A D T’what?

I’ve been consumed with safety for the last few months. Well really, for a couple of years now. Well, really, truly, for all of my life, but I’m trying not to sound like a crazy person. What I mean by “consumed by safety” is that I walk around in a constant state of panic. I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop. For something horrible to happen. I’m anxious. Yeah, Patsy knows. We’ve discussed where it comes from. Hint: It stems from my childhood. Duh. But this constant state of panic and anxiety makes me stay up all night sometimes, listening, waiting, for someone to break into my house. Why? To steal all my jewels and millions of dollars I keep in my safe? Uh, no. The best you’d get from me is a couple of Macs and a Playstation 4. Are those worth anything anymore? More pointedly, I am always worried that someone will try to break in less to rob us, and more to harm us. To harm my child. That’s what it boils down to. Someone coming for my child. It’s a nasty little idea that popped up when I was about six months pregnant and has never left. Parenting, shit we are nuts. What if someone harms my child? And that’s how we came to have a security system for the very first time this week.

Listen, I know it sounds bonkers. As I stated before, I have nothing much of value in my home, and if you want to break in and steal my Mac, okay cool, you can have it, you obviously need it more than me. But if you want to mess with my kid or my dog, well now you have another layer to get through. This loud, annoying, alarm that calls the police for me so I don’t have to. (One less thing to worry about in a time of panic.) I know it is a loud alarm because it has been accidently set off not two times, but three times in the last 24-hours. It’s a learning process, y’all.

Coming from a super poor home, I didn’t even know security alarms existed for most of my childhood. In fact, I recall being invited to a sleepover in middle school and walking into the door of my friend’s house as a chime went off. I looked around all confused and her super nice mom said, “Oh, it’s just the alarm. It chimes whenever the door opens.” My mind was actually fucking blown. I went home the next day and asked my mom if we could get an alarm system and she laughed a lot. Looking back, we were the ones living in a neighborhood that could benefit from an alarm, not my friend. Isn’t that how it always is?

Because of this, and because we are a house with guns (yes, we have guns, let’s not go into that today) and my husband appears to be afraid of no one, no person, animal, monster, or imaginary intruder, I have never really felt called to get an alarm system, until we moved into a house that had one already in place and my husband started traveling for work.

We’ve been in this house for almost a year. In fact, it will be one year on April 1st. And we are renters, least I remind you. Never knowing where we will go next calls us to stay renters, because we don’t want to fuck with buying and selling. Plus, if we ever find ourselves in a community we don’t care too much for (which we have) we just move. It’s not as big a deal when you are renting. The good thing is, this house comes with a security system already installed and paid for. In fact, it’s a really good system. All uppity and shit. Glass breaks, door chimes, automations, the whole nine yards. But because I didn’t know how any of it worked it scared me and I dragged my feet for the last ten months on getting it set up. Until I literally couldn’t take it anymore.

So on Monday I spent three hours with a guy named Adam. Real cool dude. He came in, tested a bunch of stuff, put new batteries in things, moved a couple of “sensors” for us, and had us up and running in no time. He is from ADT, and no this is not an ad for ADT, who do you think I am, J-Lo? In fact, we chose ADT because as I said, IT WAS ALREADY HERE. So we didn’t have to pay for shit. Seriously. I talked them down to a half-price monthly payment and no fees for Adam to come out. I mean, it took six solid months of saying no to them on the phone, but they finally came around to my way of seeing things. Side note: NEVER pay the asking price for home security. They need you way more than you need them. It’s one of those negotiable things. Just keep at it, and remember to low-ball them first. I said I wouldn’t pay more than $25/month when in reality my magic number was $40/month. I got it for $38/month. And I have learned so much from talking to like five different people when I call. Like you CAN get equipment fees waived, as well as when people come to your house to do something, never pay for that shit. And oh, if you have been with them for a year call and say you want a lower price. They’ll give it to you.

So, what have we learned today. Well, if you are messing around with the system and you hit “Fire” they go ahead and dispatch the fire department BEFORE they call to alert you. So when ADT pops up on your phone, you know, answer it, even if you did think you were in “test mode” still. They were very nice, but they were all, “Umm, so do you want me to cancel the firetruck headed to your house?” Uh, yeah, yep. Thanks.

Also, your fifth grader playing the trumpet sets off the glass breaker alarms. And when that happens you only have 15 seconds to turn it off. Huh. Who knew?

Now go forth and get secured. Or not. Do whatever is right for you.

Stay safe out there.

M.

One Time at Band Camp…

Jackson spent yesterday morning at a mini band camp at the local high school. His elementary band was invited to have a practice with the award-winning, local band and obviously we jumped at the chance. Jackson and his friend were teamed up with a high school trumpet player, while Jackson’s band instructor led a practice. There were awesome big kids walking around teaching them about band etiquette, sharing stories about how the band has helped them in their life, and spreading the importance of learning an instrument. Jackson thought we dropped him off and left, but we secretly stayed behind for a bit to watch the beginning of practice.

Then Jerimiah and I walked across the street to our little coffee shop and had some morning brew. It was the same coffee shop we sat in about a year ago, with a list of houses to see, and discussed how nice the high school across the street was, wondering how many students were there (there’s about 2000) and whether they were a STEM school (they are). We wondered, a couple tables down from where we sat yesterday, if Jackson would fit into this community. If he’d learn and grow here. If we all would.

An hour later we walked back over and watched our son do a concert with his classmates, and new “big kid” mentors. Then we stuck around afterward and watched as the high school band practiced. He smiled as he watched the kids joke around with each other. He saw the camaraderie, the fun, and then the seriousness of what it means to be in a real band. Then he said he might want to play the tuba and we just shook our heads in hilarity. Though yeah, son, play the tuba if you want to, you’d be great!

It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon in a community that’s still new to us, yet becoming more and more familiar every day.

M.