Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fluffy Butt

My father was leaving to go back to LA before the sun rose Monday morning, but my mother wanted to stay in Florida. He thought this was the perfect chance to finally initiate the new security system they had installed at Casa dei Sogni last summer before they up and moved to California in October, but had never once set. Husband and I set the alarm system on occasion, when we thought of it, but most of the time the neighborhood of Basura del Este seemed so quiet and generally uneventful that we often forgot. I don't know what suddenly inspired my father to want to set the thing at 1am Sunday night. Maybe he had a few glasses of Cabernet and it gave him an uncontrollable urge to push buttons. Whatever the case may have been, he and my mother decided to mess with the alarm system for the very first time. My father pretended that he knew exactly what he was doing as he tried to show my mother how to work the thing.

Now my mother is technologically retarded, worse than I am even. She can barely use the microwave. She got her first computer in 1994, installed AOL and hasn't learned a single other application since and whenever AOL updates it throws her off for months. Since she won't even go near any other programs she writes everything in the body of an email, which has resulted in numerous disasters because she can't figure out how to save or file anything and then loses everything she ever writes. Luckily she doesn't write much and spends most of her time on conspiracy theory message boards or reading Alex Jones' Prison Planet. Don't even ask. My mother also can't use a cell phone. We got her one last year but she can't answer it half the time and she has no idea how to clear out missed calls so her phone beeps incessantly until one of us grabs it from her and makes it stop. She can't check voice mail, record messages or save contacts either. It's a disaster. I also need to add that my mother can not and will not use a microwave or a dishwasher either. Given this extreme aversion to technology one can certain see where trying to teach my mother how to use an alarm system might not be a good idea. It was not a good idea.

What made this an even worse idea was the fact that my father, who is not technologically averse per se, is rather, technologically inept. He has to call my husband at least 25 times a week, from California or here, to explain to him how to work various and complicated pieces of electronics that he bought because they looked cool and then couldn't figure out for the life of him how to work. Sometimes he acts like he knows how things work when he doesn't and then decides that the thing is malfunctioning and gets very angry. This is partially what happened with the alarm system.

My parents set the alarm and turned on the motion detectors and they tried to explain to me what happened in a way that did not make them sound stupid, but the explanation confused me and contained many discrepancies, so I will just tell you that they set the motion detectors improperly and the dog set them off immediately.

The alarm gives you one minute to key in the proper code to make it stop and it counts down as if the house is going to explode when it gets to zero. Frantically my father kept keying in the code, as the numbers got closer to the end, but nothing happened. This was of course because the alarm system was broken and not because my father didn't know the code. The system got to zero, red and black heiroglypics appeared, it flashed some sort of doomsday code and the entire house began to shake. Ok, not exactly. I've been watching too much "Lost", but it may as well have done all that. Once it got to zero it went into total, emergency panic mode. The alarm is so loud and piercing that it can be heard all over the entire neighborhood. A pod of dolphins 20 miles offshore heard it underwater and went deaf. The neighbors came out of their houses cussing, dogs howled and small children went into shock from the sound of it. My father still kept trying to key in what he thought was the code, but obviously wasn't so then he called US in the middle of the night to accuse us of changing the code while he was gone and not telling him. Turns out he had it but was a digit off, so once we told him the code it worked and turned off. Everything was fine.

My parents went up to bed and the phone rang. The monitoring company called to see if everything was ok. My father explained the situation and the lady laughed lightheartedly and said she understood.

"Ok, I'll let you go," she said, "Just give me the code word so I know everything's really ok."

There are two code words. One code word is the "I am a Dumb Ass and Set Off My Own Alarm by Accident Because I Don't Know How to Work It" code word. This means all is well. The second code word is the "HOLY SHIT OH MY FUCKING GOD I AM STANDING HERE WITH A GUN TO MY HEAD BEING HELD HOSTAGE BY TERRORISTS WHO ARE GOING TO BLOW UP THE ENTIRE CITY WITH A SUITCASE NUKE" code word.

