Wallpaper and Dog Walkers

As you can imagine, all sorts of things can (and do) happen when you work in someone’s home, especially when the homeowners have gone off to work and I’m alone in the house.

Let’s talk burglar alarms. I’ve had people leave me a key under the door mat, and then forget to leave the alarm off, so when I entered the home, the alarm went off. I’ve had a nosey little old lady see my truck outside her neighbor’s house and call the cops. I’ve had a drop of water get into the alarm control box and short circuit the gizmo and call the fire department.

But I have to admit, last week was a first….

The homeowner let me in in the morning, and left for the day. She told me that I would be hearing people in the house … the cleaning people would come and were instructed to not set the alarm when they left. The dog walker was also coming.

Well, I was pretty much in my own little world, up in a 2nd floor bathroom, totally immersed in my work. At one point, I did hear what sounded like a door opening and closing, and a few other sounds. A short while later, I heard a door opening and closing again. I figured the dog walker had come, taken the pooches out for their walk, and then left.

Then, barely audible over my radio and my scraping on the walls, I thought I heard a beeping sound. I wasn’t too concerned, until I realized THAT SOUNDS LIKE A BURGLAR ALARM!

I dropped what I was doing and dashed down the stairs. Sure enough, the alarm had just been set and was going through it’s one minute of beeping, allowing the dog walker enough time to get out of the house. The only thing is, she was already out of the house, and I knew if I opened a door to run after her, the alarm would go off!

Sure enough, on the table lay a note. Not knowing that I was working upstairs (my van was parked out of sight in the garage, and wallpaper work doesn’t make much noise), this conscientious lady had noticed that the door to the garage was ajar (I was going in and out through that door to bring in tools) and that the alarm had not been on when she arrived. So she dutifully closed the door and set the alarm when she left. YIKES!

I was trapped in the house! I couldn’t run and chase after the dog walker because the alarm would go off, and I knew she had had enough time to make it to her car and drive off, anyway. I could not call the homeowners, because my paperwork with their phone numbers was in my van, along with my cell phone, on the other side of that closed door. Luckily, this house alarm system didn’t have motion detectors – that would have REALLY been a fix!

What to do??

Also luckily, this house did have a land line. On the dog walker’s report paper was the number of the company. So I phoned, hoping to get ahold of her and ask her to come back and turn off the alarm. But the phone rang and rang, and finally went to voice mail. I left my desperate message, but had no idea when anyone would get the message.

Now what to do???

Luckily, I knew where this couple had bought their wallpaper (the Southwestern Paint store I recommend, on Bissonnet near Kirby), and I knew the phone number. So I called Dorota, the wallpaper person there, and she looked up the phone numbers of the homeowners. I was able to reach the husband, who had to call his wife, who relayed to him the alarm code, who relayed it back to me, and I punched it into the control box and – IT DID NOT TURN OFF!

We had the right numbers, but had to go through various combinations…”*123″ or “123*” or “#123” or “123#” on and on. Eventually we hit the right combination, and the blinking “Alarm On” light went out.


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