Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wake up, wake up, wake up and start the day!

This morning, I woke up and turned off the house alarm as usual but noticed an error code. I checked all the zones in the house to make sure things were as they should be. They were, so I called the alarm company to find out what's going on. The lady I spoke with had me enter a couple of various codes and bypass the "malfunctioning" area, because our communication system was down. (This happens periodically with our system, but usually only for a moment or two, not long enough for us to see a code on the system panel.) This means that if an intruder were to come in, we would hear the siren in the house but the police would not be notified. I think this is acceptable, as I can keep the phone with me and call if necessary. She says the communication system could be because of bad weather in the area. She tells me if the panel is still giving the communication-error code later, I should call a technician. I say thanks, and we hang up.
A few minutes later, once Mike's out of the shower and I have explained to him the error code and the phone call with the alarm company, I go back to bed because I got very little sleep last night. Twenty minutes after I've laid down, Mike comes back to the bedroom to tell me the cops are here. The system sent out a silent alarm. The cops ask me to call the alarm company. I pick up my cell phone to see that the alarm company has called (silly me, I fell into the habit of NOT sleeping with my phone by my bed when I was sleeping days and getting awakened unnecessarily). I call them, and we discover that one of the codes I was told to enter earlier was the silent duress alarm, the "panic" code. The lady on the other end of the line seems to keep using terminology I don't understand, telling me to enter the code the other woman had told me to enter, and then, when I explain that lady had me enter a couple of codes in addition to my own normal code, so I don't know what she means by "the code the other woman gave me," she tries to explain and seems to make things worse. Admittedly, I'm sure my lack of mental acuity is not helping, as I've gotten very few hours of sleep and have now been "awakened" from almost-sleep by the arrival of the cops.
Finally, the woman tells me we can set the alarm normally but that will mean that the alarm bells will sound in our house. I say, basically, "Okay, bear with me, because I just woke up, and I'm trying to understand. I shut my alarm off this morning when I got up and then noticed an error code. I called your company to figure out what was causing the error code, and we bypassed it so WE would hear the alarm in the house if someone broke in but the cops wouldn't be notified because the communication with the system was down. The cops are here now because, apparently, even though the system wasn't communicating, we entered the panic code. What alarms are you talking about now, and if my system is no longer giving me an error code, why do I want to bypass anything?" I heard about two words come out of her mouth, then we get cut off. I don't know if she hung up on me or if the phone cut out.
When I said, "Hello?" and looked at my phone to see if I still had signal (I did, 4 bars strong), the sheriff's deputy said, "Okay, I'll get out of your hair. It looks like you're going to have your hands full with them today."
I am now up for the duration, all thoughts of stealing a couple more hours' sleep gone.
Yup, it's going to be a great day, I can tell.
* Stringham high: The alarm system is communicating effectively again.
* Stringham low: Who needs sleep?
* Stringham super-high: Bite me. (Seriously, it's too early to be super-high about anything.)

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