All of my parents' code words are names of our former cats. The problem is that they can't always remember which cat they used for which code.

"Fuzzy Butt," said my father, thinking this meant everything was fine.

"No honey it was Bird Murderer!" my mother said, "You got it wrong. And the cat wasn't FUZZY Butt it was FLUFFY Butt."

"No it's not Fluffy Butt, or Fuzzy Butt or whatever the hell I said, it's Purr Machine," my Dad told the woman.

Then he repeated it very slowly for good measure.

"Purr Machine."

"I understand sir. Good night," said the woman on the phone.

"I don't think that was the right code, " my dad told my mom.

"Maybe the code word was Gray Kevin or Pink Fuzz," my mom replied.

"I don't know, we've had so many damned cats I can't keep track of them."

"No we haven't. How come we didn't use Charlie? You loved Charlie. That's easier to remember. We should change it to Charlie, Honey."

"Remember that cat we had named Kitty Ling who wouldn't lick her ass and smelled like onions all the time?"

"She had a brain tumor!"

"Holy shit, something's in the backyard," my dad said.

My mom, who was stark naked, looked out the window and didn't see anything.

"There is not, now turn off the light. You need to get up in three hours."

"There it is again. Honey I mean it, something is in the backyard."

They watched some TV. My mom walked around naked some more in her bedroom where she refuses any window treatments.

"I just saw it again!" said my dad.

"You did not. You're just all riled up from the alarm. I'm going to go out there and prove to you that there is nothing in that backyard."

My mom slipped on a bathrobe, went downstairs and went out into the backyard where she was instantly stormed by what seemed like 30 members of the SWAT team who were hiding behind trees, in her flower beds, behind the BBQ grill and in her pergola. She put her hands up and started screaming. My father heard the ruckus and went out too where he was stormed by even more police. How they did not literally pee themselves I will never know.

It took them an hour to search the grounds and every square inch of the house. My parents had to prove their identities, their ownership of the house and that they were not under duress with terrorists hiding in the attic waiting for the police to leave so they could set off that suitcase bomb. At one point my mom went to the front of the house and the entire street was blocked off and there were 15 police cars and the SWAT teams RV. No one on their street got any sleep Easter night including my dad who just got dressed again and went straight to the airport when it was all over. My mother needed a Xanax after all that.

At least we know that the alarm works and that they're getting their money's worth with the monitoring and we finally figured out that the code for "Everything's Fine" was "Fluffy Butt" all along.


Anonymous said...

omg, that's hilarious!

Anonymous said...

OMG! head meet desk, desk head. Well at least you will always remember this Easter.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog. ;0)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad my family life is less exciting. I'd rather read about it than live it!

Keep the stories coming, I really love hearing about your wonderfully whacky family! And I know I've told you this before, but your talent for writing is awesome!

Unknown said...

Oh my God.

My mother also has a ridiculously complicated alarm system. I once forgot the code, set it off, and could remember the code when the called, only I DID remember the safe word so only ONE cop showed up. It was awful. I had to go sit outside and wait for the police because the noise was incredible and they wouldn't turn it off with out the code.

I HATE alarm systems, both in houses and cars. They never seem to work properly, and the only time you hear them going off is when someone sets it off on accident. Real thieves know how to disable them.

Also, your mother watches Alex Jones?! He's from here and is quite the town drunk. Maybe she should know that all of his theories are made up in the Tavern Bar & Grill deep into his seventh or eighth scotch. Back in the day, he was on public access cable ALL DAMN DAY LONG and my exboyfriend and I used to sit around and smoke pot and laugh our asses off at him. One time, he tried to hit on my down town and wouldn't leave me alone and kept asking if I knew where to find any cocaine. The guy is insane.

Curlatini, Esq. said...

That's fing hilarious. I spent the night at my parent's house a few weeks ago and set off the alarm. I was 1 number off. I told the parents they were lucky it was 10pm and not later:)

Laurie said...

OMG! never a dull moment with those 2, is it??


luvpumpkns said...

that was really funny.

