Stranded On My Balcony In The Middle Of A Snowstorm

In case you’re not from around these parts, the D.C. area was hit with a pretty decent snowstorm yesterday. We don’t usually get snow like this but these past couples of weeks have been an exception to the rule. As the snow was blowing around, I thought it looked so pretty from my balcony door that I just had to go outside and snap a few photos of these angelic flakes. So outside I went and a few photos I snapped. It wasn’t until after I was done that I realized my predicament…

When I went to slide open the balcony door to get back inside my apartment, it wouldn’t budge. I wasn’t sure what had happened until I looked over and saw that the security stick for the balcony door had somehow fallen down on its own and secured the door shut. 

Did I mention that Charles was also away on a work trip? This meant that there was no one to open the door from inside which meant that I was stuck on my balcony in the middle of a blustery snowstorm. Cherry on top = I didn’t have my phone on me and I was in my pajamas with a sweatshirt and Charles’s humongous snowboots on my feet. (Insert my mini panic attack here.)

I’m not sure how long I was stuck on the balcony (maybe 10-15 minutes?) but every time a car drove by, I yelled and waved my arms to try and get the driver’s attention annnnd nothing. Either they didn’t hear or see me or they probably just thought I was a crazy lady hanging out on her balcony in the snow. Who knows but the cold was starting to settle into my bones and I was beginning to lose hope that anyone would hear me with the wind blowing so hard. This was right around the time that I came up with a “brilliant” idea. 

The idea? To climb over the side of my balcony, jump onto the tree that is adjacent to said balcony and climb down to my freedom. Either that or freeze to death in the elements. 

Mind you, I live on the 3rd floor so before I went through with my plan, I took a picture of my door and the security stick that held it shut (to have on record in case I fell to my death) because I didn’t want anyone to think I had committed suicide. Crazy right? The things we think to do when we face possible death…

After the photos were snapped, I strapped my camera around my neck, took off Charles’s shoes and threw them over the balcony to the ground (because they would’ve hindered me on the tree) and slowly climbed over my balcony to the other side. I turned my body around to face the tree, took a deep breath and counted down from 3 annnnnnnnd didn’t jump. 

Yeap, I punked out. 

But if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. So I took another deep death, did the countdown annnnnnnd didn’t jump again. It was probably around the 5th time of trying that I started talking to myself  to get myself amped to jump because I couldn’t go down like this. So I counted down one last time and leapt.

Thank you Lord and Buddha because I leapt far enough to catch and latch onto the tree trunk! When I finally got my bearings, I started the slow trek down the tree until I got to the last branch and jumped off. Once I landed in the snow, I scrambled to put Charles’s boots back on before making the trek around the apartment complex to our clubhouse where the leasing office is located.

When I got to the clubhouse, the leasing office was closed which meant I couldn’t get in because I didn’t have my key fob on me. So I waited outside the clubhouse hoping someone would drive by and thankfully someone finally did. I ran into the road and flagged down the car. A man got out (who I will refer to as J from now on) and I asked if he lived in the apartment complex and if he could let me into the clubhouse. J said he had just moved in a couple days ago and asked if I was ok. I told him the whole story while he went to get his keys from out of the car and let me into the clubhouse. 

When I finished telling him the story, J said, “I was wondering why your pajamas were ripped and now it all makes sense.” My pajamas were ripped? I looked down and what do you know, one of the branches on the tree must have caught my pjs when I jumped because because my pajamas were completely torn on one side. Perfect, just perfect. I hadn’t even realized until he said something. 

Anyways, J was kind enough to call our apartment’s emergency line on my behalf. A lady picked up and when he explained the story and asked if someone could help me get into my apartment, she said there was nothing she could do. The leasing consultants weren’t coming into the office because of the snow and that was that. Talk about customer service…

J then offered to let me wait at his apartment and use his phone to figure things out. Since I couldn’t think of anything better to do, I used his phone to call Charles and left him a voicemail before following J back outside to his car. And what do you know… Right before I got into J’s car I saw one of the apartment’s maintenance personnel walking up the sidewalk to the clubhouse!

I ran over to this maintenance man (who I will refer to as K from now on) and told him I was locked out of my apartment. He said he could get into the leasing office and get the spare key to my door and let me in! Halle-freakin-lujah! With this happy news, J left me in the hands of K and also left his contact info in case I needed him for anything. I jokingly said, “Welcome to neighborhood!” and watched him leave.

Unfortunately, my excitement was short-lived because as K went to go get my spare apartment key… I remembered that since I had left my apartment via the balcony and not my front door, the top lock was on… The toplock that doesn’t have a key to it from the outside. The key K was able to get for me would only open the bottom lock. Not the top lock. Which meant I was still locked out of my apartment. 

So K called the property manager of the complex, told her my situation and asked what could be done. The manager said I would have to call a locksmith. So I used K’s cell phone, called the locksmith and you know what the rep said? She said that it would cost me $300 to have someone come out and fix my door annnnd that it might take them an hour to get there in the middle of the snowstorm.  The hour long wait I could understand. The 300 bucks, not so much. But what else was I supposed to do? So I agreed to the terms.

