What We Learn From Horses Can Help Us Become Good Burglars

Spoiler: The first part has absolutely nothing to do with horses or burgling…Also, this post reads much better while singing, “The Rain in Spain Falls Mainly on the Plane”.

Daisy texted: Stupid door is swollen and won’t close.

Since she went to work, I assumed she meant the door into the (locking) garage.

Jane: Crap.

Daisy: I know.  Had to sleep with chair under doorknob all night.

Alarm bells go off.

Jane: You mean your FRONT door??

Daisy: Um. Yeah? I think all the rain made it swell. But it closed and locked last year when it stopped raining?

It’s fine. Daisy connects my dots all the time.  My turn.

Jane: Okay, good to know. Hmmm….we think this year is important too?  We think a front door that locks before April is good?


Jane: We need a tool person.  Someone who has a plane. Know any tool people?

Long pause.

I realize Daisy is trying to figure out why we need a person with a private jet to fix her door.

Jane: Plane is a tool.  Like a deli meat slicer? You can shave off the parts of the door that are sticking so it will close.

We go through the list of People We Know Who Have Real Woodworking Tools. This turns out to be Zippo.

Daisy: Uh. I think I’m okay? Can use chair? Who do we know who fixes doors?

It’s 5 pm. Not letting Daisy sleep without a locking front door. It’s also her birthday. I don’t know how to fix a door, but I can plane one into submission.

Jane: Plz hold. On way…

I pick up a cupcake to go with her birthday card.  I also stop at the hardware store and buy Daisy a plane for her birthday. I’m sure she’ll be thrilled. Maybe if I slap a designer label on it?  Come to think of it, why aren’t there Coach planes, or Hermes Planes?

After offering me dinner (not  hungry) Daisy sits on her stairs and eats her Lean Cuisine while watching me shave off bits of her door. I tell her it’s part of her birthday present: dinner and a movie. (Most exciting birthday party she’s ever had.)

Door is acting weird.  Sticking on the inside, next to the hinges. This is a bad sign.  This is the door equivalent of “Whoops, put the plastic tray on the bottom of the dishwasher, dang it!” The door is probably no longer flat.  It’s probably a little twisty and melty. But we don’t say these things until door is fixed and locks.  Otherwise we create door anxiety.

I plane.  Many curly cues later, I can slide a sheet of paper in the gap: not sticking!


Now sticking in new place.  But we gained an inch toward closing. Progress! I look down.  See telltale scrape marks on the metal sill plate.

Problem.  It’s getting dark, and Daisy has to get up in 6 hours.  I pry and slide the plastic weather-stripping off the bottom of the door. We shove. The door closes!  Hurrah!

Unfortunately, the bolt uselessly misses the corresponding bolt hole entirely.   Dishwasher door. Not going to lock in my lifetime. Daisy sees my look of frustration.

“It looks closed…?”, she says, “At least it looks like it’s locked?”

So not working for me. Daisy reads this on my face.

“It’s fine”, she says. “I’ll stick the chair under the knob.”

I grudgingly leave it at that and say a quick prayer of protection. Hardware stores are closed. I come back the next morning, drill, screwdriver and smash proof flipping lock plate in hand. The kind you flip on the door when your kids are short, and you would rather they not wander onto the freeway in their diapers because you were in the bathroom the very second they learned to unlock a door.

It takes me less than 60 seconds to install.  I flip the plate.  Door is locked. I stop for a moment to admire my genius. Admiring my genius ends when I realize I’m locked in Daisy’s house. If I leave, her door will be unlocked. Which was not the point.

(This next part is where horses and burgling connect.)

I  choose a very skinny window to climb out, on the theory that all burglers drink too much, and couldn’t possibly get a beer gut through the skinny window. The likelihood of a skinny burglar choosing that day and that window seemed miniscule.

Unlock.  Slide window open. Remove Screen.  Drop power tools outside on the ground. Go out sideways, one leg at a time. Easy, right?

