The Cool House: mystery
Showing posts with label mystery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mystery. Show all posts

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Prank calls

It's been so long since anything odd or unexplained has happened around here that I got used to normal. Hmm, there's nothing like another scientific impossibility to set you right back to nuts, is there?
The weirdness started around 2 AM Saturday morning. The phone rang. It's horrible when the phone rings in the middle of the night, panic sets in even before you've answered it. And even if it's just a drunk dialing the wrong number, it takes ages for the body to calm down enough to go back to sleep.
I picked the phone up and the id reads: STEVEN. And then it stops before I have time to answer it. That's the id of my husband's cellphone, who I now notice isn't in the bed beside me. I thought he'd just gone downstairs to throw the cat out. But why would he be phoning me on his cell? Strange, and what's stranger is that cellphones don't work in this house, or even in the surrounding area.
So I'm thoroughly confused and run downstairs to find Steven with the house phone in his hand and a perplexed look on his face. "I answered the phone", he said, "but there was no-one there and when I checked the caller id, it was my cellphone calling".
I'm very practical, so my first thought was he'd lost his cell and someone had found it and pressed the "Home" button to locate its owner. But, as Steven pointed out, he'd phoned from his car on the way home Friday evening, and he hadn't been anywhere since, and the cell was still in his car. Uh, oh. My next thought was that the car had been stolen.
As Steven made his way to the garage, phone in hand, it rang again. The id was still STEVEN, and when he answered it again no-one was there. Freaky. The car was still in the garage and his phone was in there, not switched off but powered down. He switched it on and attempted to phone the home but, as normal, there was no signal. Then, and this is the weirdest thing of all, as he is standing there with both phones in his hand, the cell idle but not off, the home phone rings a third time: STEVEN. I grabbed the home phone out of his hand, not surprisingly no one was there. Steven switched his cell phone off. We made a hot drink and waited. After twenty minutes or so we decided it was safe to go back to bed, and that was it. No more unexplained calls from a cell phone that was off and doesn't get a signal here. Nothing, except on the call list on the home phone are three calls: 12/15 2:11, 2:14, 2:15 AM.
If ANYONE has any idea why or how this happened, please take a moment to let me know. Put me out of my misery. I'd just about got over the whole mystery automatic light thing (got over but not solved, since I thought I found the source of the problem the lights have come on by themselves a couple of times. But I've learnt that if I turn the exterior lights off first I can control the den lights. And it's all about control, isn't it?) but this phone thing brought a whole new meaning to bizarre phenomena.

And now I can't get the Animal song out of my head.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Controller floodlight?

controller floodlight?
Originally uploaded by modernemama
I think I may have solved the mystery lighting issues we have been having in the den. Solved them, but not begun to understand them.
This floodlight is situated on the front drive, and I actually didn't discover it until late last year when I did a lot of pruning on the north edge of the property. When we moved in three years ago there were huge raggedy old junipers on the edges of the driveways and buried in these were lights that had been hit (probably by the snow plough). They had once been crescent shaped modern post lights but by the time we dug them out they were busted and rusted and there was nothing left to salvage.
I had an electrician put in new lights at the end of the drive and the only thing that's slightly irritated me ever since is that they aren't automatic. Gradually as I took out overgrown plants, weeds and tons of ivy, I discovered other light sources scattered throughout the flower beds and I began to put uplighters and floodlights on these. They are all connected to the same switch that the drive lights are on.
On Thursday I was outside tidying up when I noticed that the lightbulb on one of the floodlights had been smashed. So I replaced it. Since then we have had no gremlins in the den lights.
I can only surmise that at one time this outdoor lighting system worked on a timer and motion sensor system that was also connected to the den lights. For some reason when the lightbulb was gone (and only shards of the bulb remained) the sensor kicked in. This doesn't make very much sense to me but why else would the lights in the den have given up their independent ways?
I wish the original owner had thought to post a cheat sheet in the control panel of all the x10 lights when he installed them. Or just a guide to which switches control which lights. Anything would have helped. Three years and three months in the house and we still have figured out the electrics. Heigh ho.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I was wrong - the magic continues

I have no problem admitting that I was mistaken about the cause of the scary light syndrome in the den. No one went near the garage, or the remote controlled door openers yesterday evening and still the lights came on.
First the built-in lights came on at 7 PM, then the chandelier came on at 9:56 PM. Then I went to bed, leaving them on. They could burn themselves out for all I cared at that point.
But magically at 12:20 AM when Steven turned the outside lights off, all the den lights went off, too.
Now that leads me to believe that there is some complicated light sensitive stuff going on here that is controlled by the outside light switch. But it must also be timer controlled because I've tried turning the outside lights off before, many, many, many times.
The outdoor lights aren't on a timer (at least we've never discovered one) nor are they on a light sensor (although I've often thought they should be). So WHY?
Why is this happening and what can we do to turn this into a plus? Lights that go on and off when we're not home - that's an anti-burglar system.
And if we can't do that, at least tell us how to make this stop. For good.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

