Every year along with her other holiday gift items, mom always includes a few stocking stuffers in the UPS box, items that often have the “As seen on TV,” logo emblazoned across the package.
One of the little stocking stuffers that caught my eye this year was a key-finder alert that attached to your keys. With a whistle or a clap you could set off an alarm and flashing red LED light that would alert you to the location of your keys.
I rarely misplace my keys, they’re either in the truck or in my pocket but the device interested me.
I went out to retrieve my keys from the truck and attach them to the key-finder.
I tossed the assembly on the dresser and turned to leave the room. The impact set off the finder and a repeating beep, beep, beep, beep with a flashing red LED.
“Okay, so more that just a whistle will set it off, good to know.”
Turns out a whole lot more than whistling would set the repeating audio alarm and flashing light off.
Sneezing in the living room, shutting a cabinet door, walking passed the dresser a little too fast, all would set off the repeating beep, beep, beep, and red light for three or four sequences before resetting.
The key-finder did not have an on/off switch
The package said alarm helps you “keep track of your keys.”
I understand how.
After a day of beeping and flashing lights every time I moved too fast or made a loud noise I was totally conscious of where my keys were at all times.
Like Pavlov’s dogs, after a few trips setting the alarm off as I passed through the room I found myself instinctively slowing down when I approached the “key zone.”
While doing dishes in the kitchen I was extra cautious placing the plates in the drainer so the clank didn’t set off the alarm. I even turned down the surround sound a bit so the television wouldn’t set off the finder.
Lightning didn’t care much for the finder either. The beeping sounded quite a bit like the warning tone his collar makes just before shocking him for moving outside his perimeter.
Every time it would go off his ears would perk up and he nervously look about the room like a cardiac patient during a flat-line alarm.
By nightfall I was trained to move about the house without disturbing the finder too often. I put the dogs out and lay down in my bed.
About 2 a.m. the day after Christmas, I arose to such a clatter.
No it wasn’t Santa Claus and eight tiny reindeer making a return trip. It was a flashing red LED and a computerized beep, beep, beep.
Page 2 of 2 - I discovered the source that set off the alarm as I settled back in my bed and a bark from Lightning outside my window set off the finder’s computerized warning.
Lighting would bark and the alarm would go off. I holler at Lightning for barking, and the alarm would go off.
3 a.m., dog bark, beep, beep, beep, 4 a.m., dog bark, beep, beep beep, 5 a.m., beep, beep, bee… I got up put on my boots and carted the truck keys and beeping finder back out to the truck where they started about 18 hours earlier.
I told Lightning, who was now sleeping in the front yard to shut up, and went back in for a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Monday, as I got in the truck and grab for my keys, the beep, beep, beep of the finder started again.
“You know, I almost never misplace my keys. What I can’t seem to keep track of are the dogs. What I need…”
My mind never finished the statement as my eyes caught sight of Lightning peacefully snoozing near the driveway.
I grabbed a carabiner clip from the truck and when the keeper quit beeping I walked over and clipped it to Lightning’s collar.
As I started the engine on the truck, I saw the red flashing light on the finder go off, and I watched as Lightning nervously checked his surroundings then walked a little closer to the house.
The finder may not keep him in the yard for long, but at least when I get home, I’ll know how to find him.
Terry Spradley is the editor of the St. John News, his e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org