Night Out, Beach Day, Locked Out

The past few months in Santa Barbara have been a combination of long weekdays filled with studying and research  and ephemeral weekends crammed with exploration and adventure. Friday night, as we do often, Kierstin, Simba, and I walked down to State Street.

State Street is in the heart of downtown,  abundant with tourist shops, delicious food and grog, and lively nightlife. Kierstin and I are the kind of pet owners that are constantly filled with guilt for leaving Simba home alone. We attribute this to his separation anxiety, even though it really seems like we have a little separation anxiety ourselves. So we try to involve him in our Friday nights, since he spends a large part of the day in his kennel. I put Simba on his leash, Kierstin grabs the house key off her key-ring, and we walk the short 1.5 miles downtown to find a nice restaurant with a patio. Fortunately, we live in Santa Barbara where the weather has rarely dropped below 50° F and this makes for enjoyable nights out.

Last night, we went to Brat Haus where authentic German and Belgium beers are always on tap and your choice of food is simple: various types of brats served with peppers, sauerkraut, and onions. Food was good; another great night out was enjoyed. We met up with Daniel and some of his friends, who were celebrating a birthday. At that stage of their night, they were ready to go to a club to dance and revel. Simba was not dressed in club attire and probably couldn’t afford the cover charge anyway so we parted ways at that point. We made our way back home and made plans to head to the beach the next morning for skimboarding.

I was introduced to skimboarding by Daniel, one of my friends from Modesto who had discovered Santa Barbara before we had. Kierstin bought me my own skimboard for Christmas this year. I go to the beach and skimboard, and Simba plays in the ocean. It’s crazy to think that we went out at 11:00 AM and played on the beach today – in January! Of course, it’s been especially warm these past few weeks and I have a wetsuit to combat the chilly ocean temperatures. Today though, it was another unusually sunny day and the cool saltwater felt refreshing. The waves were rolling in steadily; the beach was filled with surfers, beachgoers, and other skimmers; and Simba romped and splashed in the clear ocean water while I attempted to glide across the water and ride small waves back onto the beach. After exhausting ourselves, we decided to head home even as waves crashed in and continued to beckon.

Remember how I mentioned that Kierstin grabbed the house key off her key-ring so we wouldn’t have to carry our keys around on Friday night? Well, it turns out we forgot to put the key back on. Our door can be locked from the inside when the door is open and this has happened a couple times before. One of us will lock the door while we are leaving and forget that we don’t have a key.  We have had to climb through the window, leave work to let the other in, and attempt to call our landlord to get us in. This time, though, we didn’t really have any of these options. It’s Saturday and we couldn’t reach our landlord. The windows were all locked shut and couldn’t be budged open. And both of us were at the door with no house key. In this age of smart phones, I have made it a habit to Google any problem I have and see if there’s a way I can use the resources I have available to fix it. Our lock is a Schlage lock and there was a lot of advice from hobbyist lock pickers on how to pick these locks with sets. I didn’t have a lock pick set, but I did have a couple of small screwdrivers and a Schlage key from a different lock. The key fit but was not cut to knock the tumblers in the correct place. Still, it was surprisingly easy to use a combination of the screwdrivers and key to get in. It only took about 10 minutes of fiddling with the lock and we were in. It felt like quite an accomplishment for someone with no past lock picking skills, and we were relieved to get in without disturbing our landlords or having to pay a locksmith.

Share your similar experiences below or let me know of any great places to eat that have outside seating.

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