Not Hanukkah. Pretty sure that’s done. Hanukkah Hams.
If you’re new to all this, let me catch you up. A Hanukkah Ham, inspired by that all-too-famous Greenwich Village grocer who suggested a ham would be a great addition to anyone’s Hanukkah celebration, is whenever really smart people do really dumb things.
Or when really not-so-smart people do really dumber things.
Past editions have explored regulations for the ladies’ room in a town in California, student life, airline travel, and money, to name a few. Do a search for Hanukkah Hams here and you’ll find the whole bunch.
So. This edition is dedicated to the really dopey things we do when no one else is around. And we’re really grateful that nobody was around to see it.
Yeah… I see that memory already starting to form in your mind. But I’m letting you off the hook. Today the pork’s all on me.
It all happened a couple of days ago, and started when I was actually finishing up posting my last blog post. I was going through all the typical steps when suddenly the lights went out. This was about 11:00 in the morning, and I was alone at the house.
First the lights. Then the backup battery for the Internet started beeping. My first reaction: Uh, didn’t I pay that bill? I peeked outside to the broad open daylight to see if anybody else’s power had gone out. Not sure how I was supposed to tell from the neighbors’ houses in the middle of day, but there I was, looking anyway.
Next thought: I’ll just call the power company on my cell phone. I tried three times. All three times I got that message that said, “Your call can’t be completed at this time.”
What? The phone bill too?
Glad no one was here to see that.
Well, it wasn’t a billing issue; I was able to call my wife. But by then another alarm had started beeping, and this one was loud and obnoxious. We have tall ceilings, so I went to the garage and got the ladder. I stood it under the smoke detector and reached up with a broom handle and poked the reset button. Didn’t work.
Oh, says I. It must be this other alarm-looking thingy. But it didn’t have a reset button. So I reached up and turned it to take it down.
That’s when I discovered that this was to our security alarm. Awesome. The house security/fire alarm started going off for the whole dang world to hear. I jumped off the ladder and ran to the control panel, which I could barely see because the lights were off. I punched in my code and the alarm quit broadcasting to the world that somebody was trying to disarm it.
Whew. Glad no one was here to see that.
So. I still have no power and still don’t know why. I’m still being beeped at twice – once politely by a power supply and once by a loud, annoying something that won’t quit.
Just to make sure it wasn’t something else to do with my house I checked all the breakers, inside and out. That looked good. I guess it was then that the security company called my cell phone about the fact that the fire alarm had gone off. I missed the call, but they caught up with my wife at work, who explained what had happened. She called back and gave me instructions about how to reset the alarm system so that the beeping would stop.
I punched in their code. It reset the system. It didn’t stop the beeping.
It was then I saw some men taking down Christmas decorations at a house down the street. So I ambled over there and asked if the power was off at their place, too. Yes, they said. Did I know what had caused it? No idea, says I, but there goes a fire truck down Frankford Avenue. I guess somebody crashed into a relay station or something.
I know all about fire trucks and relay stations or something.
So I start walking back to the house, enjoying the fact that misery loves company, even though the light guys didn’t have a beeper going off in their ears. My father-in-law called me. He lives a block away. We compared notes and his power was off, too.
Standing outside to stay away from the beeper from hell, I looked up and saw it. Turning onto my street.
Remember that fire truck?
Yeah, that one. Headed straight for my house. Boy, do I have a great security company.
So I’m that guy. The guy they talk about back at the station. The one standing on the sidewalk, talking on a cell phone, looking sheepish and explaining to the Men in Black why there’s an alarm, but no fire.
“Well, then, we’ll just move on down the road,” the friendly firefighter said.
“Thanks for stopping by,” I said. “You can hear that beeping in there, can’t you?”
He smiled and the whole crew waved good-bye.
Glad no one was here to see that.
So now I was determined to kill this beeping once and for all. I called the security company myself and we talked about some options. The helpful agent suggested a few codes to try.
Nothing worked. “You can hear that beeping, can’t you?” I said plaintively.
He assured me I wasn’t crazy.
So I settled down in my office with the dogs and decided I’d at least get the post out as long as my computer battery would last. It didn’t last long. No problem. I have an iPad. It was dead-dead-dead. And my already busy cell phone wasn’t far behind.
Yes, I would have charged up everything if I had known the power was going to be off. Duh!
Glad no one was here to see that.
Back up on the ladder I went. I reached for that smoke detector again. The reset button didn’t work. Again. But I decided to pull it off and try taking the battery out. Lo and behold, it was one of those smoke detectors that plugs into something in the ceiling and runs off of AC power. The same AC power that had been missing for about an hour and a half by now.
I unplugged the smoke detector and the craziest thing happened. The beeping stopped (except for the ringing in my ears).
Glad nobody was here to see that.
I had just finished reading a chapter in my book (did I mention it had paper pages) when the lights finally came back on. Just then I got a call from Brad, my next door neighbor.
“Andy,” he said, “I’m not home, I’m at work. But my girls called freaking out. Is your power off?”
“Yes, it was,” I replied in a soothing, reassuring voice. “But it just came back on, so everything’s fine.”
I didn’t mention that his teenaged daughters had probably heard the house alarm, seen the fire truck, and probably even heard the ceaseless beeping of the smoke alarm from hell.
“Thanks, I really appreciate it,” Brad said.
“Always glad to help.”
Sure glad he wasn’t here to see that.
So after a delightfully productive day otherwise, I decided to brave the going-home traffic and make a quick run to the supermarket. There are certain times of day when to do that is to take your life in your own hands, and this was one of those. Just as I was getting out of the truck, I realized I didn’t have my wallet.
But nothing was going to stop me from this wonderfully cheerful day. So I drove back through the maze of traffic and lights to the house. Just as I walked inside I instinctively reached back to my back pocket. Would you believe it? Somehow that wallet had miraculously appeared in my jeans after all.
Glad nobody was… well, you get it.
So to top this fine day off, that night we got this picture from our daughter-in-law.
Jackson’s first time out.
“It didn’t have the effect we were hoping for,” Ashley said.
Wish I’d been there to see that.