I don’t know about you, but I love it when my posts have a personal story to go with it. Not all of my projects have a long story or reason to accompany them, but when they do it is always a lot more fun to talk about. Lucky you (or not), today is one of those story days. Today, I’m going to preface my DIY Hide-A-Key tutorial with a recent ordeal that led me to make a homemade hide-a-key. Let’s get started, shall we?
By now you know, I have a 2 year old and almost 4 month old daughters. My toddler is a complete mommy’s girl. She follows me every where and wants to do everything I’m doing. I am guilty of sneaking downstairs for a drink while she’s distracted with a movie. That guilty pleasure of a 60 second break is no stranger to me. So when she handed me an old toy and asked me to get it to work again, I was kind of excited to take a trip to the garage for new batteries… alone. This happened to take place fairly early into our day, and I hadn’t yet gotten her or myself ready for the day. I had left my little-little one on the floor doing tummy time, and ventured downstairs. Our garage door entry from the house has one of those hinges on it that closes automatically behind you (do you see where this is going?). I had no idea that my little mommy’s girl was following behind me. I thought I had sneaked away to retrieve batteries. When the garage door closed behind me, I did not think anything of it… until Jolene started crying for mommy.
“Just a minute!” I kept reassuring her as I searched for the correct size batteries. Then, my heart sank as I heard a sound all too familiar- but usually I was on the inside and Daddy was in the garage. Jolene trying to open the door, she reached for the dead bolt lock, not the handle knob. I was now locked in the garage. In basketball shorts and a sports bra (guys… I’m not a skinny girl. No one could ever pay me to wear this outfit outside.). I started to talk to Jolene through the door in an attempt to coach her through unlocking it. Her voice slowly got further away from the door. I knocked to get her attention, unleashing a bottle of fear inside my toddler. She began to panic. PANIC I tell you. She heard the knock and thought a monster was now after her. Her faux attention-wanting crying turned into sincere terrified screaming.
Bare foot and half naked, I opened the big garage door and started to walk to the backyard. I knew the glass sliding door was easier to open and she’d be able to see me which might calm her down. We live in Arizona. Do you know what is popular landscaping in Arizona where growing grass is not only hard but expensive? ROCKS. It only took about 5 steps before I retreated to the driveway and began a hunt in our garage for something to cover my feet. It began with strapping bike helmets to my feet, until I noticed my husband’s golf shoes buried under the bike gear. With Jolene still screaming inside (and by this point I was pretty sure I heard Roslyn crying too), I quickly hit the shoes against the floor upside to check for spiders (duh, priorities people! 😉 ) and slipped them on. I ran to the back yard, and began tapping on the glass of the sliding door. She. Freaked. Out. More. Now her “monster trying to get her” was in the backyard and she couldn’t even bear to turn around and look. After several minutes of failed attempts at that, I ran back around to the front of the house. The front door has a side window, and I knew it would be in her view.
Still screaming, she found mommy at the window and stood there telling me how scared she was. I desperately tried to calm her down to get her to unlock any door at that point. We were reaching 45 minutes of being outside half naked with golf shoes on in 100 degree weather. Oh yeah, and my cell phone was inside of course. I tried to get Jolene to get mommy’s phone and call grandpa (she knows how to work my touch screen phone. I learned that after she called grandpa one time while I was in the other room with the baby. My dad thought something was wrong and began driving over to check on us). Nope, there was no getting the phone. She just wanted to stand there and cry to me through the door. Her booger collection was building on her upper lip. Did I take it too far? Let’s move on. I ran next door to ask to borrow a phone. No one was home. This repeated to the other homes close to me until I finally found someone home. By now, I could hear Jolene screaming from across the street because mommy left her again. Without my cell phone and speed dial, I only had 2 numbers memorized. My dad, who was at the court house for a political thing, and my husband who was at work- both of which I knew wouldn’t be answering their phones but I hoped and prayed they’d check they voice mails promptly. I left messages to them that my mom has a spare key and to please get a hold of her asap. Little did I know, while my mom had a spare key, it was on her key ring which also had the car key on it, which was with my dad. She had no car. So now my husband and mother are panicking behind the scenes.
My sweet neighbor (who is also very new to the neighborhood, nothing like a first impression with attire, right?), offered to send her husband over with me to help me kick in a door. I was relieved for the help but was mostly embarrassed that now two people would witness my outfit of choice for the morning. With failed attempts at kicking a door in, we had 2 more options we could think of as 1 hour rapidly approached us. Either call the fire dept, or break a window. I did a quick mental inventory of which windows I wouldn’t mind replacing, as my neighbor ran home to get a phone. He returned with a phone and 2 suckers and said “let’s try this approach and then we’ll call.” With him at the front window holding the suckers trying to bribe her, I ran to the back sliding glass door and began talking to Jo through the door. I calmed her down and told her there were no monsters after her. I said that is our nice nice neighbor and he has suckers for her if she can get the door unlocked for me. She cried and cried for mommy again. I said “Mommy’s right here, turn around” she wouldn’t. I said “Jolene, go to the backyard honey, where your swing is. You’ll see mommy back here”. She wouldn’t budge. I said “Jolene, where does mommy keep your donuts?” she answered me. This is progress. I said “That’s right, go to the kitchen where your donuts are” Our kitchen is right close to the sliding door. She began to turn around to walk to the kitchen for her donuts. That girl and her donuts, I swear. I should have thought of this sooner. She saw me and ran to the sliding door, tears pouring out all over again. I was trying to talk in a happy tone to let her know there was nothing wrong. I coached her through unlatching the sliding door, and BAM I was in. We ran to the front door and opened it for my neighbor. He handed her the suckers and looked at me saying “You might want to get one of those hide-a-key things.”
Taking the advice of my neighbor who has seen more of me than I would ever wish on anyone in the neighborhood, as soon as I got dressed and got a hold of my mom and dad I headed to our local hardware store to look at hide-a-key options. They had the basic black box for $3. I wasn’t convinced a little black box was really hiding my key. I mean, it said right on it in gold lettering “hide-a-key”. That’s like inviting unwanted guests into my home when I’m away. The next option was a faux rock that is hallow inside. “Brilliant!” I thought. Buuuut it was pushing $10 and the rock was not the same color or kind that we had as landscaping. The deal breaker was after further inspection of the piece, I saw that it was not sturdy made. You could easily step on this and break it to get the key out. It was then that I ventured to make my own hide-a-key. Here is how I did it:
E-6000 Glue (or other epoxy glue)
Empty prescription bottle (you can actually just walk into a pharmacy and ask for one, but I had an empty one on hand)
A rock big enough to cover the lid of your bottle
A spare key
Pretty straight forward, right? I glued the rock to my Rx bottle. I let it dry over night. Put the key in the bottle, attached the rock lid, and bury the bottle in the ground leaving only the rock exposed. Obviously, I can’t show you the after picture. You’ll know where my key is! So, I’ll show you what it looked like before I buried it, and I’ll use a background that doesn’t give away where it is buried 😉