Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tampering is a Federal Offense

We'd been asleep for about an hour last night when the smoke alarm in the foyer started chirping because of a low battery. "What's that noise?" I said to Ryan, playing dumb. "I think it's the smoke alarm. It's low on batteries." "Huh" I said, then pretended to go to sleep.


"How do you fix it?" playing dumb again "Do we have any batteries?" knowing full well that we did not have any batteries since we had just looked for one to put in the baby monitor so we could continue drinking beer in the culdesac with our friends after the boys went to bed. That search and this one turned up no nine volt batteries, which was terribly disappointing in both cases.

Ryan sighed deeply and got out of bed. Supportive wife that I am, I tried to go back to sleep.


I heard Ryan bumping around. The chirping continued. Curious, I went downstairs to investigate.

"In my old house I used to just knock it off the ceiling with a spatula and take the battery out when this happened" I offered.


"I can't do that."


"BECAUSE!" Here he reached up and twisted and pulled on the smoke alarm until it popped off the ceiling and hung from a thick white wire.

"What the hell is THAT?"


"It's a power cord."

"A POWER CORD?! If it has a power cord then why the %#@$ is it beeping?"

"Because the battery is low."

[blink blink blink]


"It needs the battery so it will still work if the power goes out."

"But the power is NOT OUT! So why is it beeping?"

"I think I need to go buy a battery."

"Why on earth do we even HAVE a smoke alarm in the FOYER? It's not even a real ROOM. This is the dumbest thing ever. EVER!!"

Am prone to hyperbole when awakened from a deep sleep.


Fifteen minutes of chirping later I heard Ryan return from the store, but the beeping continued. I got downstairs just as Ryan was dragging a huge ladder in from the garage.

"I put the stupid battery in and it's STILL BEEPING. Frackity frack frack frack."


"OH MY GAWD can't you just cut that stupid WIRE or something? GOSH this is THE STUPIDEST THING EVER! If I want to die in a fire it's my business, not the stupid smoke alarm's!!!!"

Am prone to exaggeration and not very helpful when half asleep.

"I can't cut the wire because I WOULD BE ELECTROCUTED!"



He climbed up the ladder muttering something about stupid new houses with their stupid high ceilings, punctuating the major adjectives with angry footsteps on the ladder. He squinted at the three point font on the side of the smoke alarm for a moment then he took the battery out, put it back in, and slammed the battery compartment closed forcefully.

"That freaking thing better not..."



LL said...

omg this made me laugh out loud, I even read it to JP.

I love the image of two PhD's whacking a smoke detector with a spatula, and while I know that didn't really happen, I'm going to pretend it did.

Kyla said...

Hahaha! Glad it worked out.

Becca said...

@LL: The spatula thing did happen! It used to go off for no reason when I cooked in my kitchen. But I wasn't a PhD then. I wasn't even in grad school.

AJU5's Mom said...

OKay, that is just a pain! Why did the install it in a location that can only be accessed by a ladder? Oh - and I guess it was one of those rare wiring jobs that was actually done well so that he couldn't just pull it down?

Kim said...

Hahaha, this is too funny!

We had a hard-wired chirper after we moved into our place out here, and since I am terrified of wires with electricity in them and am accident-prone with ladders, I replaced all our smoke detectors with the kind that has a battery that lasts for 10 years.

I hope you both got back to sleep!

Alyssa said...

Oh man - that's the most frustrating thing ever!! Yet, funny, because it didn't happen to me! Hehe!

Sarah said...

Ha! Good thing you guys are both scientists because me and Ben? With our degrees in the humanities? We would have called the fire department and evacuated.

justwondering said...

heheeheee...delurking here, because seriously this happened to me a couple months ago when my hubby was out of town, and I could not open the battery compartment for the life of me. It would beep for a couple hours, then it would be silent for 12, then at midnight or so it would decide to start beeping again. I was ready to bash it with a hammer!!!

Rima said...

"If I want to die in a fire it's my business, not the stupid smoke alarm's!!!!"

I love it! Glad you fixed the little bugger, and no one got electrocuted!

sarah said...

LOL, too funny. Have you seen the Friends episode when Phoebe deals with the chirping fire alarm? Your story is even better.