Hay’s Daze: One too many beeps

“You have to get up, the smoke detector is beeping and it won’t stop!” The Better Half is almost always up before me on weekends and she almost always lets me sleep in. I figure it’s on account that she appreciates the quiet alone time without me staggering around the kitchen like an uncoordinated zombie (is there any other kind?).

I com-mumble (which is my cross between complaining and mumbling) and drag myself more or less partially awake enough to stand up and sure enough, I hear a quick loud sharp BEEP! And then it’s gone. Good, I think, false alarm, and I fall back into bed with gratitude in my heart. Ten seconds later: BEEP! I groan. I know what this means – it means I have to change the battery. And it also means saying a sad goodbye to my pillow.

So I mumble-plain some more and I stumble around and drag a chair up from the kitchen to the upstairs hallway. BEEP! I climb precariously onto the chair, reach up and after fiddling and fumbling for tens of minutes I finally figure out how to unscrew the smoke detector from its mount on the ceiling. I let it dangle from some dangerous looking attached wires. BEEP!

‘Hmmm,’ I say to myself out loud. ‘I thought it was battery operated.’ So I trudge down three flights of stairs of our split level down to my dungeon office, and with a flush of embarrassment, click on the desktop and Google “how to change battery in smoke detector.”

Turns out wired smoke detectors have a battery backup in case the power goes out, and the interweb video shows me where the battery door is. So I trudge back up three flights of stairs, climb up on the chair, wobble around, grab the smoke alarm and start poking, and prying and, um, swearing. There is no battery door. BEEEEP!

Back downstairs, rummage around for a screw driver, back upstairs, up onto the chair, insert screwdriver into the plastic and SNAP! Break smoke alarm in half. There is no battery. Pause. BEEEEP!

Back downstairs to the computer, ten more minutes of research. Apparently “older” smoke alarms may not have batteries. Ours is very old. Grab wire cutter and trudge slowly back up three flights of stairs. Up onto chair, alarm hanging there. Remember that I didn’t shut the power off. BEEEP!

Back downstairs, sweating, out of breath. Grumpy. Yell to B.H. to tell me when upstairs hall lights are off. Start snapping off breakers. All house lights, clocks, appliances, Wi-Fi and TV cable boxes etc. die.

Back upstairs, painfully slow now. Up on chair, wobble some more. Grab stupid smoke detector; pull hard so all the wires hang out of ceiling. Cackle hysterically and CUT all wires in one triumphant SNIP!

“There!” I practically shout, right out loud. “You little piece of…” BEEEEP!

Nearly fall off chair. Standing up there in a darkened house, wires hanging harmlessly from the ceiling, broken battery-less smoke alarm in my hand. I wait. Baited breath. Yep.


What the…? I climb down off the chair, a little dizzy more on account of the phantom beeping than the chair. The Better Half really wants to know why the house is beeping, and she also wouldn’t mind some electricity back. I seriously need a coffee and a nap.

And then I see it. Under the chair, plugged into a socket on the hall wall. My new carbon monoxide detector. About two months ago I figured it was time we got a carbon monoxide detector. It plugs into the wall. It has a backup battery. Which sounds exactly like a smoke alarm.

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