What is Negotiable?

I take a walk with my dog every morning around 7 am.  We leave the house at the same time that Michelle leaves for school.  We walk out through the garage since it is already open in preparation for Michelle’s departure.  Once the garage door is closed the house is locked up tight and the only way back in is through the garage, using the outside keypad.

My dog and I have different routes around the neighborhood so that we don’t walk all the same streets everyday.  This allows my dog to enjoy different smells and it also gives him the opportunity to mark a different territory with his smell.  Each route takes a little over a half-hour to complete, depending on the amount of smelling and marking that occurs.  When we return home, I punch in the code, the garage door magically opens and we go inside to continue with our morning routine.  On one specific day, this past week, we returned home, I punched in the code and the garage door didn’t open.  Of course I thought that it was my fault, so I punched in the number again, all the while experiencing the fear that I had forgotten the code.  After repeating this process several times I took my phone out of my pocket and noticed that I had no WiFi.  I know that my WiFi reaches out into my driveway because my Spotify always clicks over to my cell signal as I am driving down the street away from my house.  I then noticed my neighbor out walking his dog and I asked him if his electricity was out.  With disgust in his voice he answered “Yes”.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, but we had no power.  With no power there was no way to open the garage door.  Without an open garage door my dog and I were stuck outside.

I walked around the back of the house hoping that I accidentally left one of the screen doors on our lanai open.  I knew that our sliding glass doors would be locked, but at least my dog and I could hang out in the shade by the pool on comfy furniture.  Well, no such luck.  I laughed because if this had been one week ago, locked screen doors wouldn’t have mattered because I could have simply reached through one of the various rips in our old screen to open the door.  I wasn’t about to rip the new screen that we just had installed in order to get into our lanai.  So, back to the front porch we went.

I took a seat on the front porch, released my dog from his harness and there we sat for an hour as we waited for the electricity to come back on.  Most mornings this wouldn’t be a big deal, but on this morning I had to pick up my dad around 9:30 to go to an appointment.  I waited for as long as I could and then I called my dad to give him the heads up that I might not be able to pick him up on time.  This situation made for a very humorous story to tell my dad on the phone.  Well, just as I hung up I noticed a WiFi signal on my phone which meant that my dog and I were saved from the horrible fate of living the rest of our lives on the front porch of the house.  We again returned to the keypad, I punched in the code and violas, the garage door magically opened and our day picked back up where it had left off.

Now I was tasked to fit an hour and a half of morning routine into a half hour.  Thus, I was forced to make decisions about what was necessary and what could wait or be skipped all together.  I needed to clean myself up, since I had been sweating in the Florida heat for the last hour and a half.  I needed to take my morning vitals and my morning medication.  I needed to eat something for breakfast because of my morning medication.  I needed to put chicken and dumplings into the crock-pot or we wouldn’t have dinner that night.  I also needed to be over to my father’s house in time to get him to his appointment.  I quickly determined the pecking order and off I went.  I know you are worried, but my father made it to his appointment, I didn’t miss any of my meds or my breakfast, I had on clean clothes, my hair and teeth were brushed and we had a scrumptious dinner that night.

The moral of this story is that I will always carry a house key with me when I take my dog out for a morning walk.  At least that is what I thought until I was sharing this story with a friend and he asked, “How many times has that happened to you?”  In the last nineteen years that I have lived in this house, this was the first time I have been locked out because of a power outage.  That means that I am 1 for 6,935 in regards to the number of days that I have needed a key to get into my house because of a power outage.  Looking at those odds, it is pretty safe to say that I could throw caution to the wind and walk my dog everyday without a house key for back up.  After all, it might be another nineteen years until I find myself faced with this exact same situation again.

Isn’t that just like us humans.  Taking one simple step would insure my safe and speedy entrance into my home at anytime, even without power.  And yet, I am already rationalizing away the need to carry a house key when I take my dog for a morning walk.  How many other areas of my life do I do this exact same thing?  How many other simple steps could I be taking to insure my safe return home everyday?  Life is precious and yes, getting locked out of my house for an hour isn’t the end of the world, but it is illuminating to me that a simple solution is still negotiable in my mind.  What simple things are still negotiable in your life that might prevent you from returning home safely everyday?