Ding-Dong!

Growing up in the country, we didn’t really have much use for a doorbell. I think our old farmhouse maybe has one by the back door, but clearly if I don’t remember ever hearing it or it being in working condition (and my parents have lived there my entire life), it wasn’t a dominant fixture in my childhood. What we did have, however, was so much cooler. We had a dinger.

A what you ask? In my life now, a dinger is another word for thinger, both of which are terms I use in place of common nouns or when I can’t remember the name of something. Seeing as HD is using the word thinger all the time now, I can tell that I must use it a lot; that should be fun when he starts preschool this fall!

In my past life, though, as a kid growing up in rural South Dakota, a dinger was our version of a doorbell. Essentially, we had one of those tubes that you used to see at service/gas stations that signals to the people inside that someone has driven over it and is now on the property. I have no idea if this a correct dictionary term, nor am I going to bother looking it up; it is just a word that my family uses and understands. Really though, as a kid, it was the coolest thing ever and I think some of my “city friends” (in SoDak, Yankton is considered a city) wished they could have dingers too.

When Ben & I bought our first house, it too had no doorbell. We figured we needed something, so we got one of those lovely devices that allows you stick the bell/button to the outside of the house and then chimes from the box that you simply plug in an outlet anywhere inside your home. Brilliant. I was super excited to have my very first, very own doorbell!

But then we started getting phantom dings. Our chime would go off in the house and we would go to the door, but no one would be there. We’d check the back door and no one would be there either. If you know me at all, you know I do NOT like ghost or horror stories, so this whole ding-dong/nobody did it thing really bothered me for a while.

Then, over time, we started noticing a pattern. Our chime would sound and when we’d check the door, we wouldn’t see anyone on our porch but we would see someone standing at our neighbor’s front door. After this happened a half dozen times or so, we realized that we had the exact same plug in doorbell as our sweet, older neighbor lady! People ringing her doorbell were making ours sound as well!

Bizarre, but this whole dual doorbell thinger was not really an issue until we got dogs (who freaked when the doorbell “rang”), but even then, it was still not a real issue until Harrison was born (and the freaking out dogs woke the sleeping baby). But, an easy enough solution was before us: unplug the receiver and people could push our button or the neighbor’s button all day long and there were no ding-dongs in our house. Perfect.

In our new house, we’ve not been quite so lucky. Turns out, we have a doorbell and it functions exactly as it should. In fact, it’s rather ironic because this doorbell seems to be SO permanent a fixture in our house, that we can’t really do a darn thing about it. It is housed in this beautiful light fixture in our downstairs hallway that stays on all. the. time. There’s no switch and no way (that we can see) to even take out the bulb (it makes a great nightlight but is also kind of annoying when you don’t want light creeping in on sleeping babies when opening bedroom doors – just sayin’). Surely there must be a way, because no light bulb can run forever, but for now, it remains a mystery.

Since there is no current way to disconnect the light, we’ve also found no way to disconnect the bell. This means that people can ring at our front door or side door any time and we hear it anywhere in the house. Harrison was delighted with this feature of the new digs and for the first few months, he would go running through the house saying, “DING-DONG! DING-DONG!” any time it rang. Hilarious, except for when it happened (twice!) one night as we were getting the kiddos ready for bed.

Thankfully our evening ding-dongs have been relatively few and far between, but in the last few weeks, we have again had bedtime bells. The first time, as I was rocking/nursing Raegan and heard the doorbell, I saw Harrison leave his room. Fortunately, he was not yelling, “DING-DONG!” as he did it. Ben simply walked him back to bed and that was it. The second time he didn’t leave his room, although I could tell he wasn’t yet asleep. Both times, Raegan somehow managed to stay in her going-to-sleep mode and I escaped the nursery nook, although never in time to see who was at the door. So really, not so much an issue at all, at least not for the kids.

If anything, the real problem in all of this is me. I am still so unaccustomed to having a doorbell that my heart about leaps out of my chest every time I hear it, especially at night. I don’t know if this is my country childhood creeping up or some sort of sleep-deprived nervous tick that I’ve developed…what I do know is that I either need to find a way to dismantle that darn hallway fixture (at least for a few years until we are done having small ones who need to nap and go to bed early), or I need to get after a Pinterest idea and place a sign like this on the front door:

Honestly, I’m not sure which approach I might get to first!

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