My latest problem is not new, nor is unique to me, but rather it is smoke-detector-for-home-safety-480x320something that many of us have experienced at one time or another. This time, however, it was worse than usual.

Imagine you are lying in bed, late at night, when you are awakened from a sound sleep by the beep of a smoke alarm. It is not the constant beeping that alerts you to call the fire department, but rather the intermittent beep that alerts you to the fact that the battery in the smoke detector is low. It beeps about once every 40 seconds (I timed it) to let you know that you should change the battery. This is a good warning but not at four o’clock in the freaking morning!

If I have a smoke detector with a low battery, I will change that battery at a reasonable time, like noon, but I am not getting up in the middle of the night to look for batteries and a ladder. Unfortunately, the smoke detector does not care about my intentions and will continue to beep every 40 seconds until  its needs are met.

I tried to block out the beep with earplugs and pillows over my head but I couldn’t stop it. Eventually, at about 6AM, I got out of bed to find the beeping bastard. The problem is that I have five smoke detectors in my home and I don’t know which one has the low battery.

One by one, I dismantled each and every smoke detector. I removed the batteries and unplugged each one from the hard wire connection. I now had five impotent smoke detectors and figured I had solved the problem. I went back to bed and as soon as I laid down, BEEEEEP. WTF!

This problem was now above my expertise so I called the people who should know what to do, the fire department. I didn’t want to alarm them (pun intended) so I did not call 911 but the non-emergency number listed in the phone book. It being Saturday, I got voice mail. Next, I called the police non-emergency number and told them my problem. They said they’d send someone from the fire department. Minutes later a hook and ladder truck with flashing lights showed up in front of my house.

The firemen came in and examined everyone of my disabled smoke detectors, as baffled as I was. It wasn’t until one of the detectors beeped again, this time while the fireman was holding it. He said, “I think we found the problem.”

Apparently smoke alarms can live long after they have been taken off life support and he suggested that I throw the detector away, which I did, and it continued to beep in the garbage!

I now have all new smoke detectors in my house and only have to contend with nosy neighbors who come over and ask me why the fire truck was in front of my house. I simply explained to them, “Apparently when you are cooking meth, you have to watch it all the time.” Maybe next time they won’t be so nosy.

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