large glass of bourbon.