Okay, okay, we DO actually own an alarm system. But, please, don't ask me how to work it. I've forgotten. Each time I'd pass by one of those key pads, I'd scold myself about this. I'd vow to change it. Yet, life always seemed to get in the way.
We were so happy to get this system three years ago. At that time, our older son was really enjoying figuring out locks to doors and windows. It seemed like every time I turned around, I found him half out of a main floor window or standing in a second-story window, or even running down the street after unlocking one of the doors and making a getaway.
We live on a main road. He can't talk. He barely answers to his name, and he has little awareness of danger.
We needed that system. It was extensive, and, while it didn't lock him in the house, it sounded any time he tried to open something he shouldn't. The problem was that our younger son opened things also--the door to the back yard so that he could run and play or so that he could let in the dog. It turned out that the alarm was sounding very often, and it was entirely TOO LOUD.
Eventually, we put it on chime mode. It's been quiet for years.
And, then, late last week, that alarm sounded. Fabulous. Now what do I do?
Hm, there's no "off" button. lol. I pushed the red button because it looked emergent. Nope. That didn't work. I hit it a couple times. Surprisingly, that didn't work either. Sigh. I had no choice. I was going to have to call the "alarm people" before the police showed up at our door.
"May I help you?" the man on the other end of my cell phone asked kindly.
"Yes, please," I responded. "Well, you see, the alarm is sounding in our house, and I forget how to stop it." Man, oh, man do I hate having this conversation. I FEEL like some pampered housewife who flits about from luncheons to boutiques without a significant thought in her head.
"What is your pass code, ma'am?" he asked.
"I don't know." I muttered as I shuffled through the file I kept on the security company. I was actually proud that I had such a file, even though it wasn't doing me much good.
Ten minutes later, while still on the phone with this patient, patient man, I found the code. Praise Be! Now we can move forward.
"I'm calling your home phone now," he said, "hopefully I can get into your system that way."
"Ma'am? Did you hear the phone ring?" he asked.
The phone? Ugh. It wasn't on its base. A feeling of dread washed over me as I walked around the house looking for that phone--and cursing
"Um..." I started. Where was it?
"Well..." I stalled. Oh, who was I kidding? I wasn't going to find it.
"I can't find the phone," I admitted. We are sad and sorry people, we are.
"HOLD EVERYTHING!" I wanted to yell. Please, do not get the wrong impression of me!
I wanted in the worst way to offer up one of the bazillion reasons why, just perhaps why, I don't know where our phone is or that I can forget the code to the security system or that the paint is chipping off of our house/the yard is a wreck/I had to fold the mountains of laundry in order for Santa to make his way into our living room from the fireplace this past Christmas.
I wanted to say all of that and more. But, I didn't. For the most part, I accept the cauldron of chaos that has become our lives since we became parents to special needs, even if the realization of it does sting once in a while.
I certainly know that we aren't alone.
My theory is that if you come across a special needs household that is always organized, tidy, maintained and landscaped, then you are witnessing either wealth or a sickness.
Our household has neither.
With thought, I remember the ages of my kids. Sometimes, I can recall the dates of their birthdays. They always wear clean--but wrinkled--clothes. They are certainly fed.
Our bathrooms almost always smell of bleach, which isn't urine, so I'll interpret that as smelling clean!
On a good day, if nobody takes a look into our basement, we sometimes even blend with mainstream society.
Just, please, nobody set off our alarm.