Jen Nuessen said...

OMG. And I thought our lice ridden, flu infected thanksgiving 7 years ago was funny.

Shay said...

this makes me feel a lot better about the time I locked myself in the admiral's bathroom on the USS Belleau Wood.

Anonymous said...


Worth the wait...

staticwarp said...

why wouldnt she lick her ass, and why did she smell like onions?

Wide Lawns said...

Well to answer your question, Kitty Ling had some health problems and she didn't bathe herself properly and so she smelled awful- strangely oniony. She had a brain tumor which grew very quickly and we were very sad to have to put her to sleep so she wouldn't suffer, but she was a very nice kitty for the short duration of her life and always remembered fondly within our family, except for her odor. She was a long haired, all black kitty with yellow eyes in case you needed a mental image.

Kitty Ling RIP

Corianne said...

Thanks for the laugh. (at your parents' expense)

I needed to read something like this today. :)

Anonymous said...

So, did your mom continue to set the alarm when she went to bed when dad was gone?

onthegomom said...

I am new to your blog, which I can't remember how I landed here, but I am glad I did.

This was so funny, I was laughing so hard, had tears in my eyes and woke my husband up (ha).

I will be back for sure, to read some archives and laugh some more, I am sure.

Wide Lawns said...

Welcome OnthegoMom!

Joe, I haven't talked to her all week because I've been so busy. I'll see her tonight and I'll ask, but I'd be willing to bet a large amount that she did not set the alarm.

Reb said...

That is so funny! My brother set off the alarm at my house when he went to the garage, he couldn't hear it, I was drying my hair and didn't hear it or the phone. Next thing I knew there were police at my door at 6.30 in the morning! I told them he was in the garage and to go give him a scare! He deserved it!

Beverly said...

holy crap that's one of the funniest things i've read lately. i would have passed clean out at the idea of a bunch of swat ppl seeing me walking around the bedroom naked!!! lol

Anonymous said...

I feel like it would make a great TV show. I'd watch it.
On another subject. What do you know about the I-4 dead zone from Orlando to Daytona Beach? Supposedly it's a haunted area, have you ever seen or heard anything there?

Whiskeymarie said...

I think "bird murderer" may very well be my most favorite name for a cat- EVER.

Susan said...

This reminds me of when one day when I was over my ex boyfriend's house. He installed alarm systems for a living and I think it made him overly paranoid. He always put the alarm system on even when we were home, but he would just turn off the motion read that right motion sensor.

So one day he crawls out of bed before me and goes to get breakfast leaving me to sleep peacefully until I needed to address nature. I crawl out of bed and within seconds the alarm starts screaming. I dash madly up the stairs and punch in the numbers fat fingering like a crazed woman, but not sure if I had done it in time. I went outside and waited for either him or the cops to come.

He pulled up and said "What?!?!"! I glared and said, "From here on leave the alarm off and just let the bad guys kidnap me."

booda baby said...

THAT was totally worth waiting for!

Libbe said...

OMG! that is so funny!

gulfsidebo said...

that's one of the funniest stories i've read in a long time. oh man...i love it. well, we all now know a good way to test out the services for our alarms after we get them.

Matt said...

Wooo, I finally caught up I just finished reading all of you blog that is still posted on internets, it took me a week or something. I read from October '06 to present. Keep up the good writing. I really enjoy it. Are you ever going to revisit your Father after he learned he was coming to America? You left that story hanging a long time ago.

Green said...

Dude. Finals or something?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - About the I-4 Dead Zone, I clipped a link here for you. I do live close by and have heard about it. Curious to see for myself because I am obsessed with this kind of thing. There is also a town called 'Cassadaga' which is by the Orlando area as well that have some haunted buildings and palces. Been there and it's pretty cool. Good luck!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Amazing story. Sounds like something my parents would have done.

180360 said...

Thankfully came here via Whiskeymarie. This was such a funny story. Are all parents completely crazy and as inept as they seem? At least it does make for some good laughs!

About Me

Blog Archive