Tuesday, June 10, 2008

No Alarms and No Surprises, PLEASE

We heard this song on the radio the other day and decided to make it our new theme song. I do like Radiohead, or at least whatever stuff of theirs I heard on the radio in High School, but I'm not such a fan of this particular song. You can hear from the tone of his voice that he really isn't up for any surprises. One of Greg's favorite Polish artists sings a cover of this which we both prefer. In case you care, the artist is Sojka, who sings mostly jazz. He's classy. (And I must have Greg help that Wikipedia article!)

Speaking of class, and in order to get to the point of this post, we were feeling a little upper class when we moved into this house(ish), because it has an alarm system. How perfect for us, the predictable weekend travelers, who speak English and are therefore obviously rich, with a house(ish) full of possessions that any Polish thief would ache to get his hands on. (note to any potential thieves reading this: we DO-travel/speak English, we DON'T-have interesting/valuable possessions, including and especially shelves).

The house(ish) is fitted with motion sensors directed at every window in the house, except those in two of the bathrooms (which is why we stopped storing our laptops and TV/DVD player in the bathroom). They are pretty sensitive and if you are sitting in a room, quiet and motionless, then raise your arm to scratch your nose, you hear a little "peek" from the sensor going off. At first it was a little weird, but now it sounds like security. Since Evie sleeps on the top bunk, and the sensor in their room is placed almost right in her ear, it woke her up every time she turned over in the night at first. Now, I think she hears nothing but security in the night.

Greg taught me how to deactivate the alarm when we return home from anywhere. He emphasized the precision with which it must be done. You've got code entering, button holding down, pausing until something appears on screen etc.

That warning about the whole precision thing "rang" true the first time I tried it. I got it wrong. That alarm is pretty loud! And there's a flashy bright light outside that informs any hearing impaired passersby that someone has, indeed, broken into the Pawlik's house(ish).

Don't worry, friends and neighbors, it was just me! After repeating that scenario two more times, I decided maybe it should be Greg's job to deactivate the alarm. But we did learn that it only takes about 2 minutes for the security guys to show up, so I mean, I actually did it for educational purposes (and of course, we all know that a one time experiment cannot bring scientific surety, hence the repetitions).

For nights when we are home, there is a remote that we can use to activate the alarm system in the lower two levels of the house while we sleep, with the privilege of turning over during the night, upstairs. In this way, we have been saved, in our sleep, by the alarm catching:

*dangerous, roaming balloons
*plastic bags, which we now know are not only evil for the environment
*hungry children, headed to the kitchen for some breakfast cereal
*a mother headed to the library to do her morning email check
*any spiders or flies that decide to take a seat on the sensor

Fortunately we can just call the security station place and tell them that it was just us (again). If only it were that easy to fall back to sleep after being aroused at 2am from the loud noise, then creeping all over the house carrying the first accessible heavy object just in case, this time, it wasn't a plastic bag. We're trying to decide if the threat of bad guys coming is more disturbing to us than the havoc that is caused by balloons and bags. (BTW, it's not as easy as it may sound to round up all the balloons in the house and lock them up in the bathroom every night before bed).

And now you know why it is that we have a song that neither of us love as our theme song. Okay, it's mostly just the refrain. We'll call it our theme refrain. Ooooo, the punner in me can't help adding that we'd like the alarm to take a hint from our theme refrain, and refrain from going off in the night unnecessarily.


Nance said...

You must have a lot of roaming balloons. Before my mom retired from teaching her classroom had a sensor alarm like this (it had once been the computer lab). She'd hang stuff from the ceiling as Kindergarten teachers are apt to do and it would set the alarm off in the middle of the night. The best was she'd always want to get stuff from her classroom after hours, so she'd have to deactivate the alarm, etc. We had foreigners w/ us, I can't remember where from, possibly my sister's Norwegian boyfriend (this was years and years ago) and she set the alarm off, at 10:30 at night, in this nice quiet neighborhood and the police came. The foreigners thought it was the best thing ever! My mom was mortified.

sidenote: I posted a recipe for caramel sauce for you as a comment on my oatmeal chews recipe. You can see if it works out.

KC said...

The image of you rounding up the balloons every night and locking them in the bathroom is going to keep me laughing all day!

But why is your house only house(ish)?

Nathan said...

I'm a huge Radiohead fan, Lisa; they are the soundtrack to my post-mission life. "Lurgee," a lesser known track on their first album helped me get over being dumped by my first serious girlfriend and "Let Down," (on the same CD as "No alarms...") has long been a favorite. I remember trying to convince Erin in our apartment in Krakow of its greatness. I'll agree "No alarms, no surprises" is majorly melancholy and not their best, but it was great for this post, accompanying my reading time almost precisely. (Besides being perfectly apt, of course!)
I've been listening to Com Lag and In Rainbows a lot lately. I recommend listening to, or rather watching Videotape on YouTube and then checking out another remake--not by Soyka (I've heard that one by the way and find his accent offputting, though I like a lot of his other stuff), but by Del the Funky Homosapien on this site:

I'd love to know what you think.

Oh, and p.s., I'd also love to see an exterior shot of your home, if you don't object. I can't quite picture it.

jonesfamily said...

I LOVE your music!!! YAY! Just had to comment on that. I'll respond to the post tomorrow. love ya!

jonesfamily said...

I just finished Twilight, so it is extra refreshing to finally get some good reading in from your post! Thanks!

You're so funny! I would love to see the outside of your house, but after this post it could be dangerous to show the whole world!! But that gun of yours isn't really THAT heavy is it?

And can I borrow some of your ballons? We've just run out of our last one and Sethy is always asking for "b-b-b-b-b-loon"s. It must always be a party at your house! ;D

Lisa said...

Nathan- When I read your comment I had my brain turned off so I went and listened to the Del the FHS version first and couldn't get a feel for it. Then I went and listened to the original and, I know myself so I had to listen to it a bunch of times before I could decide to like or hate it. After a few times I thought, all I can hear is those same chords played over and over and over and so I didn't love it. Then, ALL day the next day, the tune (I didn't remember the words, really) of it kept playing in my head over and over and over! And I started to think I like it. I came back to listen to it and the chords bothered me less and I DO like it. Then, going back to listen to the other version--I reeeally like that one. Thanks for sharing this!

And about the accent put off. We bought a CD by Myslowitz because we really like their music and we were so excited to see they had an English version, and singing along to music is important to me, so we bought it. Unfortunately I have never listened to the CD all the way through because I can't listen to the accent. I still love their Polish stuff, though.

I'm excited for your upcoming family adventures and wish you all the best of luck getting through the hard parts! You're a lovely family.

N Cheshire said...

Sojka! That's his name. I've been trying to remember his name for ages. We always referred to him as Staszek, so I could never remember his last name. This song, not necessarily his greatest, brings back so many memories.

And as long as we're on the subject . . . we are right? The best Radiohead song is Fake Plastic Trees, I prefer the acoustic version from the "Clueless" soundtrack.