Thursday, September 17, 2015

Zoe vs. the Locked Room Mystery (Or, MacGyver As a Verb)

Two weeks ago I posted about figurative doors with Zoe's best worst knock knock jokes. But today, I'm talking about literal doors, specifically, the doors to my bedroom and bathroom. Which lock from the inside. And which Zoe locked. Then closed. From the outside.
I always feared she'd do this when she was small, but from the inside. It's a push-button lock and, like other parents of toddlers, I was afraid one day she'd be inside without me, shut the door and then lock it, leaving me on the outside, with no choice but to call the fire department. When Zoe got old enough we made sure she knew how to lock and unlock the door so that didn't happen. 
However, I did not envision the scenario I found myself in a weekend ago, when, unsupervised, Zoe pressed the locks on the aforementioned doors and then closed them, no one on the inside.

Why would she do such a thing? It's a mystery. If you read a lot of mysteries, you'll be familiar with the trope, wherein a crime, usually a murder, occurs in a room in which all the doors are locked. And the detective needs to figure out how it happened.
I used to love mysteries. But that was before I had a kid, those halcyon days when I believed all mysteries had answers.
After locking the doors, Zoe ran into the kitchen to tell me all about it.
She was very excited. She did not expect my reaction.
I froze, knife poised over the hardboiled egg I'd just made at her request, aware she'd probably refuse it once it was made---one of her favorite games---and I said, "What?!" but louder and more panicked.
Now, she had done this one other time, over a year ago, but that time The Husband was home, and of the two of us, he has all the MacGyver genes. None of my genes are resourceful or dexterous. They're all too busy reading fiction and getting tiny cuts on their fingers from egg shells.
The Husband was out so I called him to ask how he'd MacGyvered it the last time. He said he'd unbent a paper clip and poked it through the hole in the door to pop the lock. See? Very MacGyver.
So I unbent a paper clip and then pushed it through the hole in the door. Jiggled it. Stabbed. Shook it and shimmied it. Even visualized myself with a feathery mullet. All to no avail on either door.
After ten minutes, Zoe, bored with jumping on the couch or some other nefarious activity, came to ask me what I was doing. I gave her a withering look. She absorbed about .01 percent of my ire before shrugging and walking away.
It was time for MacGyver's more sedentary cousin: MacGoogle.
My online search yielded a slew of YouTube videos. All starring an unbent paper clip. 
I placed my head in my hands, glad I didn't have to pee, and thought about just leaving the apartment. Forever. Or at least till The Husband came home.
But what if he couldn't open it either? I envisioned a future where we slept on the floor and used buckets to pee and poop in.
When I looked up, Zoe was at my elbow, and she said exactly what you're expecting: "Mommy, I have to go bathroom."
I stared at her.
"The door is locked, Zoe. Remember how you locked it? From the inside? And then closed the door?"
Unfazed, she asked, "When are you going to open it?"
I stared at her harder. I repress a lot of my feelings, folks. Just so you know. Still, there was something to be said for her confidence in me.
"Mommy's working on it," I said, standing up.

Heard you need to get your bathroom door open.

I got a new paper clip, unbent it, and went back to work on the doors, because the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result with a new paper clip for at least half an hour. And it had only been twenty-five minutes.
As I fiddled and twisted, I remembered that the shirt I needed for work the next day was hanging on the back of the bathroom door. I'd left it in the laundry basket too long after drying, so it was all wrinkled, and I was hoping the steam from the shower would unwrinkle it. (I haven't seen my iron in years.)
Thinking of that shirt ended up being our salvation. A hangar! Maybe that would work!
I got one from the closet, straightened the top, poked it through the hole, and---Pop!---we were in. 
So I MacGyvered it eventually. And Zoe only peed on the couch a little bit. But she's done that even when the bathroom door was open.

Zoe: 109; Universe: 0

For more of Zoe's hijinks, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse
I need a win here, people. 

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