La, la, la

Originally uploaded by modernemama
That's my attempt at denial.
That's what I did last night when we were watching the 8 pm repeat of The Daily Show and this chandelier came on. On its own. With no human help. We have gremlins. I don't care. I am ignoring it. Steven will take care of it via the control panel in the basement.
I have decided (I, too, am the decider) that the problem is related to the remote controlled garage door opener. So I have decreed (I am also the decreer) that this evening Steven will park outside the garage and walk to the front door. we will then wait for the lights in the den to play their crazy game.
If they come on unaided, I was wrong (unlikely, but always a possibility) and we must seek another solution. If they don't, we have solved the mystery, which will give us a great deal of satisfaction but won't help us sleep any easy because WE STILL WON'T KNOW HOW TO FIX IT.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Way beyond funny

This happened again last night. 7:30 just before Steven came home.
For anyone counting, that's once every other evening this week. Twice with these lights, including one time with the chandelier doing a "now I'm on, now I'm off thing" as well, and once with these lights. Each time we have to turn off the electricity at the panel to switch these lights off.
Now, is it just coincidence that this has happened twice just as Steven was arriving home? And it happened once while I was out. Could it be connected in some way to the garage openers? But we use them continually during the day so why just in the evening? Could it be connected to some ancient x10 automatic security light on a timer? But why has it just started this week? And why every other night? And why won't the lights turn on and off at the switches?
Am I obsessing about this? Am I crazy yet? How much more can I take?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Weird lighting issues

den built-ins
Originally uploaded by modernemama
This is starting to freak me out - big time. This evening I went to have a sundowner at the beach and watch the sun set. I left at about 6:30 and although it was too hazy for a proper sunset there was a true harvest moon to make up for it.

When I got home, though, I was greeted by this in the den, The lights over the built-ins had come on. Not the bar lights that scared me on Monday , but the ones on a different switch.
I didn't put them on, in fact I haven't touched any of the switches in the den except the table lamps since Monday night because I was afraid I'd have to go to the basement again and turn the entire house off and on, which means I have to rest the airport and the TV cable has to reset itself. A hassle.

So, WHAT IS GOING ON? Help, somebody, and quickly, please.

The chandelier over the coffee table in the den (you can see it in the photo between the built-ins) came on and five minutes later went off again. Is this some new random motion sensor thing? Again, HELP...........

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Messing with my mind

drinks cabinet
Originally uploaded by modernemama
Yesterday evening sitting in the den around 6:45. I'd just prepared an authentic Spanish dinner (Imperial potatoes, slow-roasted pork, spicy tomato sauce and peas, if you must know) and I'm waiting for Steven to come in when the lights in the drinks cabinet come on. On their own.
Spooky. I mean I'm just sitting there and the next thing everything is illuminated.
I've mentioned this problem before but that's only happened when I've tried to turn it on or off recently. I swear no-one had touched that light switch all day, and probably not since the photographer came from Newsday two weeks ago.
I tried to turn it off - no luck. I tried to turn the other lights on that switch on - nothing. Steven came home and he tried. At 10 PM we were ready to go to bed and the damn light was still burning. There was only one thing for it. We went to the control panel in the basement and turned the whole house off and then back on. And it worked. Every other light came back on, the cabinet lights stayed off.
Now the only thing I can think of, is that we have 1970s x10 wiring on the switches in the den, our bedroom and various other places in the house. We don't know exactly where and what they do because we haven't got the remote control panel. Maybe somehow the x10 got screwed up. Once again we wouldn't know how.
The question is: What can we do about it? I'm not calling an electrician because the last one looked at the wiring, turned white and then green and said he didn't understand it! Is there anything we can do to solve this mystery before I go out of my mind or we burn the house down?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Conspiracy Theory

High cabinets

Is there a conspiracy to deprive me of a full night's sleep?
Last night I'd just dozed off when Steven (who'd stayed up to get the cats in) came and woke me up. As usual he didn't just tell me what the problem was. He likes to work every last nerve by increasing the tension and anxiety level.
"Can you come to the kitchen?"
"Why, what's there?"
"Just come to the kitchen"
"But I'm asleep"
"No you're talking, so you're awake, so please come to the kitchen".
Now, you'd think after all these years I'd have learnt to JUST SAY NO, but I always fall for it.
I could hear the beeping on the balcony.
"Is that it, that's what you wanted me to hear?"
"Just come into the kitchen"
"It's a cicada"
"In the kitchen?"
By this time I was through the kitchen door and I switched on the lights and pointed to the alarm system.
"Stand on a chair and take the battery out of the motion sensor" You can see that I'm not at my politest when I think I've been woken up on a fool's errand.
Steven takes the chair and moves over to the wall ovens.
"It's coming from in there"
"Well open the cabinet then"
"I'm not going in there"
"Well I'm not standing on a chair". I opened the oven but there was nothing inside and the beeping continued.
Then Steven jumped on the chair, unscrewed the overhead halogen light bulb directly above the wall oven and the beeping stopped.
Then he screwed it back in. Nothing. He put the chair back, I turned off the lights and we went to bed.
He went to straight to sleep and I spent the night alternately fuming that he couldn't have sorted that little problem out without my help and wondering what caused the noise, and why unscrewing a light bulb fixed it.