As I began to tell the rep my address, K waved his hand in front of my face and told me to hang up. When I closed out of the call, K told me that $300 was a rip off. He offered to do it for $100 = DEAL!

K went to get his drill set and we headed to my apartment door where he drilled a hole into my top lock and used his pliers to open the door! I went inside, wrote him a check and thanked him profusely for helping me out. He responded with, “I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I had left you hanging outside in the middle of this storm,” and then went to go about his day clearing up the roads around our apartment in his snow plow. 

When I finally sat down and had a chance to reflect on the past  couple of hours, I broke down and cried happy tears of relief. I swear… You can’t make this shit up. Life is a mocha frappin adventure. For real.

Dear J: Thank you so much for stopping your car when you did. I hope I didn’t make you regret your decision to move into our apartment complex.

Dear K: Thank you so much for breaking the rules and drilling into my lock. Your anonymity is safe with me. 

Dear Cam: Thank you for checking on me throughout the day after everything was said and done and making sure I cleaned my cuts, took care of my hands and ate food. Having a friend who’s studying to be a nurse has great benefits. I was in a bit of shock afterwards and she guided me through the process. My fingers still feel a little swollen and prickly but they are no where near as numb as they were yesterday. 

Dear Grams: Thank you for letting me climb up and down the big tree in your backyard as a kid. I don’t think I would’ve been as prepared to do what I did without that training of my childhood.

Dear Tree: You weren’t a big fellow but I am so thankful you didn’t collapse under my weight and am truly sorry for breaking a few of your branches during my landing.

 ^^ Taken earlier today

Dear Mother Nature: You almost got me. On top of that you had the nerve to bring out the sun today and melt away most of yesterday’s snow. How rude.

Dear Charles: I miss you and can’t wait for you to get home tomorrow so we can just hump hug it out.

Dear Setarra: I still can’t believe you did what you did yesterday. Leaping off of the balcony onto the tree… That whole saying about your survival instincts kicking in when you’re extreme situations is no joke. And also, I hope you learned your lesson. Leave the door open when you go onto the balcony. Don’t worry about the snow getting into the apartment. Just leave the damn door open especially when you’re home alone. 

Dear Reader: If you made it this far through my post, thank you for reading. I feel really lucky to able to joke about yesterday’s adventure right now. With each sharing of this story to my family and friends over the past 24 hours, I’ve been able to come to terms with my experience just a little bit more than before so I figured blogging about it would help to put a period on the sentence and allow me to move on. 

Last but not least.

Dear Hello Kitty Pajamas: Rest In Peace. We had some good times together annnnd I promise to wait the proper mourning period before I buy a new pair.

The End. 

 photo ScreenShot2013-06-14at30615PM_zps8bec896b.png

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  • Lena B, Actually

    All I can say is… whoa! I thought I was having a bad day!! Happy you're okay … I don't think I could have jumped to the tree! You go, girl!

  • d

    You are an awesome lady!

  • Oh my, what a story! So glad you climbed a lot of trees as a child :D

  • BAHAHAHAHA! OMG! this is the kind of stuff I think about when I'm over analyzing: "What if I get locked outside? What if I have to jump from my window? What if I have to break in my house? Will someone call the cops? What if it's an emergency and I'm not clothed" looool That's so crazy that happened to you but I'm very happy that you're okay!

  • Hahaha! That is such a funny story!

  • Deborah Holmes

    OMGGGGG!!! What an adventure!! So glad you're ok. I would have freaked out!! And my husband not being there would have made it 10 times worse for me. But I'm a bit dramatic so there's that. lol

  • Me too! I actually called my Grams to thank her personally as well. You never know what experiences will prepare you for the next haha.

  • Hahahahaha! Thanks Tasha! I'm the same way about over analyzing situations before they happen too! But I never imagined something like this could/ would happen lol! Simply crazy.

  • Isn't it?!?! I could've sworn stuff like this only happened in the movies lol.

  • Lol thanks Deborah!

  • Tiffany Reaves

    You jumped and climbed down that little tree? I would have been so scared! Amazing.

  • Thanks Tiffany! When I think about it, I'm not quite sure how I did it either because I was sooo scared. I think I just stopped thinking completely at some point lol.

  • Zoe

    Hey Setarra :)

    My gosh! I only just read about your debacle, and I must say – you are very brave!! The other day I was trying to jump over a small stream about one metre wide, and even then my heart was racing! It took me about five minutes to get up the courage pahaha. And yet you jumped from a high balcony onto a tree! Like a flying squirrel! You lived to tell the tale, and what a tale it was ;).

    xX Zoe |

  • Hey Zoe! Thank you and cheers to you being brave and jumping over your stream as well! Overcoming any kind of fear is courageous. Also, your image of the flying squirrel is hilarious :)