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A couple of nights ago, we spent some quality time with two of our township’s finest….at 1:40 in the morning. Their arrival was not wholly unexpected, as I’d dialed 9-1-1 about five minutes earlier. Why? Our home security alarm went off, for the first time (at night) in the five years that we have lived in this house. Again, you’re probably saying “Why?”, as in “Why did YOU have to call the police when the alarm went off? Don’t the folks at ADT/Sentry/Briggs do that for you?”

No, no they don’t. Not when you have a cheap system that we installed ourselves — which is unmonitored. It consists of four wireless motion sensors that we’ve positioned across the main halls on the first floor. When the “fan” of beams from one of them is broken, a receiver upstairs emits an alarm. It’s a lot like (it totally IS what) some stores have — that CHIME when someone comes in. And, we DID select the angriest, loudest, “beat it punk!” CHIME that it could produce….ermm, sort of like an extra-loud alarm clock. Impressive, I know.

The receiver is outside the master bedroom, and we only turn it on when we’re all home and in bed for the night. Weak? Maybe. But, we decided that our main concern wasn’t having the TV stolen while we’re all out to dinner. It was having the guy that stole our TV come on up at 1:30 in the morning to see if anything else worth stealing was upstairs.

Back to 1:25 a.m. Thursday…about 10 seconds BEFORE the alarm went off, and………wait for it…….okay GO!

“What the hell is that?” (Scott)

“It’s the house alarm” (Me)

“The WHAT?” (Scott)

At this point, I’m already up, heading for the door to check on the kids and turn on the foyer light from upstairs. Did I really think we had an intruder? Not really. I totally expected to see one of the kids frozen on the stairs (and probably pissing themselves, for that matter). Only, they weren’t. So, I went into each of their rooms — where they were sound asleep.

By now, Scott had joined me in the hall, and I asked him, “Do you think we should call the police?”

“I don’t know.”

“Are YOU going downstairs to look around?”

“Um, NO.”

Okaaayyy. I dialed 9-1-1 and spent ten minutes on the phone trying to explain how our homeowners-special alarm worked and why we felt that the fact that it went off at 1:25 a.m. was worth looking into. The police were already on their way, of course, but the dispatcher continued with the small talk…

“So, do you have any pets? Ah, a dog. Did the dog bark at all? No? How big is the dog? 60 pounds? Hmmmm.”

I felt like I was losing credibility with every question. In a few minutes, the cops knocked on the front door, Bailey started barking like a madman, my friend the dispatcher signed off, and Scott and I went downstairs to meet the officers.

In keeping with what television would have you expect, we got a tall, friendly, goofy cop and his partner, a younger, height-challenged, earnest, takes-himself-too-seriously cop.

Officer Garrett: (to Bailey) “This must be Killer! Ha ha..”

Officer Zmed: “Full name, please, ma’am.” (into his walkie talkie) “We’ve got a 431, over”

They told us that nothing looked unusual outside of the house. Officer Garrett “tested” the sensors and pet the dog while Officer Zmed took notes furiously…and they left.

By now, the kids were up and joined us in the kitchen..just in time for this exchange…

“I’m heading back to bed. I’ll replace the batteries in those sensors tomorrow. Obviously nobody broke into the house. Heh heh” (Me)

“Unless they were hiding in the house BEFORE we turned the alarm on……” (Scott)

Oh no, you DID NOT just say that, and in front of the kids, to boot. Thanks “Mr. It-COULD-happen-you-know.” And I’M the “dramatic” one. Obviously no one is is going back to sleep NOW.

And we didn’t – until we looked in every closet and under every bed. The kids helped –they’re pretty unflappable. In fact, Will caught my eye and totally rolled his, while we “cleared” each room.

I almost asked Scott –  If you actually think someone might be in the house, why we did we let the police leave, and why are we letting the 9-year-olds check the closets? But I didn’t…I just wanted to go to bed..which we finally did — after 2:30.

At least the kids had an “exciting” story for school Friday…