Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Heather the handy(wo)man

Last night I had one of those moments that made me feel perhaps someone is looking out for me after all.

My bedroom has a pitched ceiling. There is a smoke alarm on the pitch and I have been dreading the day the battery in it dies as I know that I am going to have to drag the 300 lb ladder up the stairs by myself, figure out how to set it up, and then actually climb up it to reach the stupid thing. The ladder is one of those that can bend in about 50 directions and as I found out when I went to put up the Christmas lights, it is not very cooperative. And I don't like being up on ladders. So, last night around 8:30, when I heard the obnoxious beep coming from the bedroom, I thought the time had come.

I happened to glance at the keypad for the alarm system and saw it had extra words on it. Turns out the beeping was a low battery warning and I needed to call the security company. I feel someone was watching over me because if the alarm panel had started beeping in the middle of the night, it would have scared the crap out of me and even after figuring out the problem, I would not have been able to go back to sleep.

As I dialed the 1-800 number I had a moment of panic-what if this isn't a 24-hour line and I have to listen to that damn thing beep every 10 seconds all night? Luckily, it was a 24-hour line and he told me how to make the beeping stop. He said that for $50 they could come change the battery or he could e-mail me the instructions and I could do it myself for about $25. Hmm, there's a no-brainer.

So today after work, I headed to Radio Shack with my 4 pages of instructions on how to change the battery. I made the poor kid feel bad. I told him what I needed and he showed me where they were and helped me find the right one. I went to grab one and he said he would carry it for me because it was kind of heavy. I am guessing this was his polite way of saying customers are not allowed to touch unpaid merchandise. I said I was going to be the one changing it so I was going to have to get used to it anyway. He innocently said "Oh, your husband isn't going to change it for you?"

"My husband's dead. He doesn't do much of anything these days," I announced loudly enough for the entire store to hear. The poor kid felt bad. He apologized for my loss and for insulting me. That's a new one. I told him not to sweat it-he had no way of knowing. He apologized again and asked if he could ask what happened if it wasnt' too personal. I find it interesting that men want to know what happened and women want to change the subject. I told him it was a heart attack due to an undiagnosed heart condition. I had been digging my wallet out of my purse and happened to glance up and see his name was James. I was fine up until this point. When I saw his name, I had to fight back the tears and the lump in my throat.

I got home and went through the step-by-step directions for changing the battery. Why they had to make that 4 pages is beyond me. The battery is changed; the system has been tested and all is well. It took me all of 5 minutes to change the battery. I can't believe the security company wanted to charge me $50 for that. It took me longer to find the little book to test the system than it did to change the battery. Normally, I test the system by accidentally setting it to "instant" and opening the door.

I have to admit it is somewhat empowering to do these things for myself, although in this case, a trained monkey could have handled the task. And I am grateful to my Security Alarm Angel for making it so it started beeping while I was still awake.


Tracy said...

Good for you!

Rick said...

Well done Heather.

Sounds like James was with you on this project!!! He loves you very much and is watching over you!!!