One day last week at 2:15 a.m. the smoke alarms went off. All of them. There was no smoke or fire. Just one irate former sleeper and a groggy spouse. And four cats hiding under the beds. Our alarms only go off in the middle of the night. Here is what happened last time we went through this.
Something was pinging at 1:30 a.m. Yes, I said a.m.
Smoke detectors pick the dumbest time to die.
It pinged every 20 seconds from the alarm in my bedroom. It was about 15 feet from my formerly sleeping body. It woke me from a sound sleep in the middle of my deep REM. (I’m not sure what that means but it sounds scientific.)
My first thought was that there was a fire but the alarm would be loud and annoying and gorgeous men would be climbing in my window to save me. (I’m a sucker for a man in uniform!)
At first I tried to ignore it. I knew it wasn’t the battery because the beloved husband had checked them the week before. It was something wonky.
Ping! You can’t sleep with something pinging.
I looked over and the beloved husband was snoring like a drunken sailor on shore leave. He has trouble sleeping so I debated whether I should wake him up or let him sleep until the pinging did its job on him.
Another ping. No movement from the drunken sailor.
I woke him up. Misery loves company and he may have a clue on how to stop it from tormenting me.
He rolled out of bed and took the battery out. It kept on pinging. Our alarms are all wired together electrically.
He turned off the circuit breaker. It kept on pinging.
I am lying in my nice warm bed while all this was going on. Having some level of guilt (very low) I said in a very soft hard-to-hear voice, “Do you want me to help you?” He either didn’t hear me or ignored me.
Either way I was golden. I hate running around at 2 a.m. (yes, it was 2 a.m. now) when I really should be sleeping.
He pulled out the manual. You know how some people have English as a second language? The person who wrote this manual had English as a 27th language. Nothing was easy to understand.
It was missing a trouble-shoot section too. You know the one. “If your cake comes out of the oven lopsided, you live on the side of a mountain. Move to the bottom flat part and your cakes will be even.” That’s the kind of advice they give.
Sometimes the first thing they suggest you do is “make sure the device is turned on.”
Really? Most Americans only go to the manual after they have done everything their intuition and Mr. Google has suggested. First up is usually to turn the thing on.
Back to the problem – After research and trial and error, he pulled ALL the batteries out and put the circuit breaker back on.
It stopped pinging.
He crawled back to bed and before you know it he was snoring like that drunken sailor again.
However, I was lying in bed wondering if we were properly protected from a fire. I lived in houses for 30 years without any alarm system but now I was terrified. I couldn’t sleep.
It didn’t help that most of the cats were also snoring like drunken sailors.
Then I wondered how I would save four cats if there was a fire. You need a plan. We don’t have a plan. We are doomed.
I could grab two and the beloved husband could grab two but one of them would be hiding under the bed. How long would it take to coax her out? That also means we don’t rescue our wallets or pocketbooks or anything like that.
Not even extra underwear. No makeup for the photos taken as we exit the house with four cats and a gorgeous fire fighter. This is heady stuff to worry about at 3:30 a.m.
Around 5 a.m. I was exhausted and fell asleep only to wake up an hour later. The taste of worry was still in my mouth. Either that or the garlic from last night.
Ultimately we may change out all the alarms. I don’t want to go through this again and we are not sure which one is bad. Mr. Google also said they have a life span of ten years.
We have been in our brand new home for eleven years. We have replaced ALL the kitchen appliances along with the heat pump, humidifier and water heater. Now we will replace the fire alarms. I am convinced that you should move every 7 seven years to be safe.
Editor’s note: That was 3 years ago and we still have no idea how we will ever get the cats out in an emergency. I walked around last week and couldn’t find any of them. They were probably under the beds. It could take forever to get any one of them out.