Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Police at Our House!

Last summer we decided to put in a security system to monitor our home while we are away during the winter months. It seemed like a good idea; we could monitor the thermostat remotely to make sure the furnace was working and the security system would alert if someone entered via door or window, or if motion detectors were tripped. We actually live in a very safe neighborhood, but being gone for 3 months seemed like a long time to rely on friends/neighbors to check on our house periodically.

We use the system at night as well, putting it in the "arm stay" mode. This turns off the motion detector, but will alarm if doors or windows are opened.

I realized last fall that Jim is not able to arm or disarm the system without looking at a very short list of instructions. It's pretty basic; 3 steps for arming and 2 steps for disarming. (Example: disarming requires touching the red bar and then entering our password.) Our password is one that we have used for years for our garage door opener. Every morning and every evening I always ask him if he wants to arm/disarm, or if I should do it. He always says, I'll do it, but you watch me. He faithfully puts on his reading glasses and pulls out the instructions, and proceeds to do it under my watch.

Well, the other morning he awoke before I did, and according to him, he saw "a lot of smoke" outside. He opened an outside door to check it out, and you guessed it, the alarm went off. (The smoke he saw was simply the vent for our gas furnace to the outside.)

Meanwhile, I awaken. I am still not quite awake, but Jim starts to tell me that "the smoke alarm went off" (it didn't) and "I went outside to check out the smoke I saw". Next thing I know the police are knocking at our door. I'm still fuzzy trying to figure out what had happened (after all, it is only 6:00AM). The police were very nice, said don't worry, these things happen. Sigh.

I finally figured out that what Jim thought was the smoke alarm was actually the security alarm that went off when he opened the outside door. He felt bad afterwards. I tried to make light of it so he wouldn't worry about it. I think it really made a huge impression on him, with the police showing up. The next day he was still talking about it, and saying he would from now on make sure that the alarm system was off before he opened any doors in the morning. I encouraged him to wake me up, if I was still sleeping so that we could "do it together". He liked that idea :-)

More and more I am filtering almost everything, trying to evaluate how decisions will impact Jim. I'm getting better at it, I think. It's not just for Jim's sake, but for mine as well. Easy does it, one day at a time, keep your cool.  So cliche, but so true.

12 comments:

  1. Bless you, that's quite a path you're on there. We've never had a security system but when we lived in Texas Bob was retired and the keeper of all the neighborhood house keys so he could meet furniture deliveries, repair people etc. The thing he did most often was meet the police for security systems that had gone off for one reason or another.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Linda. We've been fortunate that this was our only "false" alarm. Hopefully it is our last!

      You are on a journey yourself. Thankfully, we in the blogging community are here to support each other :-)

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  2. The good thing is that the police responded so quickly. That has to be a bit comforting. It is good that Jim is so willing to let you step in now to help. If he fought or resented you, it could be a nightmare. Most likely it is because you have been so diplomatic, kind and he trusts you.

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    1. Thanks Patti. Yes, I am forever grateful that he trusts me enough to let me help him. This morning he brought his Kindle to me as he could not remember how to swipe the screen between pages.

      In the beginning before I realized what was going on, I remember reacting surprised when he had forgotten something; my reactions were not filtered through the sensitivity screen. Now I kind of expect to see these changes, and I have learned how to respond in a more neutral way.

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  3. I agree with Patti that it's nice you've got police who are quick to come as well as kind and caring. It's also great that Jim is allowing you to help and know he needs your help. My father remained trusting of family members though he thought neighbors were out to steal the engine from his car.

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  4. I am so grateful for the police in our community. It sure provides a feeling of security knowing that they are quick to respond, as well as kind and caring.

    I'm not sure what I would do if Jim was not receptive to my help. I know that some caregivers face this on a daily basis. Thanks for your comments Kay!

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  5. Glad your husband will ask for and accept your assistance. Expect his consistency in any activity may be unpredictable but you seem prepared for that possibility even though when some new issues such as this arises it must be challenging -- especially if just awakening.

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    1. You are right Joared, i can expect consistent unpredictability. Sounds like an oxymoron :-) And it does seem that early morning or later evenings are the most challenging.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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  6. I think everyone with an alarm goes through this at one point. My extended family has an alarm in their home, and they have accidentally triggered it several times. It is good to know that the police will show up quickly, and I am glad they understood the situation. It may not be the first time they have responded to an accidental alarm.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Earl. Yes, I believe you are right about the occurrence of accidental alarms. It was probably more "alarming" to me that it happened. They were very gracious and kind. I'm grateful for their presence in our community.

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  7. I think if the police knocked on my door like that, I would be extremely shocked. These alarm systems are great aren't they, but oh my, they can give us a fright at times. And to think it all started because of a furnace! You sound like you are doing great though, and the way you are looking at how things impact Jim, is inspiring. Keep it up!

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    1. Thanks for your comment Levi. Sometimes high technology can be a blessing as well as a curse.

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