Back When ISIS Was A Good Thing


**This article has been updated with actual facts.  Please make sure to read the full post, including the update at the bottom!**

I've gotten into what some would view as being a very bad bedtime routine with our youngest son.  At his bedtime, I go upstairs with him and we snuggle up together in his bed, and read a story.  Then it's lights-out, but instead of me tucking him in and leaving the room, I continue lying next to him reading on my phone or iPad until he falls asleep.

Isn't it funny how people will give you their opinions on this?  "Oohh, you're going to regret that!" they'll say.  

But I haven't regretted it, yet.  

I love this special time with my boy, and I know in just a couple blinks of the eye, he won't want to snuggle with me, anymore, so I soak it up for as long as he'll let me (which won't be much longer, I'm sure, since he already has a problem letting me hug him in public, and by "in public" I mean in our living room, if his dad or brother are around).

My husband installed an alarm system in our house a few years ago.  It's the Lowe's brand - formerly called ISIS*, an unfortunate acronym for something that was no doubt based on safety-related words, but in light of world events since its launch, they've rebranded as IRIS.

The IRIS system recently experienced an "upgrade," which required a brand new panel, and all new software, all provided for free by Lowe's.  

I put the quotes in there because it's hardly proven to be an upgrade.  

The system worked marvelously before.  Nobody ever broke into our house.  

Not even after that guy came to the house selling educational books, which I bought (a set of 6!), because he and I bonded over a conversation about his life as a college student in California, but Mark fa-REAKED out when he got home, and said the kid was obviously a con-man, or - at the very least - a scout for a home burglary ring, and then he made me cancel my purchase.

But nobody broke in even after that, so even if Andy “The Bookman” Lee was a scout, our alarm system must have worked just fine.

Now - since the "upgrade" - the system occasionally does something weird after it's been armed.

I'll be upstairs reading on my phone, lying next to my sleeping almost-nine-year-old, Mark will arm the system, and instead of doing the usual cute beep-beep-beep to indicate the alarm's been armed, the system goes into a full one-minute-long eruption of beeping and squawking. 

I'll lie there listening to the ruckus, silently wondering to myself whether Mark hears what's happening since he's standing right next to the God-forsaken alarm, but it keeps screaming and beeping and I swear, things on our walls start clattering.

I sigh really loudly, drop the phone on my chest, and stare wide-eyed at the ceiling, mouthing to myself, "Really?  Seriously?"

Then - like a three-year-old not getting her way - I start kicking my feet a little bit in frustration, with my teeth gritted, thinking, "Ohmygod, does he not freakin' hear that?  If it wakes up Cody, I'm gonna...."

This goes on for a full minute, but after a full day of bonding with my son, and finally having him asleep, the fear of him waking up and forcing me to have another conversation with him - or with anyone, really - makes it seem like it's 40 minutes.

The alarm finally stops its beep-squawk-beep-squawk ridiculousness, and a few seconds later, Mark comes up to see if I'm awake (because he thinks the neighborhood may have been able to stay asleep during all that racket), and he, without fail, is smiling a little half-smile because he knows this "upgrade" is making me insane and he thinks it's funny, and he's not the one being annoyed by it, so I say horrible things to him to make myself feel better.

Mark recently went to bed earlier than the rest of us.  He hadn't been sleeping well, and he'd gotten up really early that morning, so the boys and I stayed up late to watch Saturday Night Live.  

When we headed up, we armed the system, and whadyaknow?  The alarm launched into its beepfest and I just knew it would be driving Mark crazy.  

Oh yes.  It was my lucky day.

Just to make sure he was hearing it, I shouted up the stairs, "I think the upgrade's working!"  


"Mark!  Mark, can you hear that?  I think the alarm is set!  What are your thoughts on that upgrade?" I shouted.

Meanwhile, my kids were downstairs, the youngest with his fingers plugging his ears, the oldest punching numbers into the keypad, which wasn't doing a bloomin' thing.

Mark shouted back at me, "Put the code in and hit 'disarm'!"

So I shouted those instructions to my son, so he pounded his code in, but it kept blaring.  "It's not working!" my son was laughing and yelling to me, "Are we really sure we did the upgrade right?  I think it's gonna blow!"

Now all three of us were laughing, my son downstairs punching in numbers at the alarm keypad, yelling up to me as I stood on the landing halfway between our upstairs and downstairs, where I relayed instructions that Mark hurled at me from the comfort of his little wigwam in our bedroom.

Nothing worked.  

Well, eventually something must have worked because it did finally stop, but it was a good two minutes' worth of commotion before that damn thing finally stopped beeping.

Meanwhile, my kids and I were laughing and screaming ideas on how to get the thing to turn off, and shouting our most sarcastic quips at Mark, which really is the most precious gift I've bequeathed to my children.

Miraculously, the system was repaired by our alarm repairman (Mark) the very next day.  

Mark - 0, Kristan and ISIS IRIS - 1


*Update:  OK, so when I rehashed this incident with Mark, I got to the part about the alarm system originally being called ISIS, and he grunted a little disapproving grunt.  "Nope," he said, in my favorite flat tone.

"What?  Yes it was!  I know for a fact it was."


Putting my hands together and clearing my throat, trying my best to be patient with this man, who clearly has no memory, and insists on testing me, I said, "Mark.  I distinctly remember our conversation about this.  We were in the kitchen talking about how awful it was for their brand," I continued, as he pursed his lips - unimpressed - and shook his head side to side while I talked.  

I was getting louder now, and talking faster, because I remember it so vividly!  "We said they would never be able to keep that name.  That they'd have to change it.  They'd have to!"

"Kris.  It wasn't Lowe's.  It was Android Pay.  They called it the ISIS Mobile Wallet.  Then it changed to Softcard.  Because, you know.... ISIS."



But the other stuff I said in here is totally true.