Friends, I feel like I have had so many frantic, ridiculous, frustrating, and funny stories to share with you all in the last couple of weeks, and I just, well, haven’t. The new semester and a still new-ish home routine have combined to create a life in which my formerly normal blogging windows are now missing. But no one wants to read about why someone hasn’t been blogging, so I’ll change the subject.
Here’s one of my stories.
Last week we had the most stressful and infuriating night over here. How bad was it? It was so bad that I channeled George Costanza’s dad, all “SERENITY NOW!,” and then announced I would be stress-eating an ice-cream bar (Magnum Gold bar mini — recommended). And I ate it and it was good. I ate it with full knowledge that I was stress eating regular dairy ice cream — the kind that makes me ill. And I did not care, because HOT DAMN, I needed it. Bourbon may also have been involved.
(So, okay, now that I have typed that, it doesn’t sound like my behavior was that bad. Maybe I need to channel my stress and rage into more dramatic and destructive outbursts? For the purpose of exciting blog posts? Regardless, it was bad enough that I should have, like, punched a wall, or something. Instead I yelled and ate dairy. I’ll express myself better next time. LET’S GET BACK TO THE STORY, OKAY?)
I’m going to sound like the biggest, whiniest baby in all the land when I tell you what happened, but this is it: it was the smoke detectors. Two of them started doing that low-battery chirp thing, you know?
Wait. Let me back up. Two days earlier, one of the smoke detectors had been doing its low-battery chirp and the dog was going absolutely insane. Something about the pitch at which it chirps must trigger a sense of alarm in dogs, or something, because Dude was not having it. I headed out to the nearest purveyor of 9-volt batteries, bought a pack, and we got that shit squared away.
Fast forward two days and then picture me and CW standing in the hallway, him on a step ladder, both of us staring up in utter bafflement as the renewed chirping continued above our heads. Nothing seemed to help: not the new battery, not a reset procedure we found online (that involved turning off the power to the entire house via the circuit breaker), not long strings of curse words, and certainly not the panicked yelping of the poor, terrifed, trembling, dachshund.
It seemed as if the smoke detector was possessed. I mean, for one thing, it had a brand new battery! It should not have been chirping. What the HELL, am I right? Not only that, the demon spirit possessing the one detector was now also influencing the other smoke detector in the house. At one point, CW was standing in the front hallway and I was in the back, both of us shouting at each other, “I think the noise is coming from YOURS!” It soon became clear that both detectors were malfunctioning. They seemed to continue chirping even with no batteries, with the house electricity cut off, and the units completely unplugged. Was the sound coming from somewhere up inside the ceiling, where all those dangling wires were? What even WAS this madness?
We tried the reset-via-circuit-breaker a few times and after the last time, when we plugged the smoke detectors back into their housings, they both just started sounding the regular alarm. Not the chirping; it was the your-shit’s-on-fire alarm. Full on, siren-wailing EMERGENCY! ALARM! PANIC! MODE! By that point, I think we were both ready to join the anxious hound dog cowering with his blankie in the back bathroom.
I made a call to our landlord and we placed the offending detector units in the garage to try to just get the evil things farther away from us and the house seemed, for a moment, blissfully quiet.
And then there it was. Again. The chirp. The unholy, insane-making, brain-splintering CHIRP.
[sounds of muffled rage]
Oh, okay, maybe it’s quiet now? I think it stoppe—
HONEY, I THINK THE CHIRPING IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE.
Oh yeah. The chirping was indeed coming from inside the house. Not from the garage, where we’d dumped the offending units. Not from the hole in the ceiling with the dangling wires. No.
Reader, have you guessed whence the chirping?
If you have, you are smarter than we are. That’s right, we are too dumb to notice that we have more than two smoke detectors. The chirping was coming from another unit inside CW’s office, just on the other side of the door from the original smoke detector — the one whose batteries we’d changed two days before. The chirping was sounding just two feet away from the smoke detector we had thought was possessed. It was chirping within arm’s reach of where we were standing in bafflement staring up at the hole in the ceiling and cursing. It was just. Right. There.
We replaced the battery. The chirping stopped.
Meanwhile, the two smoke detectors we thought were broken now really are broken. We can’t plug them back in without the alarm sounding. They’re being replaced. And there may be no more ice cream bars left but at least it’s fucking quiet in here now.