Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wooo Wooo Wooo

This post is a little longer than usual, but fun to read, I believe, so give me a few minutes!

So, here I am on vacation for the week.  I am not one to actually go away for my vacations. Instead, I GET THINGS DONE that I can never find time to get done during the week. This results in days where I sometimes never leave "the compound", which is fine by me.  I'm usually too busy to notice.

There I was, strolling through the kitchen, on my way to craft project #459 when a man in my parents' yard sort of caught my attention through the picture window (isn't it weird how things like this can catch your attention when you're not even looking out the window?)

 "hmmm" I said to myself   "that looks like a cop.  I wonder what's going on." 


I went tearing out my door and hustled over.  He didn't seem too alarmed and, for a cop, wasn't too aware that I was hurrying over there.  Like, if I were a cop, and I was called to a house to go peering through windows, I would be ALL ON ALERT and would look at the person sneaking over, I would put my hand on my gun and I would face them and ask what is going on.  Nope.  He just kept peering.

"Hi, I'm their daughter, can I help you?" (is that appropriate to even say to an officer of the law?)

"Ugh, hi, we have a report that there's an alarm going off"

"Here?  Are you sure?  It's not armed."

"Yes, it sounds like here"

"Umm. I don't hear it."  (I really didn't)

We walked to the front of the house.

"Oh, ok, yeah, that must be this house"  I type in the keypad to get into the house thinking how amazed I am that a stranger can walk up and say "I'm their daughter" and he believes me.  Good thing I don't stumble on the code as he stands and watches me.  I enter and he comes right behind me.  Is that right?  Should a cop just walk in, uninvited?  Should I have let him go in first?  Should he have insisted that he go in first, creeping around corners, yelling CLEAR?  But, maybe because I said it wasn't armed, we both knew it wasn't going off because of a burglar.

So, in we march and indeed, there is a noise of an alarm, though not the full fledged BLARING of an alarm, so it was tolerable.  Remember, this is the house we built when I was in high school, so this alarm has been there for half of my life, yet I can barely remember the code.  I type in what I think is the code while Mr. Officer wanders around the first floor.  It's not shutting off.

So I call my father, further proof that I am indeed the owner's daughter.  I always feel that I need make everyone super aware that I am not a stranger and that I do indeed know what I am doing.  Must be an insecurity I have.

What every homeowner wants to hear when he answers the phone on vacation:

"Umm hi, I'm in the house with a police officer because the alarm is going off and we can't make it stop..." ( I like to cut right to the chase)

"Oh.  Did you try the code?"

"Yes, the one I think it is, but it's not working."  Mr. Officer With No Name Bar stands and watches Act 1.

"Did you try ****?"

"yes, about 5 times and it's not working"

"Your mother says look in the cabinet.."

"Yes it says what you and I have both said and it's not working" (check to see that Mr. O.W.N.N.B. is still watching)

I start rummaging through the drawer where my mother keeps all manuals.  Funny, I have a special place where I keep every manual, but it's a binder.  I wonder if I do this because of her.  (Mr. OWNNB is still watching as I think all of this)  But, I one up my mother because I always put the exact date it was purchased and worked on.  Great solver of fights, that is.  But I can't find the damned alarm manual!!  I can feel Mr. OWNNB amused by this.

"Your mother says to look in the drawer.."

"I already am..."

"She says to look in the drawer under the silverware drawer where the things, you know the books, the things are..."

"Yes, I'm doing that and I can't see anything about it"  (Mr OWNNB still watching.  I should charge a fee for this entertainment)

"Well, I don't know what to tell you.  Call the alarm company."

"Do you know which one?"

"Umm, well, maybe x company?  If not, call b-ster at y company and he can maybe help you out"

"Is that really who installed it?" ( my father is great for coming up with places or people we should call to find things out, when he really has no idea if they will know.  In his mind, it gives us something to do and then we can report back to him.  Like I needed something to do...)

"I can't remember.  But they can probably help"

"All right, I have to go."  (Mr. OWNNB is still standing there but I feel like I can't say "he's still standing right here" as my father tries to ask me who it is)

"So, my father says to call an alarm company and try to see if they can help (and I really want to ask WHY ARE YOU STILL STANDING HERE??)  It's not hardwired so you can't call..."

"Officer some-group-of-numbers, yeah, what's the alarm company?"

"We don't know , the alarm company didn't call it in, it was a neighbor"

yeah, like I said, not hardwired

"Well, that's ok, I'll just call until I get help.  Thank you.  Do you have any idea how long it was going off?"

"No, I just got the call to come."

"Ok, thank you.  What's your name?"

gives me first name (REALLY?) and then says first and last.  Never asks for mine.  Wait, where the little notebook where they write everything down?  Is this a real cop? 

I escort him to the door and now another cop has come by for "backup?" but sees us at the door and leaves.

There are those who say that we live in an unsafe town.  Not like projects unsafe, but not utopia either.  There are those who think cops are up to no good.  I happen to think that's not true on either account and the fact that this cop stood and waited while I did schtick on the phone makes me happy.  Like maybe he wanted to help.  Or wanted my ass, who would know?  Should I have offered coffee?  Gum?  I really know nothing about what to do in real situations.

So, on to Act 2.

