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Dec 26, 2012

Three nights before Christmas

On Saturday night, after our date (!), Garry dropped me off and then drove to a friend's house to retrieve the kids' Christmas presents--the "Santa gifts."  The gifts, a punching bag for the boys and a play kitchen for the girls, were kind of large, and we didn't have a space at our house to keep them hidden.  Our friends had graciously agreed to store them for us during the weeks leading up to Christmas. They were out of town for the holiday, but we had their garage code.  Garry planned to assemble the kitchen on Saturday so he wouldn't have to be up all night on Christmas Eve. 

Thirty minutes later Garry sent me a text.  This was our conversation:

Garry: I can't get in.
Heidi: WHAT?
Garry: The garage code isn't working.  Can you verify with our friends that I have the right code?
Heidi: Sure.

I reached out to our friends via text.

Heidi: Garry is having trouble getting into the garage.  Can you confirm the code?  Any special tricks?
Friend: You type in xxxx then enter twice and it should work, nothing special.  Do you have the right code?  House number is xxxx.  Are you at the right house?  

Heidi: xxxx.  Press enter twice after the code.
Garry: That's what I'm typing.  Do you want to come try it yourself to see if it likes you any better?
Heidi: Our friends think it might be too cold.  They suggested trying in the daytime.  I don't know what to do.  They have never had a problem.  House number is xxxx.
Garry: Yup.  I'm at the right house...
Heidi: Coming.

Well, I drove over.  I confirmed that Garry was at the right house.  I tried the code.  It just didn't work.  It was about 20 degrees and windy outside.  Poor Garry was a Popsicle.  I texted our friends again.

Heidi: I drove over.  He's at the right house.  The keypad is blinking red after entering the code.  Is it a battery issue?  Do your neighbors have a key to the house?
Friend: Maybe it is a battery issue.  If so I am so sorry!  I don't know what size of batteries are needed.  Ugh!  No one has a house key.  I am so sorry, it worked fine the day we left, which was only Friday.  Hmmmm...I am thinking it's a battery thing.  IDK if it blinks red, I remember it having a green light after entering the code.  Again, I am terribly sorry.  Will you be able change the battery?
Heidi: It takes a 9V.  We'll try that!  Sorry to bug you.
Friend: No, not at all!  I'm sorry that this happened.  But so glad you tried it tonight! Keep me posted, please. I think that will do the trick.
Heidi: Garry's concerned that taking out the battery will reset the system.  But we will try.
Friend: If it does, I can look online to try to figure out how to reset the system. :(  Ugh. What a pain for you!
Heidi: We all thought this was a simple solution.  It's not your fault!  

I went home.  Garry went to the nearest store for batteries.

Garry: :(

Heidi: Noooooooo........
Garry: So sorry.  IDK what to do.

So we stewed.  Garry looked online.  After choir practice the next morning, I drove over and tried again. No luck.  Garry tried after church.  Nothing.  I'll admit that I had a couple of meltdowns over the situation.  I would be calm and fine for a while, and then I would panic.  Or have a moment of despair.  How could this be happening?  What were we going to do?

We settled into Plan B.  At our house, Santa leaves his gifts unwrapped and on display. Mom and Dad and the rest of the family wrap their presents. Our new plan was to unwrap the kids' gifts from us, leave them out, and tell the kids that our gifts for them were locked in a friend's garage. The irony of the whole situation was that we had spent more on each child this Christmas, and the combined Santa gifts (one gift for the boys and one for the girls) had more of a "wow factor" than in past years. We were so excited for the kids' reactions on Christmas morning. So much for best laid plans!

We were so grateful that we discovered the situation a couple of days early.  A Christmas Eve surprise would have been pretty devastating.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story!
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