Categorized | Features, Laurie's Scribbles

A Scary Message In The Middle Of The Night


In the middle of the night, Randy tries to take a hammer to the alarm system when the siren won’t stop.

By Laurie Stone

It felt like a normal Monday night. Randy and I had both gone to bed around 10:30 p.m. with our Yorkie Libby stretched out between us. We drifted off and then came the last sound you want to hear at 2:13 a.m. — or anytime. Our alarm system had gone on, blaring an ear-splitting, non-stop, whirring siren, both inside and out. Randy and I jolted awake, not sure what we’d find.

I ran to check the control panel in the entry hall. Fire! it read. A computer voice kept repeating from the panel, “Fire! Evacuate immediately!

Randy hurried over. We didn’t smell smoke or see anything amiss, but we hadn’t checked other parts of the house, including the basement or the attic. What if something had started there?

My 88-year-old mom rushed over, wearing her bathrobe, looking worried. “We don’t see anything and don’t smell smoke,” we told her. “Still, we have to look everywhere.”

A Thorough Investigation

While Mom checked over her area, Randy and I scoured the entire house, including basement, furnace room, garage…everywhere. Nothing. In the meantime, the Emergency center linked to our alarm system called. “Is everything alright?” asked a surprisingly chipper-sounding woman.

“We’re not sure yet,” I told her. “We smell no smoke and don’t see anything.” She told us to look around and call back if we needed firetrucks sent.

motherhood, guilty pleasures, meals, mother, worrying, hopeful, boys, asleep, pedometerIn the meantime, nothing seemed amiss. But we couldn’t get the piercingly loud siren to stop. Our usual four pin numbers kept getting an “invalid code” signal. We had to yell to each other to be heard, which only added to the tension.

After waiting and waiting on hold, we finally talked to the Emergency line of our alarm company, who couldn’t do much in the wee hours. After trying for the hundredth time, the panel accepted our code. The siren stopped. The silence felt like a gift.

Randy and I stood in the wonderfully quiet entry hall. By now it was 2:47 a.m. “Hopefully, that’s it for the night,” Randy said. “We’ll call the alarm company tomorrow and sort this out.”

Calm Restored

Trying to fall back to sleep that night, strangely, what I mostly felt was gratitude. There hadn’t been a fire. We were safe. I tried to push back the what ifs. What if we all had to leave the house in the middle of the night, watching part of our home in flames? What if the fire had been in a dangerous part of the house? What if any family member had been hurt? But thankfully, that didn’t happen.

It was also a reminder that we’re not alone. So many people work in the dead of night — emergency operators, security staff, police, firefighters, nurses, doctors. Thank God for all of them. It was not how I wanted to be reminded of this big life lesson, but it got the message across loud and clear. Most times, things could be worse. It also reminded us to know where the fire extinguishers are.

Oh, and remember our Yorkie, Libby? She’s the dog that leaps out of bed and growls if a butterfly lands on a leaf outside. I expected to find her quaking under our mattress, scared out of her wits. Instead, she was comfortably stretched out on the covers, snoring.

Libby had slept through the whole thing.

Laurie Stone writes from the woods of Easton, Conn. Her blog, “Musings, Rants &Scribbles,” shares thoughts on growing up, older and (hopefully) wiser. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

3 Responses to “A Scary Message In The Middle Of The Night”

  1. Beth Havey says:

    Always love your Randy and Libby stories….

  2. This happened to us also in the middle of the night while we were vacationing at a cabin.

  3. Diane says:

    Ohmyword, that is so scary.
    Maybe that’s even more the reason the ending is so funny!
    For years, my Husby made root beer. To ferment, it had to be kept someplace warm. Not many choices when one lives in a small mobile home. We finally decided to put the cases in the baby’s room, in the closet next to his crib.
    Early one morning, I heard a muffled ‘pop’ and instantly knew a bottle had blown. I had visions of deadly flying glass and screamed at Husby. The two of us raced into the baby’s room. The bottle had just broken at the neck and spewed root beer everywhere. We shuffled around, shoving the crib back and forth, cleaning and talking excitedly. Then when we were done, I realized the baby was still sound asleep.

    And incidentally, sleeps just as well now as the father of six!


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