I could have named this post many things.....
'How the number 4497 saved my life'
'Things not to attempt at 2.30am'
'Ways to make your neighbours hate you'
It was the dead of the night, and all in the land were sleeping. Except for one. Awakened by a strange intermittent beeping noise, he lay and listened. Realising that every few minutes he could hear the noise again.
So he gently woke up the girl sleeping by his side with a quiet 'Meg, Meg' in her ear. Drowsily arising out of a deep, deep sleep she tried to ignore the sound. But it came again. And so with an inward sigh, she replied with a whisper 'what is it?'
'The alarm is making that funny intermittent beeping noise outside Mylo's room that it's done in the past'
She checks the time. It's 2.40am. She groans and flops back on the bed as she's only been asleep for 3 hours. But then drags herself out of bed to go downstairs and look for the instructions she knows are in the 'Household Information' box in the spare room wardrobe.
She turns on the light in the spare room and shields her eyes, wincing at the harsh brightness of it. She spends the next few minutes searching through piles of booklets and papers until she finds what she was looking for, and takes it over to the offending square box on the wall.
This is not the first time she has had to make this journey at this time of the night for the same reason. Usually it has been as a result of a telephone line fault or power cut that the system has started beeping an intermittent beep, not loud, but enough to cut through the still of the night and disturb their sleep. And every other time, with a couple of pushes of the right buttons in the right order, quiet has returned once more.
But not this time. Was she simply too tired to see straight? Yes. In hindsight, did she fully read the paragraph of instructions before starting to push the buttons? Um, quite honestly no. And so she is absolutely horrified to suddenly see these words flashing in red:
By this stage, hearing the panicked sound of a few more buttons being pushed, he comes downstairs to see if he can be of assistance. And sees the terrified look in her eyes as she hisses at him:
'Whatever you do, don't move!'
And................cue......the loudest most deafening and earsplitting noise you could ever imagine....
Her heart is pounding and her throat is dry. She has absolutely no idea what to do next. She knows that in the five years she has been living in this house they have never once set the alarm so they have NO idea what the pin code is. It is a frightening thought. How on earth will they stop it?
She tries to think. But thinking straight is near impossible over the terrific din. She runs to the kitchen and starts flicking through the yellow pages, not really knowing who or what she is even looking for. Something, anything to make this godforsaken noise go away. The thought of her children sound asleep in bed awakening to such a terrible sound is making her shake like a leaf. Suddenly a piece of paper with the security company details is thrust under her nose. She thanks him. With trembling hands she dials an 0800 number, praying, hoping. Over the sound of the screeching siren, it takes several attempts including a desperate call to 111 in the middle of it all to register that there is no dial tone. It is only then that the penny drops and she realises that the alarm is connected to the phone line and this is why she cannot make a call. She shouts to him to run upstairs and get her iPhone. He returns, and she tries the 0800 number once more.
'Welcome to Signature Security systems. If you are calling about a recent alarm event, press 1'
She jabs at the ONE button on the keypad with all her might. The relief at hearing a human voice come on the line is immediate although she can barely get the words out to explain what is happening, whilst at the same time imagining it must be blatently obvious to the speaker on the other end who no doubt can hear the racket.
'Please help me, I need to find a way to turn this alarm off. We have never used it and don't know the pincode so we have no idea how to disarm it. Please, my children are in bed, please help me!' she pleads.
Calmly the lady runs through some options, before suggesting she tries an administrator code which the technician would have set up the system with upon installing many years ago. Meanwhile, he, just in t-shirt and boxers has had the foresight to drag a dining room chair directly underneath the siren on the ceiling and is standing on tip-toes with a large pillow over the siren trying to muffle as much of the noise as possible. It does help, ever so slightly.
She enters in the 4-digit code 4497 and then the Away button. Nothing. Desperately, she tries again. The sound continues to blast through the house. The lady suggests trying again but this time 4497 and then Enter . Amazingly, this time the sound stops. The silence is a most welcome sound. She is now not even sure exactly which combination it was that worked, but feels like collapsing in a heap on the ground her legs are so weak. Her throat feels like the middle of the Gobi desert, and she is shaking so hard she can barely get a glass of water to her lips to help it. She thanks the lady profusely, and arranges to speak to the service department on Monday to either get a new pincode or get the &%$#*& alarm disconnected fully once and for all.
He goes into Noah's room. He calms him, assuring him that all is OK that there is no fire in the house nor is the house about to blow up as was the boy's concern.
Amazingly, miraculously, there is not a sound from the littlest's room, and there won't be until the morning. Despite the siren going off right outside his room for ten minutes at 120 decibels, he hasn't even stirred. An absolute miracle. And one they so desperately needed on this night.
He and she stumble into each other's arms, too relieved to even speak. They turn off all the lights on around the house and go back upstairs, where they lie in bed, with adrenalin still coursing through their veins, too wired to sleep, too traumatised to even relax for what seems like the longest while.
She lies awake thinking on the events of the night and comes to some conclusions:
1. They should have done something to properly sort out the alarm years ago
2. It really is impossible to think or act normally with that kind of hellish screeching going on
3. Ten minutes might as well be an eternity
4. She clearly should not give up her day job to consider becoming a bank robber, or a secret spy who could easily carry out their job despite that earsplitting noise going off all around
5. Small children have an uncanny ability to sleep through the darndest of things...and so she thanks the Lord there and then for this ability
6. She should (and immediately does) apologise to Him for uttering that word that rhymes with 'duck' and 'truck' several times over the course of the whole nightmarish episode
7. She is going to find it very hard to look her neighbours in the eye for the next few days
8. They are both going to be very tired come the morning
9. Her ears are still ringing as if she's been at a rock concert these past few hours
9. She is probably (no definitely) going to have to blog about this!