Sunday, April 25, 2010

Another False Alarm

(Pictured above is the remnant of the security control panel in my mom’s room. Sometime after the incident described below, my mom experienced yet another security system malfunction herself. In a rash and hasty state, she took a blunt object and knocked the shit out of the panel.)

I have yet another ‘false alarm’ story. This happened sometime in the summer of 2005. I remember this well. Even though I was living in my condo at the time, I was doing my mom a favor by house-sitting for her while she was spending time with her ailing sister, who lived in Knightdale. I often house-sitted for my mom, but when I did so, she was usually she was out of town vacationing at places such as at her sister’s condo in Little River, SC. In this situation, my mom was still in the Raleigh area but she was helping take care of her sister who had been afflicted with a host of health problems that her doctors could never get a hold of and effectively treat her. It was a long slow steady decline that was painful for all those in my aunt’s life to see.
Some people may rightfully ask why I didn’t take the dogs over to my condo. After all, having two pets was within the homeowners association by-laws, and I did keep the dogs at my condo for a while in what is best described as ‘joint custody’ that my mom and I had with the babies. (Father had died by this point.) Unfortunately, Abby was no longer able to stay at my condo because of the extensive walking needed to get in and out of the building due to Abby’s limited mobility from her arthritis.

One night during this round of house-sitting as my luck would have it, the alarm started beeping in that high-pitched shrill pitch that woke me up and was going to keep me up unless I deactivated the alarm. It had been a while since my mom told me the alarm code. It had also been a while since she told me about the ‘fake alarm code’. For those not aware of the ‘fake alarm code’, the code will silence the alarm but will notify the security company and 911 dispatch that the homeowner is in trouble and needs help. The reason for the silent feature is that in the event a robber has set-off the alarm and physically forces/demands that the homeowner turn off the alarm, the robber will believe that the alarm has been shut off since the siren will turn off, but the security company and 911 will be alerted nonetheless that the homeowner is in trouble and needs help. This allows the police to sneak on to the premises and neutralize the situation.

At 3am, my judgment is clouded. I entered the correct code but as luck would have it, it was the ‘silent activation’ code. Of course I had thought I punched in the right code because the alarm noise stopped therefore reinforcing my false sense of security. I went back to bed, but 5min later, the phone rang. It was the security company. I told them about the alarm malfunctioning and how I most likely entered the wrong code. The security officer accepted my story, but the officer did ask a ‘security word’ or something like that in the event that the security company has to call the house after the alarm is activated and needs to verify that the homeowner is who he says he is. I didn’t know the verification code. (I still don’t.)Fortunately, the security officer didn’t harp on the issue. She did want to know where my mom was. I told her that my mom was at her sister’s and that is about where the conversation ended. About a minute or two later, the 911 dispatcher called. I had to explain the whole story once again. This person, too, accepted my story but said that a police officer had been called out to the house to check out the call, and that I should go outside to meet him and explain the story. Once I put down the phone, I did as the dispatcher had said and went to the front door. Just as she had said, a cop was on his way up the driveway. It didn’t take much convincing that I was not a robber and that a false alarm had been called. For some reason, a shirtless, sleepy-eyed man with ‘bed head’ didn’t fit the profile of a cat burglar. The cop didn’t take up much of my time at all. He didn’t even ask for my ID. It didn’t hurt to look contrite. Embarrassed was more like it.

Finally, I could go to sleep. Five minutes later, the damn phone rings yet again. This time it was my mom. Unbeknownst to me, the security company had called my aunt’s house to verify if what I said was true. My poor sick aunt had answered the phone and in a zombie like state, handed the phone to my mom who was sleeping in her room with her. Of course the story checked out and my mom, unlike me, knew the ‘verification code’. My mom was on the other end of the line when I picked up the phone and was laughing. She knew the drill about such false alarms and thought it was funny the ordeal I had to go through in the late night. She knew the calls that were made, the cops visiting, and my grumpy demeanor when I am aroused from a deep sleep. She could have been mad and chewed my ass out for causing this mess, but she has a deviousness in her and found the situation amusing.

In the three o’clock hour that night and in a span of 15 minutes, I heard the alarm malfunction, received three phone calls and was paid a visit by one police officer.

What were the babies doing this whole time? As I’ve mentioned before, my mom’s room is their little cocoon. The bed is their womb. They stayed there and didn’t budge until everything had blown over. I was irritable as hell, and they could sense my moods easily so they were most likely scared. And yes, when I house-sit, I stay in my mom’s room because at the time, that was the only room Andy would sleep in. This is an example of one of his many quirks.

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