Friday, October 14, 2011

While you were out...

I was awakend very early yesterday. VERY early.

Screamapillar had a kidnap breakfast for two friends' birthdays, so I had to wake her up and get her out at 5:15 am.

Then I went back to sleep. And was awakened by some horrible noise. I assumed it was Screampillar's alarm clock, which is renown for it's ablity to wake the dead in the next county (but strangely enough, it does not awaken the Screamapillar). That, or someone's cell phone alarm (there were four in the house at the time). Wandering blindly through the house, I search for the device that has ruined my sleep.

It turned out to be the phone. The old fashioned one that has wires coming out that attaches to the wall. You may remember such a thing from you childhood if you're old enough. It was my parents calling from Florida. They were on vacation, they went for a little boat ride all the way from Washington State, thru the Panama Canal and on to Florida. They had no cell phones or internet for the duration of the three week trip.

"Do you think you could run over to my house and check on something before you go to work?" my dad says.

(yeah, run over to your house. do you remember that you used to live a couple streets away, then you abandoned me and moved to a different city 25 miles away? and that EVERY route to your house is currently undergoing construction, making the trip an easy 45 minutes one way?)

"I guess, what's up?" I reply.

"It appears that we've either had a burgular or the basement is flooded - the alarm went off a few days ago and we weren't notified until we got off the boat."

He goes on with more detail about the different notifications from the alarm company, the neighbors, and the police department that he got via text, cell phone, and email. LOTS of notifications. The alarm system itself sent him a bunch of messages. One said "FLOOD" and the another "BURGULAR."

So of course, I'm going to the house.  But I've got to get kids off to school, and IT'S STILL ONLY 5:30 AM! Dark! and cold! I crawl back into bed and try to get a little more sleep until I have to awaken the next child at 6:15.

But I can't sleep. Images flash though my head: a suspicious-looking panel van is parked outside the garage. They've already cleaned out all the power tools and electronics. A creepy dude dressed in black is rifling though my mother's jewelry box. Another creepy guy is trying on my mothers hats and shoes...."Bill, do we want any caftans? This lady has a lot of caftans. Do pawn shops even buy caftans?"

Like I can sleep now.

So I get up, get showered and dressed, get the bigger kids off to school. Then I have to wake up Thing One (I have already tried to wake up Thing Two instead, but got a boot thrown at my head for my efforts). I'll need her to help Eclair get ready, because Hubby is defintely going with me to defend against the gang of theives at my parents house.

"Honey, I'm sorry to wake you early, but I need your help. I gotta run over to g-ma's house, they may have been burgled."

She leaps outta the bed and says "Whaaa?" But she's a good sport. She goes to sleep next to Eclair and is going to get her up at 7:30 and get her dressed and breakfasted and off to school.

Before we leave, I have to Google-map my parent's address, because, while I do know how to get there and I know the street name, I do not know the house number. I need this because I am certain that when we get there, the suspcious van will be in the driveway, ruffians and thugs will be plundering my mother's closet, and I'm going to have to park up the street and call the police. And when I say I don't know the house number, the cops are all gonna say "You DON'T even KNOW your parents address?" and I'm going to feel like an idiot. Hubby's planning ahead also. He's dressed for the office, but the scenario running through his head has taken the other possibility into account: he's packed up some work clothes and his old tennis shoes, prepared to clean up a flood.

Dad calls two more times before we can get there. Each time giving me a list of what to do in what order. And he has allegedly turned off the alarm from his iphone now.

We get to the house, and call Dad back. 1: Alarm indicator appears off. 2: Opening garage door has not activated klaxon (literaly, I promise. It's a klaxon alarm.). 3: Enter code in keypad to ensure deactivation of alarm. 4: Open the door from garage to house and go check for damages.

It's locked  But how are we going to get in? Dad's super upset, really needs us INSIDE the house to check things out, and he NEVER locks that door, because the garage is so secure.

"Why didn't you hide some spare keys somewhere for this kind of emergency?"

"I did! But I can't remember where."

"Is it even remotely possible that you have left some keys in one of the cars?"

"Not likely. Check anyway."

LOOK!! Keys in the ignition of the sedan! AND it's unlocked! I guess there was no burgular, Dad, or they woulda taken this car.

We unlock the house and enter, being very careful about fingerprints and such, because we're entering a potential crime scene. More good news: the tv and everything is untouched. Hubby prowls about a bit making sure no other doors or any windows are open. I check on Mom's shoes and hats and caftans: all accounted for.

So now, to check for flood.

We go down the horribly windy stairs (somebody shoot the architect that designed this switchback staircase, k?) in total darkness (because he's been working on the unfinished basement and all power down there is off), surprisingly enough without breaking our necks. As instructed by Dad, we check the window well by his soon-to-be-but-not-done-yet office, expecting it to be filled with water and saturating the wall insulation and everything else. No water, but the small sump he installed in the window well is running.

So, no burgular, no flood.

What really happend was this: when it snowed a few days back, it filled up the bucket the sump pump is in and fired off the alarm (which isn't supposed to sound for water, only for burgulars). The alarm is deafening. Completely deafening.

It was 3 am when the alarm went off. It woke up people who live two streets away.

The neighbors tried to call my dad. They went over and pounded on the door. When it was obvious that no one was home, they called the alarm company, who couldn't find my dad's info, and thus could not turn off the alarm. So the neighbors called the police. The police borrowed a ladder and disconnected the klaxon alarm on the outside of the house (acutally, they had little success disconntecting it, and just tried to beat it to death in order to silence it). The damage to the klaxon is what triggered the "BURGULAR" alarm, and set the klaxon off again. And then they ripped it off the house.

Dad told me he's fixing the water error so the alarm won't sound. And he has a plan (which includes notifying me to come turn off the alarm) which should keep such a thing from happening again. I told him that if neighbors have to wait 45 minutes for me to get there and turn it off, he's probably going to need to move instead. People are going to start egging his house.

What I recommend is writing a formal apology to the masses who were so unkindly awakened by the horrible alarm and publishing it in the paper, and make your neighbors some cookies.

And Lots.
Of cookies.

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