Lost car keys.
If you thought yesterday’s story about the Methadone Phone was funny, you were right. It was. And this next one I am going to tell, my children, is similar in the fact that it involves a lost item and an adventure. It may not be as funny, but I’ll let you decide.
A couple of weeks ago, the weather was amazing. Very atypical of a winter day in Indiana, it was sunny and warm and just the perfect day for a walk. So while my husband watched the NFL playoffs, I headed off to 100 Acres for a little stroll. After meandering slowly through the nature park, admiring the art, laying on a bench and staring at the lake, my friend Dan met me with his pup, Mav. The three of picked up the pace and started through the trails.
If you haven’t been to 100 Acres, it’s a lot of land (approximately 100 acres of it) that’s composed of a big lake, woods, trails, grassy areas, benches and big art. It’s really an amazing thing to see as it’s nestled just off 38th street here in Indy. You wouldn’t really know it exists but when you are there, you feel like you are out in the country. So Dan, Mav and I walked and talked (Mav didn’t say a lot but absolutely loved being able to run free). We strolled through the woods, over by the canal and then into the Park of Laments. This is by far my favorite part of 100 Acres. It’s like a secret garden and I immediately went back to my childhood imagination where my brother and I would search for hidden areas like this where we surely would find some sort of buried treasure. Dan and I sat on the bench and chatted while Mav ran free. At one point, we noticed Mav hadn’t returned to us so we looked around the corner only to find that Mav had picked up a lady. Her name was Lilly and she was an adorable dog that was the exact size of him. They frolicked and wrestled and we met Lilly’s mom. After about 10 minutes of chatting with her, I decided it was time to head home.
Now let me back up the truck for just a second and set the scene. When I first arrived, I made some key (PUN!) errors that only came to bite me in the end. 1) I parked poorly with my front wheels at a 45 degree angle. 2) I removed my car key fob off the full set of keys so I had less to carry with me. 3) I brought my purse with me and kept it locked in the car. 4) I carried both my phone and my car key in the same zippered pocket of my jacket.
When I told Dan it was time to go, I reached into my pocket only to realize that my phone was there but the key was not. I searched the other pocket, my jeans, and of course the area around me thinking I had just dropped it. Nothing. I knew immediately what must have happened. Given that I check my phone pretty religiously, I am sure that when I pulled it out the variety of times during our walk to check my texts, the key must have come with it. Eff.
So Dan and I searched the Park of Laments thinking it was the most likely location. It was grassy and we wouldn’t have heard it drop. (Had I kept the key on the full ring, surely I would have noticed that mass leaving my pocket) Plus, with the dogs playing, maybe I bent down and gave it easier access to fall out. Dan quickly thought to call the Indianapolis Museum of Art to leave his number in case someone found the key. From there we retraced our steps. All along the trail, our eyes scanned. The canal path, where runners were out jogging. The woods where we started the stroll. Nothing. Please note: Mav may be one of the cutest and funniest dogs I know. But a search dog he is not. Get it together, Mav.
Dan drove me home and on the way, I called roadside assistance to help break into my car so that I could at least get my house keys and my purse. The minute I got off the phone I told Dan, “That man is maybe the least intelligent person I have ever spoken to.” But in him I trusted because if the key was lost forever, the last thing I wanted was to leave my car there with all my worldly belongings in full view. Now some of you are surely asking why I just didn’t grab the spare key. Well, you see, JD left his coat in Boston a month ago and in that coat was his set of keys. So there was no spare.
JD and I met roadside assistance when we returned to the park and the man got to work. It was fascinating to watch. First he put this plastic thing in between the door and the side of the car to pry it just slightly ajar. From there, he inserted a rubber gadget that resembled a whoopie cushion. As he pumped it up with air, it expanded giving him enough room to insert a long pole into the car. It had a little hook on the end which he would then use to grab the lock switch and pull it to the unlock position. After his first go, the alarm went off. Now this nature park is pretty serene and on a day like that one, it was packed. You’re welcome, patrons, for me ruining your visit with a blaring repetitive horn. But even though he was able to grab the switch, the door wouldn’t open. Every time he pulled the lock open, it would immediately snap back. Thank you Toyota security. So he asked for our help. As he pulled it back, JD would have to open the door handle before it locked up. I was to help guide the pole to the correct location. We tried this team work a few times with no luck, but I wasn’t worried. This was ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE people. They can do anything! Nope. Wrong again, young Dials. Mr. Incapable turned to me and said “I tried. I can’t get past security. Sorry.” I grilled him a bit about how his company wasn’t prepared to break into cars that were made with the security systems new cars possess, but he just turned around and left. Awesome.
