I know I do.
What could possibly be the reason that we have had not one, but multiple visits from the police, you might ask? Our home security alarm.
I wish I could say that it's new and we're still adjusting to the thing, but it's now been in for over three years, and thankfully, it's not Tom and I who are setting it off anymore. It's everyone else we love, like the college kid from church we hired to trim the shrubs while we were away, and who, being the son of very close friends, thought he'd go in the house and rest from the heat, but alas, the alarm was set and. . . well, you know the rest.
The most recent alarm drama occurred this weekend. It was a true comedy of errors. Tom and I were attending a church conference. I had Tom place my purse on a pew in the chapel to save our seats while he visited with friends and I cleaned up the church kitchen from helping host a dinner.
Tom comes rushing down the hall. "I just got a call from the neighbors. The alarm is going off!"
I remembered at this moment that I had given the okey dokey for our son-in-law to borrow a video but I had forgotten that we had set the alarm. Did he know the code? I wasn't sure, but I was assuming he did not. "It's our SIL," I confess.
"Are you sure it's him? Why didn't he turn the alarm off?"
"I don't think he knows the code. Call him and give it to him."
"I've tried dialling his phone. No one is answering. What are we going to do? I don't know our alarm company's number to report that it's a false alarm, and now the police have been dispatched!"
This is very disconcerting on many levels. First, our old alarm monitoring company who bought our contract from our first monitoring company had recently sold our contract to a new outfit whose name I barely remembered, let alone having any knowledge of their number. Darn capitalism!
Secondly, I began to run a mental inventory of the state of the house as I closed the door. I groaned inwardly at the thought of the police busting into my house and finding my unmentionables in the bathroom, or their conversation when they noticed Christmas lights still strung around the doorways. I knew in my haste to get my dish to the church on time I had left cupboards ajar, and a counter filled with tax papers. The laundry room looked as if my dryer had vomited, and the bedroom was a 911 call all its own.
Even more upsetting to me was the view of my normally calm husband unravelling before my eyes.
"Maybe he called your phone," suggests Tom.
I look for my phone but it's . . . oh yeah. It's in the chapel holding a front row seat for me for the conference that has now commenced.
"Call the police," I answer in the most rational voice I can muster considering the fact that a small crowd of church acquaintances are now apprised of our situation.
"Which ones? Who has jurisdiction? The State police? The county sheriff?"
Clearly, Tom's "roll-with-it" gene has been maxed out. "Give me your phone."
I snatch it and call the state police. A phone menu offering me several unpalatable choices begins.
"Press one if you are reporting an actual emergency. Press two if you are reporting a nonemergency situation and are requesting a call back. . . "
I begin a mental struggle over whether our alarm going off qualifies as an actual emergency. I decide that since a trooper is on his way to my house, we are a red alert emergency. I press one and get a female officer who asks for my address and informs us that we need to be transferred to the Sheriff's Department.
A click and a pause and we are connected.
I blurt out the situation and all my pertinent info and the officer commences a verbal pat-down to determine if I am indeed, Laurie Lewis. Satisfied that I am the crazy lady (who has prompted three other emergency 911 calls for a variety of reasons we will not go into at this time), he lets me know it is too late to call the officers off. They are at our house and entering the premises. Tom races back to defend hearth and home.
After determining that there are no thieves, murderers, or arsonists at our home, the officers exit the building. When I finally arrive back at home I survey the embarrassing mess the officers walked in to. Yes, it was as awful as I feared. Not only will we be slapped with a hefty fee for the false alarm and visit, I assume we will be the talk of the barracks for weeks.
I remember my mother telling me to wear clean underwear in case I got hit by a car. I never knew exactly who would care about that laundry detail if my body was bloodied and mangled on the pavement, but I do now. I would know. Likewise, I'll never be able to leave the house a mess again without asking myself this little question: Is this house prepared to host a possible police raid?
Think about it. You'll thank me. And yes, this will end up in a chapter someday.