I get my leg over the sill, so I’m kind of sitting on the window sill the way you would if you were mounted on a horse.  I sort of can’t reach the ground.

I am sort of, um, stuck.

I consider the options:

  • Topple sideways to the ground, hoping I don’t  rip off the inside of my left leg, dislocate my right leg, or hit my head on the very large tree inches from the house.
  • Try to get both feet on the sill and jump like a contortionist attempting suicide form an extremely low, first floor window.
  • Climb back in Daisy’s house, and raid the fridge until she gets home.

No brainer.

Seriously? Daisy has only water, Red Bull, and mayonnaise? Blech.

Oh wait! I can get out.

I climb back on the sill. Pretend I’m going to launch myself – off the wrong side – of a bareback horse.  Thank you, rotten, instructor-less, unmonitored childhood! I know exactly how to do this. Press palms, lean slightly launch up and through…

….Ta Da!  Freedom.

If only burglars drank less, and rode more, they’d be better at burgling …

No need to bother with Daisy’s house though.  Nothing to steal.

Unless they love watered down Red Bull with a cheery dollop of Mayo on top…?

17 thoughts on “What We Learn From Horses Can Help Us Become Good Burglars

    1. She had the garage door opener, and a key to the back door. I had no brains. Let’s just say: Daisy connects my dots much more frequently than I connect hers.
      Though Daisy was correct, my way of getting out of her house was much more fun than locking the backdoor, closing it and running out under the automatic garage door as it went down.
      However, if I’d actually done that…?
      I believe we’d be reading a long post on how Daisy found me pinned beneath her garage door, scratching graffiti (Jane + Shaun, Jane + Hudson. Jane + Murphy. Big hearts and arrows.) into the paint, while waiting for her to come home.

  1. Thanks for the morning laugh with my coffee… or the coffee with my morning laugh. It feels great up the nose, ya know?!
    I love the straddling the window sill imagery… I think I’ve been there. Isn’t it funny how we think we can do something and then when we get to that position, realize we are stuck?!

  2. I’ll take a shot of that red bull and mayo! mmmm mmm ugh. Hystrical, I am glad you’re not hurt of course. I am imagining Fort Knox now.

  3. Funny story and definitely something I would have done. As I’m reading this with you straddling the windowsill, I’m thinking…And just how is Daisy supposed to get into house with door locked from the inside. Glad you solved that one for me with the garage door. Phew, for a minute there I thought this wasn’t going to end well. Except for the laughter of course.

  4. I hate to tell you now…but you could have hit the button on the garage door and run out before it closed. But I’m sure your way was more fun.

    1. Did we have to point out how dumb our genius friend is? 😉
      Well, yeah. I know there WAS that one time but I thought…Uh-huh…Oh, that other day? I actually DID do THAT but how could I have known the banana slugs would come in?

  5. Oh Jane, I adore you. This was a great story. Very similar to the way I broke *into* my house after leaving my house keys on my desk at the office one day. Mounted the side window just as one would mount a bareback pony. And yes. The neighbors do think I am crazy.

    Also, this story very much reminds me of my all-time FAVORITE TLH story (Mr. Chips stories excluded, of course), the Daisy Lock Out Story. I am including a link to it in this comment for the benefit of your new readers, because I can’t keep it all to myself and I know they will really enjoy it: https://theliteraryhorse.wordpress.com/2009/01/10/put-a-sock-on-it-best-locked-out-story-ever/

  6. Oh. My. God. I just snorted my morning tea out of my nose.

    Did you leave Daisy instructions for climbing in her window, since the door is locked?

  7. How very handy-womanish you are! I’m trying to figure out how Daisy is going to get INTO her house with the smash proof lock locked?

    1. Daisy has a key to garage door and back door. So she didn’t have to go in front. 😉
      I couldn’t go out back, no way to lock doors. Thankfully real door person has come and fixed door so she needn’t offer her guests a window to straddle. I think our next project (compassion based) should be to load Daisy’s fridge with cake, um, I mean FOOD. For any potential burglars?

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