JD and I searched high and low for that key. We retraced the trail once again and spent most of our time in the Park of Laments. A nice mother and father asked us what we were looking for and when we told them, they called their kids over and told them to help with the treasure hunt. It was adorable watching this kids scan the grass for the magical key. I would have bought them ice cream or a pony had they found it. But they too came up empty.
After 2 hours of searching and countless calls to the IMA lost and found desk, we decided to call it a day. I jotted down the VIN of my car and figured I would call the dealer first thing on Monday and they’d whip me out a new key. I’d be back at work by 10am, good as new. Once again: nope.
I drove JD to work that morning and called Toyota the minute they opened. Yes, they could generate a laser key from a VIN but it would take two days and the laser key was really just the metal key embedded into the key fob and would only unlock the door, not start the car. (Bernice is a push-to-start car so there isn’t an actual key). BUT, they could reprogram the key fobs for me as long as they had the car in the shop. So yes, I would need it towed. Great, I’ve got a plan. So I call the tow truck company and they tell me that they can’t tow the car if they can’t get into it. Snag #2. (Wait, don’t they repossess cars?) So I call Toyota back and outlined the situation: I can’t get new keys unless the car is at the shop. I can’t get the car to the shop unless I have it towed. I can’t get it towed unless I can get into the car and I can’t get into the car because I don’t have any keys. His response “Yeah, you’re in a real pickle. Have you thought about looking for the key?” Had I not been on the verge of tears, I would have jumped through the phone and strangled him.
But I’m an action man so I drove back down to 100 Acres and called roadside assistance on the way. This time, I begged them to send me someone who surely understood the security systems of the 21st century. And when this man pulled up, I just had a feeling he was going to be my knight on a white horse….err….car.
He did the exact same thing Mr. Incapable did, but this time, he used the little pole to pop the hood before going for the unlock switch. Sure the alarm went off, but after 4 minutes of deafening sound, it subsided. And once the hood was popped, he disconnected the battery. Now the alarm wasn’t activated and he could use the pole to pop the switch to unlock. When I saw that door open, I hugged the man. My hero! I grabbed my purse and put it all in JDs car as he reconnected the battery. He left and as soon as he did, I realized that I couldn’t close the door he just opened or we’d be right back in the same spot as before. Bernice would become Fort Knox again. So as I waited for another hour and twenty minutes for the tow truck to arrive, I sat in JD’s car, parked next to Bernice, keeping guard so that no one entered the wide open door. Also during this time, the tow company was drilling me on my car situation. Was it 4WD or AWD (What’s the difference by the way?) and were the wheels straight? Um….nope. My awesome driving skills pulled in a bit at an angle, I told them. But I am sure you guys can do it, I pleaded hopefully.
When he finally arrived, he was pretty damn impressive. First he disconnected the battery again so that we could close the door and nothing would lock up. Then he manuervered the truck so that it was at the right angle for Bernice to glide backwards. Given her wheel position, she moved at an arc so he had to keep moving the truck to be in correct position. And finally, he just locked up Bernice’s wheels and dragged her onto his truck. She sure looked pretty as she awaited her joy ride.
From there, I drove to the dealer with the tow truck in tow (PUN!). When I got there, I spoke with Chris, the man who was helping me. He explained how they would reprogram two new key fobs and then order the laser keys to arrive later in the week. I’d be able to pick her and the keys up in the afternoon. He then told me, “I always like to prepare people for the cost on these things. It’s a bit more expensive then you would imagine.” I said “Oh sure, I get it” thinking I really did get it. Thinking he was going to tell me my grand total, tow truck and all was $300. Instead he told me that I was going to pay $1084 for two new keys. HOLY (insert cuss word here). As I recovered from hearing this number, I bounced back by saying “Well, what can you do. I have to drive my car.” His response “You could not have lost your keys for one.” If looks could kill, Chris would have been dead on the spot. My eyes seared into his soul, bolts of lightening erupting out of my head. I turned away, drove to work, and picked Bernice up later that day.
But wait, there is more. On Tuesday, I drove Bernice to work and thought to myself “Today is a new day! Screw 2012. I am taking control.” I was chipper and gipper and put it all behind me, promising that nothing was going to go wrong. Oh sure, I managed to slip in the ExactTarget lockerroom that morning after my workout, only to go sliding across the tile floor on my knees, towel flying making me naked in front of a female colleague. But nevermind. What’s a little pain and embarrassment.
And then, I got an IM from Dan. “The IMA just called. They found your key.”