I didn't realize I had had a little adreline rush but I realized it then.  I called the first alarm company my father suggested and it happened to be the right one.  However, the alarm panel is from 1989, so it's not as up to date as one you might have with such options as "away" and "enter" and things like that.  I am familiar with these more moden types as we have one at the car wash and the Cultural Center.

It took a while, but I finally discerned the brand (right there on the top of the panel) and she gave me the same stinking code I'd been using!!  Still didn't work.

Then came the real work.  Mr. OWNNB, oh wait, I did learn his name, Officer b-ster should have stuck around for this part.  She told me I would have to bring something to "get into" the panel down cellar (how did she know we had a cellar?  interesting...) and when I said "you mean like a screwdriver?" she said "yes, anything to pry it open".  So I grabbed the biggest screwdriver I could find.  I had no idea what I was prying open.

It occurred to me as I was opening the cellar door that Officer b-ster never went upstairs or down.  Hmm. I know I said like 4 times that the alarm wasn't armed so it couldn't have been set off by a perpetrator.   But.... What if there were bodies?  What if some lunatic had come into the house, dragged in some dead bodies and then lit candles?  Or smoked a cigarette?  And then there was a little fire and that's what set it off? And the lunatic escaped before we got there and I opened the door to blood and gore?  As I've said, Hollywood has nothing on my imagination.  I should be writing these things down!

Down cellar I went, their cellar looking all modern and nothing like my creepy dirt cellar, and there on the wall was the panel that I was to pry open.  Yea, the one with a key sticking out of it.  No prying involved.

Here's where the learning comes in, my friends, so write this down.  It's near the electrical box, in a box of its own, and there's a battery in there.  If the woman said "it's like a car battery" one more time,  I was going to bring my large screwdriver to her office and pry her a new one.  I guess she means that like a car battery, it has two terminals that things go into, one being black and one red.  I had to undo those and then, wait, that's not all, I also had to unplug it from the electricity.  Except I couldn't for the life of me figure out where it was plugged in.  So we deduced that it must go right into the electric panel.  But there was no label for alarm. 

Finally, I found the plug in an actual outlet.  But because it's a big plug, it was screwed right into the outlet.  Which meant I had to use my big ass screwdriver in the tiny screw head and not let it slip into the outlet above and zap myself.  No easy feat.

Silence at last.  And since the battery said July 2002, we decided it was time to get a new one.  I drove to the wrong place at first.  Of course.  And eventually  found the right one.  And went through too many doors (an alarm place, what should I expect) and finally was able to buy a new one.  And what did the lady say? 

"It's just like a car battery.  Black here, red here."


Act 3

Now, I had to reconnet it all with the new battery.  Pretty simple.  But the panel isn't fashing right.  But that's ok, at least it's not blaring the alarm. 

My mother will be home this afternoon and she can make an appointment for a guy to come and straighten all of this out.

I called my father to report. 

"It's all set but the lights are all flashing, even after I reset it."

"That's fine, have your mother (see, farming out work again) call them and get them to come out."

"I just want to make sure the smoke detectors will still work, that she isn't here overnight with no smoke detectors."

My father is a retired firefighter and this was his response:

"Oh Christ, those fire alarms haven't gone off in 25 years, they won't go off tonight!"


"Ok dad, I was in this house the last time they went off and it wasn't 25 years ago."  It was a smoldering push broom in the cellar, but that's another story.

"I'm sure it will be fine."

Moral of the story? 

1.  Go and check your alarm panel and all of its hookups so when your mate is away, and things go haywire(because they always do when the mate is away) you will know where everything is and not look like an ass when you have a police officer standing there.

2.  Ask the police officer's name within seconds of asking if you may help him.  It's just a good idea, I think.  We've all seen those movies with the fake cops.

3.  When people say you probably shouldn't live next to your parents for the rest of your life, make a face and just scoff.  Living next to them has saved us both a lot of aggravation over the years.  Imagine if I lived even just 10 minutes away?  I wouldn't have seen the police, might not have even known, they might have had the alarm company just come clip wires and cost my parents money, I wouldn't have had this marvelous conversation with my father and the alarm company lady (twice) and I might have actually accomplished what I set out to do this morning (make a cute dress for k-ster's cousin's daughter). 

It's really worth it, on every front.  I swear.  Especially when you realize you might have left the iron on.  Or the door wide open.


  1. It does not sound like the police officer acted professionally at all.

    WOW what a hassle for you!

    Glad everything was ok

    that is all

  2. "Smooth Move" on your part getting that alarm turned off. ;o)

    Thanks for the blog visit.

  3. K, probably not supposed to be laughing, but I love the part where they're "look in the drawer...under the silverware, behind object A, but in front of object B!"
    I think we have the same mother. Only mine hides her shit in her closet, in the box of slippers, only she has about 8 pairs of slippers...

  4. How bizarre. On a related note, we really were chased down a rural county road by a fake cop once and had to call the real cops on him. Now? I'm basically always ready to call the cops on other cops to make sure they're real.

  5. That story is too funny but the information about the "cop" (yes I need to use quotes) has sort of freaked me out. I would have expected him to go in first, for sure.

    And now Kat has me super freaked out about the fake cop who stopped her on a county road.


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