Thursday, July 19, 2007

The night of a thousand alarms

Yesterday was a crazy day. Monkey Man had his physical and shots for kindergarten, which Joey had promised me weeks ago that he would handle. And as the construction gods would have it, he ended up with three bids due before 2 PM and the appointment was at 2:25 at the total opposite end of the city from daycare. And of course Joey's office is smack in the middle.

So being the good little wifey and mommy, I left work at 11 - ran back down to daycare to pick MM up, then back to my office where I fed him lunch and managed to keep him as quiet as possible while playing obnoxious Noggin computer games on my laptop. Then at 2 I ran him up to my brother-in-law's office for the physical where Joey met us and took it from there. It was also 97 degrees, Joey had done a bunch of loading and unloading of office furniture yesterday and general running around, so by the time I met him for dinner we were both already whipped.

But did our day end there? Noooo. It's swim lesson time! I swam a few laps and then collapsed in the chair until the lesson was over, then we goofed around for a while and headed home. MM got his bath and we were all just walking zombies at that point. And snippy. And tired. You know I'm tired when I don't even boot up my laptop to check emails, read blogs, or anything.

I expected after getting a bunch of immunizations yesterday that MM would be up at least once during the night complaining about being sore. But boy, was I wrong.

At 12:36 AM, and this is because the time is seared into my brain, all of the smoke alarms started blaring. Now, we've been down this road before - we have one of those new systems that is hard-wired into the power for the house, but has battery backup. The problem with these systems is when one detector has problems then they all go off simultaneously. It's not like the detector with the problem cheeps or gives any indication that there's anything wrong - the whole damn system goes berzerk and it's like finding a needle in a haystack to try and find out what's wrong.

So the search began. We determined that maybe one of them had the battery go dead. So we watched each one - there is a green, steady light on one side, and an occasional flashing red light on the other. And since we got zero paperwork with the system, we are totally clueless as to what these lights mean.

Joey started pulling the batteries out of each one and testing them on his tongue (which is less than scientific but whatever). Gradually we ended up replacing four of them. And had four more, three of which had been replaced several months ago. You can guess what happens at this point - it is 1:51 AM and we have no 9-volt batteries left. Off to 7-Eleven he went, cursing at our misfortune the whole way. I parked on the couch and began the alarm watch. The stupid things were going off every six minutes like clockwork. So there was not a bit of sleeping going on while Joey was off rampaging around the city looking for batteries.

Finally, he got back and started replacing ALL of the batteries. And at one point, he found that one of the detectors actually had instructions inside of it telling how to read what was going on by watching the lights. Oh, and it mentioned a little something about how sometimes they will go off if they get a little dusty.

Through the crevices in my brain, I remembered that years ago I had an apartment with a funky hard-wired smoke detector that would go off for no reason - and it was dust. I kept it vacuumed after maintenance came and diagnosed the problem and never had another second's problem. "Oh, that's total bullshit, that's something the stupid maintenance people told you," snarled Joey - who by this point was making me regret the fact that we don't have guns in our house because I could've put the alarms and him out of their misery.

So after we replaced every last battery, we snuggled down in our beds and you can imagine what happened after that.

The damn alarms started blaring again.

I ended up going downstairs to the office and getting some of that canned compressed air - we blew out 3 of the alarms before the third one tripped the whole system and then it happened.

Silence. And the alarms finally stopped going off every six minutes.

At this point, it was after 3:30 AM. And it was damn hard to sleep for at least an hour after that, because I just knew that the damn alarm was going to go off again.

So I'm groggy, crabby, and generally malcontent. Good thing EPOD isn't here today, or it would be all downhill.

I dreaded getting Monkey Man up this morning because I was sure that he was going to complain about being waken up last night. But you know what? The little stinker slept through the whole thing, even though he has one in his room and one in his adjacent playroom - so basically both of them are only 2 feet away from his bed. Guess he was exhausted after all the shots and swimming, because there was no way in hell anyone who wasn't almost comatose could've slept through all that chaos.


Tanaya said...

Note to self, check the damn batteries on our smoke detectors. We have the same system. I hope you make it through the day without toothpicks to hold open your eyelids!

joansy said...

Damn. Note to self - dust those puppies tonight. I never would have guessed.