Things That Go Beep In The Night

First and foremost, this is a public service announcement.  From me to you.  NEVER purchase a Kidde smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector.  I feel the need to share this information with you, because I hear Home Depot advertising these psychotic, possessed alarms on the radio on a regular basis.  And I know better.  Do not question me, just trust me.

The smoke detectors in this house and I have a very rocky relationship.  A little more than a year ago, shortly after we moved in, I was home alone and rudely woken in the middle of the night by every smoke detector in the house going off.  This includes the damn Kidde carbon monoxide detector, which helpfully shouted “Fire! Fire!” and “Warning: Carbon Monoxide!” repeatedly.  (Did you know fire alarms could talk?  Because until that day, I did not.)  I will spare you the gory details, but long story short, it took a 3 AM visit from the fire department and new batteries in every detector to finally shut off the alarms.  We had to get a replacement for the malfunctioning Kidde detector.  And I was left permanently traumatized with a paralyzing fear of all smoke detectors and anything that goes “beep” (including my mother’s dryer).

So, you can imagine how happy I was at 4 AM last night when, as I was enjoying a dreamless sleep, a very loud BEEP invaded my subconscious.  I made the mistake of opening my eyes, and was greeted once again by every smoke detector in the house.  Luckily Nathan was home from work this time, and the smoke detectors went off after about a minute.  Being a veteran of malfunctioning smoke detectors, I knew our best course of action was to do what worked last time, which was the battery replacement.  Hence a 4 AM Walmart run for 9 volt batteries.  We got the batteries replaced and were asleep by 5 AM.  And that was that.  Or SHOULD have been that.

So you can imagine how even more pleased I was when tonight, now that I am home alone for the weekend, one of the smoke detectors upstairs beeped loudly three times.  No windows open, no food cooking, nothing – I was just downstairs watching TV.  I could not believe this was happening to me again.  I briefly considered running to my mom & dad’s house for the weekend and leaving the house to fend for itself.  But then that would mean that I let the smoke detectors win. 

I couldn’t call the fire department for advice because for some reason they do not make their non-emergency line public.  If someone knows the number, please share!  I certainly was not calling 911.  Luckily, we have a good family friend who is a fire fighter, and luckily he was home when I called.  Apparently something that can happen commonly with smoke detectors is the membrane in them gets dirty, or blocked by something like a dust or creepy crawly spider, and that will set them off. 

So, Nathan’s friend Chris came over with his girlfriend to help.  He took down all three smoke alarms (one beeping in protest) and cleaned them out with the air compressor (loud beeping protests from all).  We thought we had identified two of the three as possible culprits, so I told him to only put one back up, and I took the batteries out of the other two.  Just as I am thinking how smart I am, both disconnected, battery-less smoke alarms start going off at random intervals.  And oddly enough, beeping noises then seemed to start coming from the holes in the ceiling.  And just to top off the sundae with a cherry, the one smoke alarm we had hooked back up decided to beep some more too.  WHY!?!?!?!?

So, all the smoke detectors went back up.  All three got reset, of course with lots of loud beeping and shouts of “FIRE! FIRE!” from the evil talking Kidde downstairs.  I am sure my neighbors were just loving me, as it was after midnight.  (It serves them right.  It’s called payback, people.)  Finally, all was quiet.  Chris, his girlfriend, and I were congratulating ourselves on a job well done.  And as they went to walk out the door, we heard a faint, but familiar “Beep!” from upstairs.

I give up.

Clearly these smoke detectors are possessed.  I don’t know how, but they know when I am home alone.  And why do they only go off in the middle of the night?  They win.  I have no other strategies up my sleeve besides beating all three smoke detectors with a baseball bat, but based on tonight I am not even sure that would work.  So, since it is now 1 AM, I am going to watch TV in the hopes that I will relax enough at some point to fall asleep, and that all will stay quiet.

And if I hear one more beep?  I am out of here, and this house is on its own!

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