Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fair Warning About Smoke Alarms

Warning! This could happen to you!

I decided it was time to replace the 9-volt batteries in the two smoke alarms yesterday, but when I looked at them, it seemed like they were awfully old and maybe the smoke alarms themseles should be replaced. Though it is true that I can't stay on a ladder very long (I get dizzy these days), I bought a pair of alarms at Wal*Mart and later was lucky that my brother in law (who's older than me) came along and changed them out. I felt a little creepy about it because I could have done the job if I could stay on the ladder properly, but I can't do it any more. Anyway, everybody breathed a small sigh of relief.

Before 24 hours had passed, I returned to the house after burning some pine straw and tree debris, sat at the kitchen table to watch the news, but immediately started hearing that high-pitched ping-ping-ping!

"What the hell?" I thought. The alarm didn't seem to be coming from the right direction, so I thought about killing the TV, but in the end just turned the power off. I could now clearly determine that the sound was coming from behind me as I faced the hallway with the two new alarms!

"What the shit?!"

The sound led me through the kitchen and into the laundry room where nothing was evident about what was "alarming" and Where it was alarming from! Was the washer or dryer on fire somehow? No, no, not that. That alarm note was killing my brain (as I guess it was meant to do) and I became desparate to find it. Finally, after the longest five minutes of my life, I bent down toward the kitchen garbage can and the noise was very close indeed then. It occurred to me at last that one of the discarded smoke alarms must still have a battery in it!

"Goddamn battery!"

I thought that both had been checked and removed, but it wasn't so. My best guess is that the smoke from my debris fire in the back yard has eased it's way into the laundry room and down into the garbage. I only hope the new ones work so well if there's ever a real fire in the house.

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Abandon hope, all ye who enter here! (At least put on your socks and pants.)