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Saturday, September 5, 2015

Alarmed

We got up early a few days ago and both realized that we hadn't had enough sleep the night before. At some point, both of us said that we sure could use a nap, so we decided to do just that. Trent settled down and quickly began dozing off, while I plugged in to an audio book to help me ease into sleep. We were both in that delicious state where consciousness is almost gone and the body is completely relaxed. Suddenly the peace was shattered by a rudely loud BEEP! from the living room.

Our apartment is well equipped with smoke detectors and we are lucky that they are hard-wired into the building's electrical system, meaning that we never have to change batteries on a shrieking smoke alarm that is telling us, "I'm hungry! Batteries NOW!" We knew that it was the carbon monoxide detector high up on a wall in the living room, because we have had to feed it batteries before. We chose to continue our lovely nap because it would be a while before it gave the my-battery-is-beginning-to-get-low beep another time.

Again, we slipped off toward slumber, and the rude BEEP! sounded again. It hadn't even been twenty minutes, so we figured that maybe changing the battery was more urgent than we originally thought. I grumbled and grabbed my glasses (because I really shouldn't be allowed to walk across a room without them) before searching for a battery. We both seemed to recall that the protective loudmouth took a 9-volt battery, and I remembered seeing one just the other day. As you probably know, when you find an odd-sized battery in your home, it's generally when you do not need it. I suggest writing down where the battery is lounging about, because you will have a hard time finding it when you really do need it. Of course if your luck runs like mine, you won't bother making a note of the location, because you'll never be able to figure out where the note is anyway.

Now, I've pulled the monoxide monster off of the wall before. It's in a spot that's high enough to require stepping on something, anything, that will lift you a couple of feet off of the floor. Mm, yeah, we keep forgetting to buy a step-stool or mini-ladder, because you don't often need one in an apartment. When you do, you miss it terribly and curse yourself for being an idiot who doesn't even have a stinking step-stool. You grab one of your dining chairs and make your poor not-as-young-and-flexible-as-they-used-to-be knees go through the strain of making one huge step instead of two small ones. You have your spouse holding onto your legs so that you don't step off the chair into a void and break one or more of your body parts. And when you finish the job, you step back down off the chair and fall down. Well, at least that's how it happened to me last time, so I didn't want to make the climb this time around.

Trent was kind enough to volunteer for the chair-climb, and fetched the alarm so that I could replace the battery. I could see instructions on the front of the device that said it required 3 double A batteries. No problem, we stocked up on those little beasties recently. I began to open the battery compartment and got absolutely nowhere. I pushed and prodded and tried from numerous angles, and couldn't get the darn thing to open. Trent tried too, and both of us even tried using the magical stretchy thingy that we use for jars with tight lids. Nope. I even took a table knife to it. Not budging. We were both disgusted and said we would just wait and call the maintenance staff to change the batteries and hang it back up on the wall. We knew that since it was a Monday they would be too busy to change it that day and decided to wait until Tuesday to make the call.

We set the alarm on a table to wait for its battery change, and went on with our day. We completely forgot about the alarm until we walked through the room and saw it, because it was wonderfully silent after that. A little of this, a little of that, some dinner, some television, a bit of chit-chat later, and we were ready for our late bedtime. We said our good nights and settled our heads on our cool pillows. As we drifted blissfully toward sleep, BEEP! sounded crankily from the living room. I had had it, and so had Trent. We stormed out to the living room to grab the shouting device. The adrenaline must have been flowing, because I popped it open in record time. We pulled out the batteries and began replacing them with fresh ones. As I held the detector in one hand and snapped the last battery into place with the other, BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! it proclaimed, letting me know that it was still alive and well.

Now, I know that it's a fail safe built into the device so that you know the batteries are installed properly. But a device that is loud enough to wake you from a deep sleep in another room is wretchedly, painfully loud when it starts to screech in your hand, which is never more than a few feet from your eardrums unless you're Mister Fantastic and have those super-stretchy rubberized arms. Of course, if you did have those arms, you would never have missed the step-stool, and you'd have a grip that could open just about anything that seemed stuck. And if you were Mister Fantastic, your alarm wouldn't be sitting on the table again, waiting for you to get ready to climb up on the dining chair. It'll go back up as soon as we get stronger batteries. That's right, we're waiting until we have some stronger batteries...that's it...