As you go through life, there are some "firsts" you want to remember forever, so you can repeatedly bring them up and reminisce about them fondly over the years. Your first boyfriend or girlfriend, your first paycheck, your baby's first smile--these are special and should be treasured. However, there are other "firsts" you just want to sweep into the closet immediately and bury, never to be thought of or mentioned...ever, ever again. (Ahem...of course I mean "after chronicling them for posterity in blogdom", or whatever...) I'm talking about a random, this-just-popped-into-my-head example that has no relevance to me, personally, whatsoever--such as the first time that a representative of...law enforcement...pays a visit to your new home. (Sigh...yeah, this is a good one, alright...and believe it or not the teenager wasn't even to blame...)
You see, we moved into this house almost 2 weeks ago, and ever since the very first night, the control panel for the alarm system, which is situated on the wall directly across from where I sleep, has been bugging me. It emits this annoying bright green glow 24/7, effectively lighting up the entire room at night and ruining my dreams of a perfectly dark, cave-like snoozing environment. So last night, I'd finally had enough. I approached the box with the intention of finding a way to cancel the background light feature; it would be perfectly safe, I figured, considering that the previous owners had canceled the service contract when they moved, and therefore the electronics would be completely inert. Ha! I had experimentally pushed no more than 2 or 3 buttons when something ominous happened: the red light marked "Armed" began blinking...and counting down. "Crud crud CRUD!" were my approximate (G-rated for sensitive readers) thoughts as I stared, panic-stricken, at the stupid device. But all might yet be well, I reasoned. Because we don't subscribe to a monitoring plan, after the warning period, it will just turn itself right back off, yeah?
Uh-huh...and that's just about the moment when the piercing siren began to wail. I swear, it sounded like we were under an aerial attack, centered on our property. AWESOME...yay, me. Springing into action, Husband and I quickly located the instruction manuals left by the former homeowners...which helpfully informed us that the only way to silence the damn thing was to input "the code". Well, that's just freakin' dandy, as they didn't happen to write down anything that resembled a "shut-the-hell-up code" in the book. But, we're intelligent people with problem-solving skills...so we called the phone number on the sticker. (You know, the one that warns potential criminals to stay away, as this residence is protected by an alarm--yeah, that'll be hilarious in just a second...) I'd like to say that assistance was immediate and decisive, and the situation resolved itself right then and there. Except that what we got was a recorded message that politely wished us a happy holiday...and suggested we call back Monday to speak to someone. What the HECK? (And can I just say, "Secure-Tek", my ass! Heaven forbid there had been an actual burglar...that they would be pleased to address...during scheduled working hours...but what a relief to be defended from those pesky...inhabitants...who might be mucking about in their OWN HOUSE...sheesh...)
Now we were officially entering full-blown hysteria, as we imagined the disturbance we were unintentionally causing the entire block at 10:30 in the evening. (Gulp...sorry, new neighbors! I promise I'll get started on some yummy "forgive me" cupcakes...as soon as this infernal racket is over...) And then, a new noise punctuated the proceedings: the cheerful jingle of the doorbell. Why, hello, Officer W...we can explain! Meanwhile, Husband had managed to contact a real, live person...who was utterly unable to help him...but provided various OTHER telephone contact numbers to try. Oy. Several of the options were located in New York. Most of them yielded either an "out-of-service" automated message, or were answered by a groggy "Hello?" at what could only be assumed to be a person's private residence rather than a corporate office. Everyone we spoke to seemed confused and had no advice whatsoever to offer. Aaaannnnnd, the shrieking above our heads continued, unabated, adding to the stress of the entire situation.
Officer W, though--he was a G-E-M. He maintained a demeanor of calm, friendliness, and good-humor throughout this ordeal. In the end, he helped us carry out the only course of action that made sense...we dismantled the idiotic thing to force it to cease and desist with the cacophony, already. Yep, boxes removed from the walls, wires disconnected, battery backup yanked, fuses pulled. It was total destruction...and it was finally QUIET. Officer W, his duty admirably done, bid us an amused "Welcome to town" and took his leave (after we apologized oh, about 350 times). And I got to slumber without the obnoxious radioactive aura permeating my bedroom, so that's a plus, right? And...um...we didn't get written up for a noise violation? I'm sure this will be a side-splittingly funny story in WestEnders family lore someday. ("Hey, remember when the police came to our house, and it was MOM'S fault? Good times...") But for now, I've got some serious sucking up to do, up and down our peaceful little street...better get baking...