This is a picture of our bathroom counter this morning. Notice anything unusual?
Yes – that is a dismantled smoke detector sitting next to the sink.
Why, might you ask, is there a dismantled smoke detector next to our sink? Well, let’s go back to February.
In February, we got a new roof. After you get a new roof, you have to have a state-licensed Building Inspector come out and approve the work that was done. In addition, this Building Inspector will make sure that you are in compliance with all other housing codes required by the State of California. One of these codes is based on a law requiring smoke detectors to be installed in all bedrooms and living areas.
In our house, this means we have five smoke detectors. Five. And, while I’m sure we are five times safer now, we are also five times more likely to be woken up in the middle of the night by the “warning chirps” of a waning battery.
Since February, this has happened to us three times. And it NEVER happens in the middle of the day. Or, say, 6 in the evening. It ALWAYS happens in the middle of the night.
And, you know what? The smoke detector folks weren’t thinking about frog owners when they created their “low battery” notification. Cuz if they were, they wouldn’t have chosen the subtly of a “cricket chirping” as their sound.
You see, we have a frog.
And our frog eats crickets. And these crickets make the most annoying chirping sound in the world. And in critical act of survival, we have learned that frog owners must become immune to the sound of crickets or else they will be driven insane and never sleep ever. So we have adapted.
“But, wait!” you say. “Isn’t this a good thing? Doesn’t this mean you wouldn’t be bothered by the low-battery notification? Even in the middle of the night?”
Yes. Yes. This is true. But unfortunately for everyone, our dog has NOT become immune to the sound. In fact, this sound drives her crazy. And when detector batteries start making themselves known, she produces the most pitiful wale directly next to her sleeping master. This scares her master out of her very deep sleep, and she awakens to find a furry beast with glowing eyes towering inches from her face holding what is initially perceived as a skull (but is later confirmed to be a snowman squeaky toy).
Needless to say, last night, when this happened, I thought I was going to have a heart attack (warning: watching American Horror Story right before heading to bed intensifies any reaction to this scenario x1000). I woke up with a start. Jumped out of bed. And started to consider all of the horrible things that must be happening. We are being invaded by aliens. There is an intruder in the house. Mitt Romney was relegating all working women to binders (bad, bad election joke, I know…).
But nothing seemed to be amiss. All I had was a frantic whining dog and a softly snoring boyfriend.
Which leads me to this – Why? Why, smoke detector people, do you let 10 minutes go in-between each low-battery notification sound? Why couldn’t you just let it go off every 30 seconds? Couldn’t low batteries show a little more urgency? Because last night, after I was initially woken up, it took me 10 minutes to figure out what was wrong, and another 20 minutes to figure out which smoke detector, of our FIVE, was making the noise.
Of course, once I figured out which one it was, the noise became more like a “strobe-light” chirping sound which woke Steve right up.
Well, hello, Love, so glad you could join the party!
Needless to say, Steve was able to extract the detector and remove the batteries. And I didn’t sleep for the rest of the night.
Question: How do you handle having multiple smoke detectors in the house? What’s your battery changing strategy? We have got to find another way… for the health and safety of our house!
Thank you for your suggestions.
Side note (at the bottom of the page) – I know I haven’t written about the Bustache for awhile. I will soon. I think I’ve been in denial over our less than stellar summer with him. He was a trooper, but we’ve entered into the unglamorous side of VW bus ownership – repairs, tow-trucks and derailed trips.