Wednesday, July 26, 2006


So, two nights ago, I'm lying in bed, dead asleep at around 12:15 AM, when I wake up suddenly. I'm not totally sure what woke me because I was still in the daze that accompanies being shaken awake (I've had many stellar cell. phone conversations this way). Anyway, after I gain my bearings, I realize that it is very dark in my bedroom. Then I hear it. It's my alarm system, making a chirping sound like someone just opened a door...but with an added beep.

Things are really clearing up now and I finally realize that my alarm clock is off and everything is power is out. It wasn't storming or even windy outside, that I could tell, as I made my way to my window to look out and see what's going on. Oddly, the houses across the street and the street lights are on. What the heck is going on here? (chirp, chirp...there goes that damned alarm again)

I'm still sort of in a dream state since it's dark and my mind is racing with all the possibilities of what's occurring. For some damned reason, my mind came up with the idea that someone broke into my basement and cut all the power to stop the alarm from going off. It seemed reasonable enough at 12:15 in the pitch black...especially in the high crime area of North Bethesda. Now I'm in a mild panic. Chloe is slowly stretching in bed, and looking at me pacing around the room looking for some shorts like I'm a mad man. Some watch dog, didn't mean to disturb your wonderful slumber.

I keep listening to see if I hear anyone, but the place seems quiet. (chirp, chirp) Once I locate some gym shorts, I stumble over to my night stand where I usually keep a maglite, just in case. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find it and my cell. phone isn't there either. Great. Then I remember that I left my cell. phone in the bathroom. It's even darker as I enter the bathroom, which has no windows and therefore absolutely no light coming in from outside, but I find my phone and open it to give me a "flashlight." I walk back over to my night stand and see that the maglite was actually on top of it, rather than on the usual shelf inside, and I'm set to patrol the house.

The alarm is still chirping with regularity as I slowly creep out of my bedroom and peer over the landing down stairs. Chloe is following behind me like a cowardly Scooby Doo, wanting no part of a trip down the stairs either. I make my way to the study to see if anything is odd out to the front of the house. Again, the houses across the street to my front all have power. What the hell!?

I still haven't heard anything other than the alarm chirp, so I think calling the police would be a bit drastic, and I can't really talk that well with my mouth wired shut anyway, so I figure I'll go check things out myself.

With maglite and cell. phone in hand, I stealthfully head down the stairs with Chloe two steps behind me, running through the attack moves that I will use on any intruder before bolting to my bedroom to call for police backup, in my head. Nothing strange about that. Once I get to the first floor, I look around and see nothing odd, slowly scaling past the stairs to the basement, en route to the kitchen. Nothing odd going on in there, so I decide to grab myself a butcher knife, just in case. Yeah, I watch way too much TV.

At this point, I'm short on hands, and my damned gym shorts don't have pockets, so I straddle my cell phone over the elastic in my shorts and armed with a butcher knife and maglite in each hand, I make my final leg of the patrol, down to the basement. I'm still sticking with my original thoughts that this is where the intruder is, and I have now devised the plan of blinding the intruder with the light before lunging at him with the butcher knife. Sadly, this is not the first time in the last month that I have done this. My door chime randomly went off a couple weeks ago at like 3 AM without a power outage and I made these same rounds. Yeah, apparently after midnight and home alone I become a crazed Steven Segal wannabe. Who knew??

Chloe finally takes the lead on the final few stairs as I open and examine each closet and room in my basement, before finally ending at the breaker panel. No intruder. No breakers off. And Chloe wants to take a piss.

I let her out back, do a quick patrol of my backyard and finally notice that the row of houses connected to mine is black as Wesley Snipes. Guess we've got an isolated outage. After Chloe finishes up her business, I make my way upstairs and kill the chirp on my alarm, which has been eerily beeping every few minutes during this whole ordeal.

Once I've got that solved, I head upstairs to call Pepco and see what they have to say about this. Thankfully, they have a fully automated system so I don't have to talk, and it informs me that they are aware of the outage and that it should be resolved by 3 AM.

Not sure if I'm gonna wake up when the power comes back on, so I call my little brother and tell him to give me a wakeup call at 7 AM the next morning.

Thankfully, I was awoken by the power returning on at around 1:45 AM and I reset my alarm, as my brother forgot to call in the morning. Should've figured when you call someone at 12:30 at night and give them instructions for the next morning, they're likely to be forgotten.

So, I survived the night and evaded the attack of any intruders. I still locked my bedroom door and put my laundry basket in front of it, just in case. Like you would have done any different.


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