Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Of Smoke and Fire

Late on Saturday night, I was totally engrossed in The Girl Who Played With Fire (the book, I mean, not an actual female pyromaniac) when I thought I heard a beep. It came to me that I might have actually heard a few beeps deep in the background in the past few minutes, and I had been too absorbed to consciously notice. Naw: couldn't be. I went back to my reading but with a little more awareness. Sure enough, in a moment or two: beep.

I knew what it was — the smoke detector. It went wonky one night about six months ago when we had visitors staying over, so I knew. Why these things must happen at night and particularly when one has visitors, I know not. I mean to say, in five years in this place, that had been a first. Now, we were having a second incident. At least it was just the two of us this time.

However, from that experience I now knew what to do: blow some compressed air into the mechanism, and it would magically cease to beep. Not. For once I sat down smugly and comfortably to resume my reading, I head it: beep.

Okay AC, remove the cover and disconnect the infernal thing. Unfortunately the plug didn't want to budge, so, I had to content myself with blowing more air. Surely it would work this time because with the cover part hanging down, I could access it much more thoroughly.

Wrong again. Minutes later, it beeped its beeping beep once again.

This time, the sleeping Cuppa was also roused sufficiently enough to inquire what the heck was going on. She also decided to try to disconnect the thing and it came apart easy peasy, which confirms my mechanical ineptitude for the about the gazillionth time.

She: back to bed.

Me: back to reading.

The detector in the ceiling: back to beeping.

But the cover was now off, so how in the world could a disconnected smoke detector keep detecting and beeping, I wondered. Maybe there's a backup battery inside it, said she.

After another beep or two, I wondered whether it might not be the upstairs smoke detector at all. Maybe it was the one the one directly below the stairs on the first floor. I went down and listened, but the beeping didn't seem to be coming from there. Cuppa had stayed upstairs directly below the part still in the ceiling, and she declared that it wasn't the wall part that was beeping but the disconnected part that was now lying on a table. Curiouser and curiouser.

Regardless, she of the better ears decided it would be prudent to go downstairs to listen for herself while I stayed up, but she could only confirm that it wasn't the downstairs smoke detector. I confess to being quite baffled: wondering how in tarnation a taken-apart smoke detector could possibly be working be it the ceiling part or the disconnected part.

Idea: maybe it was neither smoke detector but the carbon monoxide detector in the bedroom. So, I went in to have myself a listen. Well, if a watched pot doesn't boil neither does a watched detector detect. Eventually, as she tired of waiting for the next beep, Cuppa also joined me to contemplate the carbon monoxide monitor. After more frustrated waiting, she picked the thing up, carried it to the light where she was able eventually discern a tiny, dimly lit message: Change the Battery.

So, I hadn't known after all what had been causing the dad-blasted beeping; I had merely assumed that what had occurred once before in the middle of the night was occurring once again. But the mystery had been solved after much drowsy-headed puzzlement; Cuppa headed back to sweet repose and I back to my reading. I am pleased to report that I finished the novel around midnight. Once again, I recommend Steig Larsson to you.

Upon reflection, it's indeed an ill wind that blows no good. In this case, dear reader is able to come to Raindrops without having to look at any sort of photo whatsoever. Should that not be cause for rejoicing throughout blogland? And don't you find it a tiny bit ironic that all this detector foofaraw occurred while I was reading a book entitled, The Girl Who Played With Fire? Thankfully, on this Saturday night at least, where there was fire there was not smoke.


Mara said...

It only took you about an hour (from what I can gather)? It took me nearly a week of infernal bleeping before I finally cottoned on...

Ruth said...

I have heard nothing but good about the series you are reading. I picked one up to look at it, but alas the font was not comfortable. I wonder how long I can continue in denial about needing bifocals. I wonder why batteries send messages at night (ours always do)

Holly, the Old Western Gal said...

Yes, it's really "fun" to try to find batteries, change batteries, and get it put back together in the wee hours...

What, no photo???

Donna said...

There's no such thing as a coincidence....hummmm

Bernie said...

AC don't even go there, I went through the night from hell with mine which doesn't have a battery but is wired into the house...took me a while to go downstairs and pull the circuit braker.....a night I won't forget for sure. Glad you got it straightened out and cuppa could go back to bed.
......:-) Hugs

Ginnie said...

AC, for once I have to disagree with you vehemently. I HATED "The Girl Who Played With Fire" ... the movie, that is, and have no desire to see the first one. I don't think of myself as a prude but the violence and overt sexuality really turned me off.

Diana said...

Well that sure was an interesting evening wasn't it? What a pain, here you are all snuggled up with a good book and then "BEEP"!
Well at least you and Cuppa located the problem and didn't have to listen to it all night!
Love Di ♥

Anvilcloud said...

Good point, Ginnie. Early on in the book, I told Cuppa enough sex already. But then it settled down -- in the book, at least.

Lorna said...

smoke alarms---everyone has a chilling story. We had one so sensitive that we had to put a plastic cap on it to keep it from sounding every time we cooked a meal. Then we had to write ourselves a note on the whiteboard to remember to take the cap off so that we didn't accidentally go up in flames.

Doris said...

I think synchronicity was at work here. Spooky for sure!