Wednesday, December 19, 2012


This was written in early November but I forgot to post it!!

Beep...     Beep...     Beep...  ....  Annoying, isn't it? That's what I thought before I went to bed last night. I knew what it was - a smoke detector, but I didn't know where it was. I stood in the middle of the house, waiting for the next beep so I'd be able o locate it and hopefully take out the battery. Of course, it stopped beeping. I get into bed, get settled and ...beep. Bastard! But I was tired and I figured it would stop eventually. Guess what... it didn't.

4:15am: I hear the constant beep beep beeping of the alarm. It won't stop. Well, at least I'll be able to find it I think. I get up, four cats, thinking it's breakfast time, surround me. As soon as I step into the living room, I realize the beeping is coming from the front hall. I grab my rayovac LED flashlight that's been sitting on the couch since Hurricane Sandy threatened me last week. I head into the hall and the beeping is SO LOUD! You see, my front hall is huge. It's "open" all the way to the attic, three floors up. So the beeping is echoing, at least that's what I think.

I make my way through the hall and I find the culprit, it's stupid green eye blinking at me. The problem is, the ceilings are so high, there's no way I can reach this thing. Luckily, I have my cane with me. Steadying the flashlight in one hand and the cane in the other, I raise the cane high over my head and I can just reach the detector. I'm able to "smash" it just right to release the cover, but no matter how hard I try, I can't dislodge the battery. On the fourth try, I hear something else. Another beep beep beeping from higher up. The attic I think.

Well, now I'm a little worried. It's one thing to have one smoke detector go off because of a weak battery, but two? At the same time? A little too much of a coincidence for me. So I do the first thing any logical, rational person would do. I go to the bathroom. My thought process is that if I call 911 and they make me evacuate, I'll have to go SO bad that I'll be really uncomfortable while the house burns down, ya know? So yeah, I decided to "evacuate" on my own first.

That done, I do the next most important thing - I text my sister.  No response. Why the hell isn't SHE up at 4:45 in the morning?! Sheesh! So now I wait, debating on what to do. If I call 911 and there's nothing wrong not only will I feel stupid, but I wonder if they send you a bill? "One trip to determine batteries in detector are old = $4500". !  So I wait... beep... and wait... beep... and I think I pass out on the couch a little but then ...beepbeepbeep... and then my sister calls me back. I tell her what's going on and she asks if I want her to come over. I tell her I'd be glad if she were here but she doesn't have to come. That was the honest answer. I agree to call 911 then call her back when it's all over.

"Thisis911stateemergencythiscallisbeingrecordedwhatisyouremergency?" I explain the situation, that it may not be an emergency but I hear not one but two smoke alarms going off, though I smell no smoke (only cigarette smoke from some of the people that were in the hall/on the porch this afternoon, but I don't say that). I tell her that I'm not able to reach the alarm here or go up the stairs to look at the other one. She transfers me to my towns emergency system. "Thisis911emergencythiscallisbeingrecordedwhatisyouremergency?" And I tell this guy the same thing. So he transfers me to the town fire department. "FireDepartmentemergencythiscallisbeingrecordedwhatisyouremergency?" And for the third time I explain. The woman says they'll send an engine out.

By now it's about 5:15 and I'm exhausted, but I go back into the ...beepbeepbeep... hall, open the front door to the porch and wait for the engine. While I'm standing there waiting, I see a small car across the street - actually I hear it first. It's filled with 3 or 4 young guys, talking "shit". I can hear them "Y0-Yo-Yoing", cursing and laughing. And all I can think is, wtf are they doing up so early?.. or so late? Then I see blue flashing lights at the top of my street. And so do they. And the car that was rocking with noise 5 seconds ago is now completely still. Guilty conscience much? Ha!

So the police officer arrives first, comes up onto the porch and asks me what the problem is. Ummmm... can you not hear the ...BeepBeepBeep? You're standing right under it! Is what I think but I don't say that. Contrary to popular belief, I do sometimes have a filter! I explain what's going on and he climbs a few stairs to reach the smoke alarm. As he's doing this, I see my sisters car pull up out front. God love her. She's always there for me.

Right behind her is the ladder engine and the fire chiefs car. I can hear the boys in the car talking now but with a lot less spirit and bravado. I want to point them out to the police officer just in case they were up to no good, but I figure that might be some kind "profiling" - you know - picking on young loud boys in cars or something - so I don't say anything. But I do explain to the new arrivals about the alarms going off simultaneously and this time, I DO mention that people were smoking in the hallway the afternoon before. Just in case there's a smoldering ash somewhere.

So all the guys (no women on the early morning shift I guess!) head upstairs to the attic, or so I think. With my sister being there, I take the opportunity to retreat back into the warmth of my living room and sit my ass down on the couch, as I'm about ready to keel over from standing too long. I hear the men doing their manly thing, talking their official jargon, using their walkies to report their position to the station etc.

The original policeman comes to the house door now and says that the smoke detector in the hall and the one in the second floor apartment were both going off but it's just the batteries. You know - those stupid 9 volts whose only use as far as I know is those damned detectors. Why don't they run on double A's like everything else, anyway?... He says he can smell paint in the apartment and maybe the fumes set it off, but most likely the batteries need to be replaced. I ask him if he doesn't think it's strange that the batteries would "expire" at the same time. I know you're supposed to replace them every time it's daylight savings  but to have them both beep at the same time? Coincidence? You be the judge!

So everyone leaves and I finally have some peace and quiet. Even the guys in the car are gone. My bed is calling me so I shut the lights off and crawl under the covers to try and get a few hours sleep. I get comfortable, All the cats take their positions  and we settle in. Ahhh... bed....   BEEPBEEPBEEP!!!  WTF?!?!?!?!? THEY DIDN'T TAKE THE BATTERY OUT OF THE ALARM IN THE HALLWAY!!!??? Are you kidding me?!?! And that's my last thought as I pass out from exhaustion. When I wake up... beepbeepbeep... I text my sister and tell her and she laughs. So I take back the nice things I just said about her. I text Shelley, the woman moving in upstairs and she says she will take care of it. And she does. And now I can relax. I sit on the couch and I hear BEEPBEEPBEEP from the back hall. A concerted effort by the smoke alarms to drive me into insanity. But HA! I showed them! It's still beeping, so there!

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