What it means to be alarmed

I wrote this on Sunday night, May 4th but didn’t post until today, because I didn’t want to announce to the world that my door was unlocked. But a guy came today while I was away and fixed it, and it was such an easy job that he did it for free. He said it took five minutes. Of course, he told me about another issue I have that he said will take $700 to fix. So there’s that.

What a crazy weekend. I kind of need a weekend to recover from my weekend. I do not mean this in a good way, but it wasn’t horrible, either. Just frustrating and exhausting.

You may have heard about the wall collapse this week in Baltimore, by which I mean to demonstrate that it rained really, really hard. So when I got there on Friday, I was not shocked, but very dismayed, to find my basement flooded. Now, it has never flooded before, but there is a sump pump, so I imagined it was possible. But the water was nowhere near the sump pump, rather it pooled in the very center of the basement, a few mm high, and, of course, enveloping several cardboard boxes I had stupidly placed there.

On North’s advice, I bought a mop on Saturday evening. The most absorbent mop that Lowe’s sells. And I proceeded to spend an hour sopping up two bucketfuls of gross dirty water. I felt somewhat mollified. But the place still smelled like water had been standing in an unventilated room for several days. So I opened the side door to let in some air. I have to say that it’s been over a year since I opened this door. I sometimes forget it exists. And in that time, I guess it warped or something, so that first off, the alarm sensor popped off and went flying. And second, once I had the door open, it would not close again. The lock no longer lined up with the strike plate. So, it’s a Saturday night, the next day is Sunday, and the day after that I will not be there. For five days.

I checked Angie’s List but couldn’t find a handyperson who would come on a Sunday and so I closed the door as far as it would go and repaired the sensor and put it back up. I watched it carefully over the next day and the alarm system never registered an event where the door was open. So at least if the door was open, it didn’t look open, and the sensors lined up so that if someone did open it, I could leave the alarm set and it would go off. Or so I thought.

In the meantime, I spent an hour putting together a piece from Ikea which was (shocking!) impossible to figure out. When I finally had it done and folded it into position, the hinges snapped and broke. It was a fabulous evening.

Sunday afternoon, I locked up, turned on the alarm, and headed for the train station. When I arrived, I had a few minutes so I checked my phone and there were six emails with varying degrees of headers about “Pending Alarms” and “ALARM” and “Break-In” and “Law Enforcement Dispatched”. I nearly had a panic attack in the middle of Penn Station. I managed to get the app open and shut off the alarm and then I called them to Un-Dispatch Law Enforcement. I mean, maybe someone had broken in but more likely, the wind had blown the door a little and separated the sensors. But every time I called, I’d get disconnected three seconds after they had established my identity. And then they called the train.

I ran down to the track, still on the phone, and reached someone. But she said my password was wrong so she couldn’t give me any information or stop the police from coming. I got disconnected and called back. I tried several more of my usual passwords but none worked. Finally, while on the train and settled into a seat, I reached someone and the first passcode had been correct! Maybe the first person misheard me but really, if your password is one digit off and you have a frantic woman saying, “please don’t send the police to my house and I am about to get on a train and lose the connection,” couldn’t you do something?

So I am on the train and I have walked through three cars because the train is PACKED and I am frantically trying to get the woman to cancel the police and I am sitting in the first seat I see and the conductor comes over and starts yelling at me that it is the quiet car. So, besides everything else, I am THAT PERSON shouting into their cellphone, oblivious that it is the quiet car. I went to the next car and they called off the police.

Later I discovered that the very first email they had sent had a link to do all this without the code. Ugh.

In the meantime, my alarm is off, my door is open, and a blaring alarm probably irritated my entire neighborhood for ten minutes. On the plus side, it should be easy to get the repairman in.



Update on May 13th:
The door is fixed, the sensor on the door was deactivated so that I could turn the alarm back on, a new sensor is on its way, my next door neighbors turned out to have been away and so never heard a thing, the item has been returned to Ikea, and I had another weekend, including my first Orioles game of the season. Phew.

One thought on “What it means to be alarmed

  1. Home ownership is always an adventure… but at least now you have a mop for the basement. Hopefully it won’t be needed again anytime soon.

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