Weirdest summer ever

By Mir
June 29, 2016

I had grand plans for this summer. I did. This is the Last Summer, our last chance to operate as a family unit of 4 (if you believe the books with titles like Letting Your College Freshman Go and Once They Leave They’re Gone; Whoops! Just Kidding! They’re Back and Still Ungrateful and It’s Perfectly Normal: Why Your Child Becomes an Asshole Before Moving Out) and Do Things.

Except. Well, hey, we’re Doing Things. Many things. ALL THE THINGS! Just… not so much as a family unit, it seems. Everyone’s working. None of our schedules seem to sync up. When we finally have a day when no one has to go do anything, we retreat to separate corners of the house, doing our own things. (For me: quietly, without talking to other humans. For the kids: sometimes talking to their friends, but definitely not to us parents.) Eventually Otto coaxes the rest of us out with promises of ice cream, but it’s not exactly the picture of family togetherness ’round here at the moment, is my point.

Otto was all “We can do it! We can take a vacation! Let me just look at the calendar!” And the only time he could come up with was, like, 36 hours in-between two other things. He insisted that would be great. Um. Maybe not?

I’m sure everything is really great and fantastic, actually, I am just cranky because I’m tired.

Last night was an episode of How Not To Get Some Sleep. All it needed was a canned laugh track and it could’ve been a sitcom episode.

FIRST we stayed up waiting for Chickadee to get home from work, because we are terrible parents who do things like that because we’re the worst. She came home in a horrible mood, so that made it extra-rewarding. There is nothing I like better before bed than being spoken to like I was just scraped off the bottom of your shoe. It’s the best!

SECOND I then had trouble falling asleep because that is my new favorite party trick, lying awake for an hour or more after both Otto and Duncan have commenced snoring in unison on either side of me.

THIRD I woke up not too long after I fell asleep due to an odd, intermittent beeping which I was half-way convinced was some weird dream I was having. But then Otto woke up, too, and we both heard it at the same time, so at least neither of us was going crazy (or we were going crazy together). When we got our alarm system installed, we also got integrated smoke detectors. You know how your smoke detector will chirp when the battery is dying? Apparently with integrated ones your alarm keypad will BING, instead! HOW CONVENIENT! Especially in the middle of the night. While Otto tried to figure out what magic combination of buttons to push to quiet the keypad, Duncan decided it was time for breakfast. It was about 2:15 a.m. at this point, so NO NO DUMMY GO TO BED, but he was pretty hopeful.

FOURTH was just as we’d coaxed Duncan back into bed and were trying to get back to sleep, ourselves, a house alarm started going off in our neighborhood. The siren blared. And blared. And blared some more. Otto went outside to investigate, even (me: WHAT IF THERE IS A SCARY BURGLAR OUT THERE? him: … seriously?), because it went on for so long. Finally we called the police, but not 911, you understand, just the non-emergency number because we are exceedingly polite at 2:40 in the morning and also we weren’t sure if an alarm that won’t shut up is really an emergency.

So FIFTH and FINALLY: The very annoyed lady on the phone asked where we lived and I told her, and she said that “officers are already on the scene.” By this time the alarm had been going for a LONG time and I was pretty tired, so I asked if they’d be silencing the siren any time soon, and she said, “Ma’am, the homeowners have to do that. The police can’t do that.” I said that I understood, but given how long it had been going off, perhaps the homeowners were not home…? What then? With a giant sigh of annoyance, she barked, “MA’AM, THE POLICE DO NOT HAVE THE CODE.” Then she hung up on me. So. Apparently wanting to turn off a wailing siren in the middle of the night and wondering if the police had any means by which to, I don’t know, contact the alarm company or something was just the stupidest possible thing EVER. I felt even dumber than I had a few hours earlier, which was impressive.

Eventually the alarm stopped. It started again a few minutes later. And then stopped. And it went off three more times before dawn. In conclusion: I hate everyone and everything and today I actually AM stupid because I’m sleep deprived.

While I go drink six or seven more cups of coffee, you can read about how gardening is exactly like parenting. You’re welcome.


  1. jennifer

    maybe the police phone-answering person is an 18-year-old getting ready for college?

    Hope the no-sleeps go away soon. There seems to be an epidemic of those around here.

  2. Diane

    Yeah. I thought I heard my smoke detector let out a little low-battery beep the other day. I’m ignoring it. At least until that night when I can’t stand it, and find myself climbing up on a ladder (next to the loft railing, which overlooks the nice big drop to the first floor) in the middle of the night to change the battery.

    Cannot imagine the annoyance of the house alarm.

  3. Niki

    The house next door to us was empty for probably 4-5 years after the owner died, and his son was too lazy to do anything about the house. At some point someone had installed an alarm that was not hooked to any service, just went off until you punched in a code or the battery died. Needless to say this happened on a day when I was at home, with no car, with a cranky toddler who just needed a nap. We didn’t know it wasn’t connected to a service, so after a while I called the non-emergency police number, and told them the house was unoccupied. They got several more calls from other neighbors, and the police came out. They came to my door and asked about the owner and I gave them the story, and told them I had no idea how to track down the son. They contemplated breaking in but decided it wasn’t warranted, so they left. It took about 8 solid hours of alarm and a couple of hours of dying alarm before it finally stopped. I truly wanted to murder someone.

  4. Cari

    Never in the history of smoke detectors has the low battery chirp started anytime other than in the middle of the night. Whyyyyyyyyyy?!??

    • Reb

      Because batteries are flatter when it’s colder. It’s a major bummer.

      • Mir

        I had no idea there was an actual reason. Thank you. (Though, in this case, I’m not sure it was colder inside at night, but it explains the winter beeping!)

  5. Lucinda

    My daughter is starting high school next year and my son will be in 8th grade which means I have 5 years before they leave. I also started a part-time job this year so it is the first summer in 15 years I’ve had to work when the kids were home. It is weird because instead of them seeking me out for attention, I’m the one who has to do the seeking these days. I know it’s normal but I still don’t particularly like it and I know it will just get more so as they slowly grow more independent EXACTLY LIKE THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO. In anticipation of this, I am trying to find those times where I can get quality time with them individually because getting the whole family together is challenging and seldom as pleasant as I hope it will be (teenagers bickering and what not). To that end, my daughter and I are visiting Canada this summer, or “America’s hat” as she likes to call it. So I guess I’m saying that on a smaller scale I feel your pain.

  6. Chuck

    36 hours is long enough for a weekend getaway. Give it a shot!

  7. Jeanie

    The police dispatcher, or whomever it was, made me seethe. I want to report her for you. And I thought I was in a pretty good mood today.

  8. Mom24_4evermom

    Oh my goodness, hate me because this kind of made me smile, maybe even a quiet chuckle? They do get ugly before they leave, don’t they? Hang in there. (((hugs)))

  9. Jean

    I so feel your pain, Mir. Trying to schedule vacations/time together around an active family is soooo hard. And when accomplished, not always full of Kodak moments, to be sure. Hope you get some sleep soon.

  10. Elizabeth

    We had just bought a house and did not have the alarm contact on it when the battery died and the alarm went off. I was very pregnant and had just returned home from the emergency room and on bedrest. The first person I spoke to at the alarm company told me they couldn’t do anything for us because we didn’t have a contact with them. Her manager had four kids and was more than happy to hop in his truck on a Saturday you come turn the alarm off.

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest