Thursday, March 25, 2010

Smoke Alarm

Last night when I went to bed, a Nor'easter was predicted for our area: high winds, flooding rains - perfect weather to snuggle under our cozy comforter. I slept soundly through the rattling windows, howling wind or heavy downpours could rouse me from my sweet slumber. No, that was left to the smoke detector. Exactly one hour before the alarm clock was to sound, the smoke detector in our bedroom decided to announce that it needed a new battery. Beep (pause) beep (longer pause) double beep (pause and repeat). I thought of putting the pillow over my head, but then I was afraid I wouldn't hear the clock - in the highly unlikely event that I would actually fall back asleep, that is. Frustrated, I sat on the edge of the bed and glared at the smoke detector.

You couldn't wait just one more stupid hour, could you?

Oh, no. Naturally not. Certainly not. (The voice was most assuredly that of Alastair Sim--though not as he sounded when he was playing mean, crotchety Ebenezer Scrooge in the only really good film adaptation of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," but rather as the softer, wiser Scrooge after his spirited evening.) If it had indeed been me, that is.

(I must admit it was I who most closely resembled the nasty, ill-tempered miser at the moment.) One hour! I could have been cozy for one whole hour longer! Why, oh why, couldn't you have just waited?

Oh, dear me, no. (A sudden gust of wind literally shook the rafters.) It would have been inexcusable. Simply inexcusable. If it had indeed been me, that is.

(By now it registered to my sleepy brain that our bedroom smoke detector was denying that it had beeped. But then, there it was again: beep [pause] beep [longer pause] double beep [pause and repeat].) A-ha! It IS you!

No, madam, I'm afraid it is not. Perhaps you're just imagining it. Or it might be part of a nightmare brought on, perhaps, by a bit of undigested beef or an underdone potato....

(Beep [pause] beep [longer pause] double beep [pause and repeat]. I hurriedly slipped my feet into my slippers and shuffled over to stand directly beneath the smoke alarm. I cocked my head to listen more intently to the beeps, and, in actual fact, I was no longer certain that they were coming from our smoke detector. I opened the bedroom door and stood in the hall, waiting for the next round of beeps. No, the sound was definitely coming from our bedroom. My zombie-like daughter, son and husband all confirmed it. After scurrying around to find a battery and making sure my half-asleep husband didn't fall off the ladder replacing it, I crawled back under the covers for a dreamy twenty-five minutes more of sleep. But then it happened. Beep [pause] beep [longer pause] double beep [pause and repeat].) Nooohoho! This can't be happening!

Please, I beg not doubt your senses! Ignore not the beeps!

(Oh, that was just so funny. How do you ignore incessant beeping? After disconnecting the entire apparatus from the ceiling, my husband flung it onto the loveseat at the foot of our bed. It was then that we were apparently transported into an episode of The Twilight Zone, because the phantom beeping started again.) This is insane! It won't die! (We all stood under the hole where the smoke alarm once hung, staring in disbelief at what was happening. Then my son very calmly asked this simple question: Umm, don't you guys have a carbon monoxide detector in your room?) Aagghhhhh! (Hidden behind a chair hidden behind mounds of "stuff" was, indeed, a carbon monoxide detector. We pulled it out of the socket, interpreted the sequence of beeps to indicate a low battery, removed the battery and...stopped the beeping! My husband replaced the smoke detector and he and my children went back to sleep. I promised the carbon monoxide detector on the loveseat that I would get it a new battery, too, and then addressed the smoke detector.)

Oh, I don't know what to do. (Then I laughed a splendid laugh, a most illustrious laugh. The mother of a long, long line of brilliant laughs.)
Well, I guess you can tell I'm not a happy riser! Thanks for being so darned polite about the whole thing.

Think nothing of it, my dear. I never intended to alarm you. (And didn't I know it!)

(P.S. - a nod to Mr. Dickens for this one!)

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