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Traumatized over Christmas Dinner

on December 26th, 2010 by Rebeccca

Ann says she talked to a doctor who treated soldiers after WWII. He claimed that little dints appeared several months later in the fingernails of soldiers who witnessed trauma. I will be checking my fingernails in the coming months.

It all started with the turkey gravy. It was sick looking broth and Ann knew exactly how to get it darker – turn the heat on high and scorch it. As the kitchen started to fill with smoke, I opened doors and windows, wondering why the smoke alarm wasn’t responding. But then it did – not just a shrill howl, but a wailing siren with whoop, whoops interspersed with wow, wows. The outdoor lights started flashing.

I opened all the doors and windows. The neighbour came over to see what was happening — he suggested we had to enter some kind of code in the security system to shut off the alarm. Ann couldn’t remember the security code. Finally the alarm quit, but the outdoor lights continued to flash. We ate our dinner. Drank our wine. Groaned about how much we had eaten.

For some reason, I was given the task of figuring out the alarm system and how to turn off the flashing lights. I didn’t mind — I got out of doing dishes. At least I didn’t mind until I pushed a few wrong buttons and the security system showed that it was armed. Oops. We waited a few minutes. No alarm sounded. I opened the front door and the alarm responded with a harsh shrill that wouldn’t stop. Oh my.

I tried entering the last four digits of the phone number. The alarm continued.”Ann – you have to call the owners and get the code.”

Christmas evening – will they even be at their winter home?

Daisy the dog ran around the house. I paced the floor. Ann calmly phoned the owners and went into a long-winded explanation of all the details of what had happened.

“Ann – just ask them for the code!”

Four simple numbers, entered in the right order as I held my breath. The alarm stopped. The outdoor lights quit flashing. Whew.

Now I am traumatized. It’s nothing serious, like what soldiers would have experienced, but every time I walk by the security panel, I look at it sideways to make sure the little green ready light is on. I open doors cautiously, somehow expecting the alarm gods to scream. The security code is burnt into a corner of my brain. Just in case.

And I will be checking my fingernails over the next few months.

| Posted in ruminations

2 Responses to “Traumatized over Christmas Dinner”

  1. Mom
    January 1st, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    That must have been something. How long did it last?

  2. admin
    January 2nd, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    That’s hard to tell – as the security alarm seemed to go on forever, but it was probably only about 5 minutes :)

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