Friday, September 17, 2010

Not Working

I'm working. That's not the problem. It's the things around me that are the issue.

First, it was the lamp in my room. It's a pole lamp with the main bulb on top, hidden by a nice upward-facing shade, and a reading lamp halfway up the pole, which I keep turned off. The main bulb has been getting dimmer, and I figured that just meant it was close to burning out. That seems to be the way those fluorescent twisty bulbs work. Then, earlier this week, the bulb went out.

No problem. I turned on the reading lamp and made the darkness flee again. But that only lasted about 20 minutes, and then that bulb went black.

So I went outside my room and flipped on the hallway light switch, but nothing happened. I deduced that the circuit breaker must have been tripped. At the box, none of the switches had tripped, not even the one marked "Bedroom lights & outlets." Hmmm... The outlets were working, just not the lights. I gave up and went to bed.

The next morning I put a new bulb in the top socket (it was incandescent, not fluorescent) and tried again. Nothing. Put the old bulb back in and went to work.

After work, when I came home, out of habit I flipped on the light switch in my room. The light came on. I checked the light in the hallway. It was on too. Much happiness!

I ran some errands (turned the lights off when I left), came back, and my lamp was dark again. Hallway too. Later, the lights worked again and have ever since.

Meanwhile, we have an alarm system in the house. Over a month ago, it woke us up in the middle of the night with the slow beeping that tells us the battery is running out of steam. Unfortunately, the battery is in the attic, and neither one of us wants to go up there. Creepy things like spiders probably live up in the attic. Uh-uh. No thanks. Not me. No sir.

But after beeping at us now and then over the course of a week or so, it must have figured we knew already, and it hasn't done that anymore. Instead, this week it decided that it wasn't going to let us set the alarm. It tells us when we open a door (beep, beep, beep), but it's as though the thing doesn't have the strength to go on patrol.

My roommate scheduled the alarm company to come out and check things out, but then the alarm started working again. When it let us set the alarm when we left the house and unset it when we came back home, she canceled the appointment, because it wasn't worth spending the money for something that was working.

Yesterday morning she left for a long weekend visiting family. Shortly after her departure, I tried setting the alarm when I was heading to work, but it wouldn't go into alarm mode. Great! No alarm and no appointment.

Last night before bed, I tried again, and this time it worked just fine. I was protected from bad guys for the night.

Until 4:00 am, when a scary loud beeping woke me up. I punched the "I'm home and everything's fine" code, but it wasn't paying any attention to me at all. It just kept beeping while I tried all kinds of combinations of setting the alarm then disarming.

Then after about five or ten endless minutes, it stopped. I went back to bed. I couldn't get to sleep. I finally got up and turned on my computer.

It started beeping again at 4:30 am. I punched buttons again, hoping to shut it off, and then I tried calling the alarm company, but it said it was the customer service number, so I hung up. And then the beeping stopped.

Back to bed. Try to sleep. Start to doze off. Beeping again at 5:00.

This time I called the alarm company and finished listening to the message. It said to hit '4' if it's an emergency. It was for me, so I hit '4.' After giving the secret password and other locater info, I explained to the guy what was happening. He had me try stuff, while the beeping continued, but nothing worked. Then he said he'd have a Tech guy call me.

The beeping stopped by itself again, and a while later a very sleepy-sounding Tech guy called. After I described what had happened, he said that the only fix was to find the main box where the battery is, remove the battery, and unplug the alarm system. Oh. The attic. No. I thanked him, we hung up, and I went back to bed. It beeped at 5:30.

This time, I tried pushing buttons again. No dice. Then I thought of smothering the thing. I grabbed a big, fluffy throw blanket from my room and held it over the buttons in a homicidal embrace. The sound was muffled. Bingo!

I got a broom from the garage and propped up the blanket on the end of the handle, but the broom wanted to slide on the floor. A kitchen chair shoved against the broom kept it and the blanket in place, and I went to bed in peace. I dreamed that my roommate came home, and I told her what happened with the alarm, so she went out to the garage to turn off the circuit breaker to the alarm system, but I noticed my alarm clock start flashing from losing power and having it returned, and I thought that I should get up and reset my clock so I wouldn't be late for work, but I slept...

My alarm clock went off, and I looked at it, and it said 6:06. I thought it would say sometime after midnight from my roommate having flipped the power off... Oh... It was really my roommate's clock going off, because she must have accidentally turned it back on before she left for the airport yesterday. I got up to turn it off and realized the house alarm hadn't beeped at 6:00. So I pulled the blanket away, and it let me disarm it to say I was happily at home and not in danger. Then I went back to bed for another half hour until my clock woke me up to get ready for work.

My lamp and the hallway light were still working and the alarm system was still silent when I left the house this morning.

3 comments:

Malott said...

SP,

You live in one screwy house!

SkyePuppy said...

Chris,

Sometimes I think my purpose in life is to help other people feel better about the situation they're living in: "It's bad, but at least it's not like SkyePuppy!"

Delta said...

Too bad you guys can't borrow Bekah's dad - or that Malott won't drive right out there and face those attic spiders for you..(chuckle)