The hubby and I have a special calling system in place in case of a catastrophic emergency. The system works as follows: If he receives a call from me, twice in a row, he better dang well answer, even if he’s in an important meeting with the CEO of the world. This system was instituted because I like to call him multiple times a day just to say hi, and apparently he doesn’t have the time to take my calls if he’s in a meeting or doing something even semi-important related to his work.

Anyway. Pre-Ryan, I can’t remember any time I had to make the double-ringer call. But now that I’m at home, day in and day out, tending to the household minutiae, the baby boy, and the wonderbeast, my definition of “catastrophic emergency” takes on a whole new meaning. For example, last week’s double-ringer occurred after I found the diaper to beat all disgusting diapers strewn throughout our dining room and living room, while Leila sat munching on its contents in the middle of the living room rug. If that doesn’t call for a double-ringer phone call, I don’t know what does. (I deeply apologize to the co-worker who happened to be in FatJ’s cube at the time the call came in. She was lucky enough to hear every detail, along with many expletives, as I was shouting the emergency into the phone.)

Today another double-ringer mishap occurred in our house.

Let me set the scene.

When we moved into our house, it came equipped with a security system that the previous owners had installed. So our entire house is wired with motion detectors, alarms, and security. We never felt the need to utilize such a system, so we never had it activated with the security company. We’ve pretty much ignored the whole thing for the past 3.5 years. This morning when I let Leila out the back door, the control panel to the security system caught Ryan’s eye. He reached out to touch it and its rubbery buttons, which I allowed him to do, because hey, why not find something new and interesting to do with him to occupy 30 seconds of the day, and the system’s not activated anyway, so what harm could it do? He loved pushing the buttons. I even joined in the fun and pushed a few myself. Specifically, I happened to touch a button that said “on.” And then a red light started flashing. Hmmm, I thought, how odd. I thought this whole system was disconnected. I wasn’t too concerned though. I mean, what’s there to worry about with a red flashing light? So we played this little game for the requisite 30 seconds that Ryan remains interested in one thing, and then I opened the door to let Leila back into the house.

What happened next can only be compared to what I’d imagine it would sound like inside a prison if five inmates were caught trying to escape. Alarms, going off, everywhere. Two different types of alarms. Very, very loud and high-pitched alarms. What ensued was chaos: baby screaming, freaking out. Leila, running through the house like a mad-dog, howling like we were being attacked. And me? I stood there. I didn’t know what to do. I began pushing buttons on the control panel, trying to get the alarms to stop. Nothing worked. I looked at the little instruction card that’s been tucked neatly next to the control panel ever since we moved in. Under “troubleshooting”, it said “if alarm continues to sound, enter in your security code.” Security code? We don’t have a security code. This thing’s never been activated!

So, what’s a girl to do in this situation? You guessed it, double ringer.

Of course when I make a double-ringer call, I expect the hub-ster to drop everything and come immediately home to remedy whatever situation is going down. But for some reason, he never does this. His suggestion for this particular emergency was that I call Brinks Security. Great. Fine. Thanks for your assistance. I’ll get RIGHT ON THAT.

Okay, okay. I’m grateful I haven’t had to make a double-ringer call that would warrant him dropping everything to come home, or worse yet, meet us at a hospital somewhere. And I pray a situation like that never happens. (That gets me thinking though…who should I have double-ringer called the other day when I found FatJ unconscious and face down on the bathroom floor? Maybe Brinks Security could have helped).

Anyway, long story short. Brinks Security woman was able to talk me through the deactivation of the security system, which was actually quite simple, although it did require both phillips and flathead screwdrivers. It was definitely a MacGyver moment for me.