The Smoke Detector’s Impeccable Timing

Last night both kids were in bed and asleep at 8:00.  To say I wasn’t just a little bit excited to jump in bed and catch up on all the shows that Ryan scoffs at when he sees them on the screen was a bit of an understatement.

I was about 15 minutes into an episode of House and I heard a chirp.  One thing about living in a complex of condos is that you can never assume the first noise you hear is in your condo.  I laid still, tuning my ears to hear and identify the location.  The first thought was, I hope it’s not in Rory’s room. Kamryn would sleep through a battery change, but Rory…he would be up, whining, crying and then claiming to be scared.  It would be a huge production.


OK, it’s definitely not in the kids’ rooms, but the next undesirable place – the living room.  We have huge vaulted ceilings in the living room and while the smoke detector isn’t at the very top, I can’t reach it with a chair.  I have to get the ladder.

The culprit.


The only ladder we have is a giant 12 foot monster that hangs on hooks on the balcony.  I am considered vertically challenged when it comes to reaching anything over my height of 5’4″.  I can’t even reach the ladder to get it down without something to stand on.


I grabbed a kitchen chair, carried it on the deck, kicked all the tricycles and bikes out of the way and climbed up on it.  Just for a visual, I had on green clover pajama pants for St. Patrick’s Day, red and white stripped, fuzzy, Christmas socks and a Dave Matthews Band dry-fit shirt that is 3 sizes too big that I think I inherited from my brother-in-law.  I kind of look like a homeless person who enjoys the holidays or at the very least a little crazy.

The ladder will remain here until Ryan gets home. No need for me to even attempt to get it back on the hooks.


The ladder was a little heavier than I remembered and as I was trying to hoist it off the hooks, I had a vision of me losing my grip and the ladder crashing through the window.  Wouldn’t that be a kick in the ass?  I did get the ladder down, albeit with quite a bit of clunking and banging.


With each and every chirp my adrenaline was increasing.  By this time, I was almost shaking and my face was flushed.  Not from overexertion, but for fear that I either wouldn’t be able to reach the smoke detector even with the ladder or the sudden realization that I may not have a replacement battery!


An immediate sense of urgency came over me.  I rummaged through our junk drawer and found a solitary 9V battery.  Thank you St. Patrick, patron saint of batteries.  No?  He is the patron saint of engineers, though.


I climbed the ladder and realized that I was breaking a lot of ladder rules.  I didn’t unfold the ladder, just leaned it up against the wall.  I didn’t have a spotter and it was looking like I may have to climb higher than the recommended rung.  In my mind, I kept thinking that I was accomplishing some amazing feat.  The higher I climbed up the ladder, the more I realized I was a little scared.  This coming from someone who recently was a finalist to win a skydiving adventure.


Damn that’s loud when you’re practically right next to the alarm.  I flipped open the cover, grabbed the battery and yanked it out, unleashing a long, piercing BEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!  I shoved the new battery in place and the deafening, high pitched beep started up, stopped and started again.  SHIT!  What did I do?  I was trying to see down the hall to make sure the kids’ doors remained closed and trying to decide if I should pull the battery out or grab the Maglight to smash the detector to shut it up.  Just as I was descending to get the flashlight, the beeping stopped.

My ears were ringing, my heart was racing, but most importantly, the kids were still asleep.  I climbed back in bed, hit play on the DVR and made it through about another 20 minutes of House before my batteries had exhausted, ie the adrenaline had worn off and I fell asleep.

1 thought on “The Smoke Detector’s Impeccable Timing

  1. Don’t you just hate that? It takes you five minutes to find the damn thing, another five minutes to figure out how to get up there, another five minutes to find a battery and another five minutes to stop your ears from ringing.

    It’s at times like these that I really wish I was a Timelord with a sonic screwdriver.

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