Sleeping Alone in My House

My husband was out of town on short notice. I wasn’t planning to sleep alone that night, wasn’t planning to be paranoid about every crevace, misplaced object, or closed door in a 3,000 square foot radius. As soon as I got inside from dropping him off at 11pm, I slammed the door, bolted the lock, and hit the ‘instant’ button on the ADT Home Security System.

As an aside, everyone in town knows I have this system. Once for nearly a week straight, I set it off opening the door every morning at 7am, forgetting its piercing accuracy. What’s worse, the alarm horn actually faces out on the side of the house so our neighbors hear it about 5x louder than we ever could inside.

It was midnight. I wasn’t messing around downstairs in front of all of the black, vacant windows that have yet to be covered by window trimmings. I filled up a glass of water, put the birds away, shut down the lights and scampered up to my bedroom, where I promptly locked the door just for good measure.

At 12:45am, I awoke to a loud chirp. Ten seconds, another chirp. It was loud, reverberating up the stairs from somewhere in the dark abyss. Of course, I only know this because I put my ear to the door without opening it. It must be the smoke detector needing a new battery. Of all times.

I tried with all my might to let it go. No way was I going to be lured into the perfect bait and switch murder scene. I’d read about these types of things. But after about ten minutes, I decided I would rather die than continue to listen to that noise. I called my husband on the phone for moral support and crept down the stairs. I turned all the lights on (what screams “take me now!” more than that?) Then, I moved about six inches at a time until I was under the smoke detector. I heard the shrill chirp again, but it wasn’t coming from that.

I finally made my way to the living room, framed perfectly by two ten-foot wide uncovered windows that stared into our forest-like backyard, revealing our innards to those who could be lurking in the dark. To my horror, the ADT system was flashing red lights. As I approached closer, the laser of red was blinking rapidly on “Trouble.”

It was there that I almost threw up. I backed myself into the skinny wall space separating the windows, as if I could just disappear. Still on the line, my husband asked if everything was okay.

“Yes,” I replied unsteadily. In theory, it was a great idea. To pretend to be okay so that the intruder inside of my house thinks I’m not onto him. In reality, I sounded like a coward and had pinned my own self against the wall. After some small conversation, I got off the phone and called our realtor.

Yes, nearly one in the morning and my refuge is the woman who sold me this house. I wake her and her husband up without proper reasoning. She asks if I can find the manual. I can. I scan the list of reasons for ‘Trouble’ to find that there are 8. Seven of them indicate signal issues or electrical problems. One indicates someone tampered with it or cut the cord. I walked to the front of the house to look out the front door. Eerily, the ADT warning sign is face-down in the front yard. I’ve decided it’s #8.

That’s it. I called ADT in hysterics. She asks me to go to the power source and reset it…it could have been as a result of the storm. The problem is, the outlet was outside and under the crawl space of the house. No way would I be facing the end by being baited outside. She instructed me on how to stop the chirping, then couldn’t be of more assistance if I wasn’t by the outlet.

I didn’t sleep a wink. At 7:30am, I went downstairs, grabbed the first thing I could test in the outdoor outlet (the toaster), only to find that yes, there had only been an electrical shortage.

Now, I’m readying my pen to write a nice note to the Product Development Team at ADT.

Dear safeguards, what about the word “trouble” makes me think your device is at fault? Why not “error” or “signal issue?” Trouble communicates that someone is inside of my house. Trouble says I better have a machete. Trouble says my alarm system is working and now is your last moment to catch a free breath. Trouble says good luck fool.

Really, it’s just rude.

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