Wednesday, June 10, 2009

But simple ones. Not the kind with trees and cars and people or anything that elaborate.

As you know, I have had some very positive dealings with the Fairfax County police.

But it turns out I am not so good on understanding the alarm thing.

So in a couple weeks, we are moving into this new place. For which we will be getting a security system. Which means we have to get a phone. According to Nick.

I saw no reason to get a phone. We use our cell phones for everything. Why waste the money?

He said we needed it for the security system. This made no sense to me.

"Because," Nick said, "if the alarm goes off, the phone then calls the security service. And they alert the police."

"The phone calls them? By itself? Are you sure?"

"How do you think it works?"

"So, someone breaks in. This sets off the alarm. Which then triggers the alarm for our house at the police station."

In my mind, this was the precise process. Rings at your house, rings at the police.

Why not?

"So, wait, Lis. How do they know which house?"

"They have a little alarm for everyone."

"The police have some big grid with all the house numbers?"

"No, it's more like they have a wall with streets and model houses. And the house with the alarm going off starts ringing and flashing."

"The police have a wall of tiny little models of everyone's houses?"

"Well, the only ones that light up and ring are the ones with alarm systems."

This turned into a larger conversation, involving much mockery of me. As you may imagine. I won't bore you with the details.

Suffice it to say, I get it.

Yes, it makes a lot more sense for your alarm, your particular alarm, to call your particular security company. And for them to alert the police.

But then of course I was all, well, what if someone cuts the phone wires?

Nick pointed out we are not The Louvre, nor are we likely to be involved in any kind of spy thriller.

Fine. Yes. Fine. We need a phone.

I still like the idea of the little tiny city with houses that light up and flash, though.


  1. Also, a land line makes it easier for 911 to locate you in an emergency. If for some reason you can not give your location, 911 can pinpoint your address as opposed to the cell phones having to triangulate a general area.

    I have only my cell phone now, but when I have kids, I'll go back to both.

  2. Yeah, that'd be cool until the department's practical joker began renaming street signs: "Hey, Desk Sergeant, why is M Street now Desk Sergeant's Sweaty Balls Street?" and then your place gets broken into and some poor patrolman is trying to figure out where 2301 Joe Schmoe's Donkey Crack NW is.

    Hmm. Actually, this has possibilities!

  3. Bull! We have an alarm, it is not hooked up to our land line but has its own cellular transmitter to connect and call directly to Alarmforce. We got this because Sean is paranoid about security. This costs us an extra 5$ a month and it made Sean happy, so I said yes. Then I find out that our neighbours 2 doors over had their landline cut and their house got broken into. it does happen. when the alarm goes off, they call our cellphones. easy peasy. (I've screwed up before and had to talk to the Alarmforce guy, it was so funny). just like the commercials.

  4. Some advice, if I may: Do not get broadband telephone. No. Nooooo. We have a broadband land line, and about once a week it reboots (thank you Comcast, you jerks), which triggers a distress signal in our security system... which means that our alarm system then makes little chirping beeps in the middle of the night until someone gets up to silence it.

    So yeah, landline. Go old school. Trust me.

  5. A wall of model houses at the police station? That's silly. The police are very busy people and they have pictures of crimes on their walls, not model houses. The models of houses are at the alarm company offices.

  6. that's okay, until the other day i was thinking that fire alarms alerted the firehouse... how? i dunno, i never really gave itmuch thought, i thought it worked like a security alarm i guess.

    and why don't they just cut out the middle man? why doesn't the sercurity system dial 911, they definitely have caller ID, wouldn't that be better??

  7. I must have what Sophie has because we have the same situation...they could cut our phone line (or power lines to the house) and it wouldn't affect us at all. We also had them hide the wires and stuff in a different location than the alarm panel so whoever breaks in could knock the panel off the wall and the alarm would still be activated...our alarm has been set off a few times (accidentally) and they always call my cell, then my husbands, then a friend before dispatching police.

    I live with a very paranoid man!

  8. I bet that a police station somewhere, in some town, has a little teensy model of the town where the houses have little light bulbs that flash on and off when an alarm goes off. Or someone calls 911 from there.

    I definitely don't think it's unrealistic to think that there might be such a map in 2-d fashion on the computer, so that the computer beeps and centers on the address in question when the alarm goes off.

    Hmph. I'd just be sad if someone didn't have a little model town somewhere, really.

  9. I was far too old when I realized pieces of paper were not actually shuttled underground when you sent a fax, so I don't judge.

  10. I am with you. The model with tiny houses completely makes sense to me.

    This reminded me of a conversation I had with Luke the other day, I'll spare the details, but his response to my comment was "Do you have conversations with your wrists and elbows?". I paused, then answered "No" and the pause caused more laughter at my expense. You're a much more logical thinker than I, of course - tell Nick not to give you such a hard time!

  11. "The police have a wall of tiny little models of everyone's houses?" luv it!! this could be an excellent twilight zone episode . . . .

  12. cutellaisbold - Ah, I would never have thought of that. But that's a good reason.

    Malnurtured Snay - Ugh, you are so right. Everything could get renamed something ridiculous, and then we who live on Sweaty Ball St NW would be screwed in an actual emergency.

    Katie Abanson - We definitely won't have Comcast, and I will pass on your info to Nick. What a hassle to have it continually resetting!

    Susan - You must be right. Makes more sense to have them at the alarm company.

    Sophie - Aaaagh! You live near people whose phone lines were cut! This just adds to my frets. Definitely worth an extra $5 a month.

    notsojenny - Yah, I could understand that with the fire.

    And Nick and I talked about this - then the police would be dealing wtih all kinds of false alarms that you pay the security companies to deal with.

    Katie - I am a huge chicken, so I am very happy to know your paranoid husband's strategy. Truly.

    Dagny - As always, you are the best. And I love the idea. I hope someone does.

    Lemmonex - Thank you. I don't judge you for that, either.

    HKW - Thank you. It really was how I pictured it in my mind.

    As for conversations with wrists and elbows, could totally happen. Depends on what they're up to, really.

    LJ - I pictured it kind of like an itty bitty version of The Truman Show, so not far off!

  13. *snicker*

    What, Lemmonex, you mean that the fax doesn't travel in one of those tubes like they used to have at drive up windows at the bank? You know the cannister got sucked up with your check and the teller would get it INSIDE the bank? You're telling me that faxes don't work that way?

    That'd be so cool if they did...

  14. Nick has shattered my illusions. I'm going to go cry now.

  15. I find your scientific theories of how things work to be very endearing. I think you and my mother studied at the same institute of technology.

  16. Your little light-up house theory is so much more interesting than the poxy phoneline theory. I am sticking with yours Lisa, much more fun to think about. :D.
    Gawd where I live we dont even lock the doors let alone have alarms lol.

  17. Sarah - I love the idea of all these secret faxes shooting around in pneumatic tubes.

    Hillary - I'm sorry about that. He really does ruin a lot of fun, that one.

    Wendy - Haha. Thanks! And you know, I would expect your mom to be more like you.

    Go-Betty - I vastly prefer my theory as well, thank you! As for the no locking of doors where you live, you are lucky! I'm envious!

  18. You just made me miss my train set, for some reason.

  19. You know? I had never thought about alarms and how they work before. But now I can't stop thinking about OTHER things and how THEY work. Stop filling my brain with so many questions!!

  20. Yeah, I have cell-only and pay an extra $5 or $10 a month to ADT for the special cell transmitter dealio. And I live in Columbia SC--not exactly on the forefront of technological advances.


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