Funny False Alarms

Dearest Rachel –

I won’t go so far as to say there is nothing funnier than a false alarm. I’ve stood outside the dorm room at three or four in the morning with a cold and a then-ineffective dose of Nyquil in my system after spiders apparently got into the fire alarm system at Wesleyan, and I can tell you that was only funny insofar as I was able to recount the story later – including making a sound so like the alarm in the process that a dormmate (I’m pretty sure it was Al) bundled himself half awake from his room (at one in the afternoon) because he thought there was another fire alarm. He gave me a good talking-to about that later, “Never do that again!” How was I to know he was sleeping at that hour, and that he’d actually think the sound I was making was the same one we’d heard the previous night?

I will say that there are very few things more relieving then a false alarm. You just got yourself all worked up, and you’re worried that something is going to go terribly wrong, and then – psych! Everything’s fine, there’s nothing to worry about, and you let out this huge sigh of relief over the bullet you just dodged.

The reason this comes to mind is because just this morning, when I was standing in the shower, I was just realizing that it was already the 20th of December. Now, I just got through telling you earlier today how I’ve gotten most of my Christmas shopping done (I suppose I could call it ‘all,’ but there’s always some theoretical afterthought I could pick up until the day itself was upon me), and therefore there’s nothing to worry about in that arena – although I do still have to wrap everything, but I’ve made some progress on that today, and have the ‘office’ time to finish the rest throughout the week with plenty of time to spare.

No, the date struck me as a concern because… I should’ve paid our taxes by the 15th. I’m not used to this ‘quarterly installment’ thing, at least, not on an individual basis. When I was still working, I was the one who had to send the quarterly installments to the various states and the federal government, and if I didn’t, there would be penalties – both from the specific government and from Mohinder. Fortunately, that almost never happened, and the few times that it did, I was able to send a letter insisting that we as a corporation generally paid our taxes on a timely basis, and that should have our penalties waived – and it worked almost every time, because the assertion was true.

But I don’t know how well that works on an individual basis, and I’ve not been filing installments long enough to build a history of prompt payments. It was getting to the point where I considered contacting our tax preparers, to discuss how to negotiate a waiver of penalties. But first, I would need to make sure that I got the payment out. So I went to the family room, where the forms were sitting on the buffet. And that’s when I discovered that this installment isn’t due until the middle of January.

Whew!

I’ll probably get those things sent out within the next week or so, just to be on the safe side. Especially now that I’m thinking about them; no sense in dodging the bullet now, only to be struck by it at this time next month.

Another bit of strangeness has been starting to happen with a little bit more frequency; which is to say, it’s happened more than once and over the past two working days (Friday and today). I was sitting at my desk at the ‘office,’ working on some calculations for the camp, when I got a phone call. And as I’ve mentioned before, even if I don’t recognize the number, I physically cannot just let it ring. I picked it up.

“This is to inform you have an upcoming electrical outage due to nonpayment of your bill.” Well, obviously I’ve been paying my bills on time – including the one on the second of this month – so I had to find out what was going on here.

Oh, and did I forget to mention where this phone call was coming from? According to my cell phone’s caller ID, this phone call on Friday was coming from Dog and Suds. You know, that drive in hotdog place up by Dundee Road in Wheeling? Yeah, that one; only it said “Dog In Suds,” rather than ‘and.’ Well, naturally, I had to find out why this place was calling me, only to get this pre-recorded message about the alleged non-payment of my electrical bill.

So, with my curiosity piqued, I pressed ‘2’ to talk with somebody about these facts that conflicted with this robotic assertion. The fellow I spoke to seemed rather flabbergasted when I informed him of where his call seemed to seemed to have originated from, but he insisted that I was behind on my electric bill, and someone was coming over to ‘f*** [me] up.’ He instructed me to go outside, and look for a green van, and the guys there would do the job for him. I don’t know if he meant the guys in the green van were going to be cutting off my electricity, or if they were there in order to start something that would presumably end in me being beaten up, but I kept insisting to him that he was calling a cell phone, and that I was not at home, so even if these people were actually there at my home, I wouldn’t be able to see them if I went outside, as I was literally across town from where he claimed to have his boys in the green van. The more I insisted, the more he insisted I go outside, until he finally hung up on me with a final expletive.

The dude was so insistent, but I had to call Daniel up, just to warn him about a green van that might be outside our house. However, when he went to the kitchen to look outside, there was nothing there. Considering that we are paid up with our electric bill, that should’ve stood to reason, but man, I was getting a little worried. Then again, the fellow implied that the van was parked on the street by our house, which, as you know, isn’t a thing, not on Wilke Road.

Anyway, this morning at the office, it happened again. No, not the whole ‘there’s a guy in a green van there, and he’ll f*** you up’ – I didn’t bother to press to this time. I simply hung up, and called the number back. And of course, it was a nonworking number. So, false alarm.

Still, I guess I should keep my eye out for any green vans I happen to see, eh?

That’s another day for me; wish I could hear you tell me about yours for a change, but at least mine aren’t too boring. Talk to you later, honey.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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