Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Handy Home Repairs at 1 a.m.

“A broken thing can't fix itself.”
― Dean Koontz

I am a sound sleeper.  So, when Mr. McDougal felt the urge to climb up on my face this morning at 1:00 a.m., I was more than a little surprised.  My addled brain tried to compute all the facts and, in a matter of seconds (I'm smart like that), I surmised that the trembling, furry creature climbing on my face was actually an animal who belongs to me and that something was wrong.

"McDougal?" I asked.  "What on earth is the matter?"

Sparky and Mr. McDougal who is now renamed Fire Dog
Fortunately, for my own sanity, he didn't respond but he did start running around in circles on my bed.  This is odd behavior for a Scottish terrier at 1 a.m., especially this particular guy who runs upstairs when I say anything remotely resembling the word bedtime.

Chirp.  I heard it.  The smoke detector.  Snazzum frazzum friggin grumble grumble.  McDougal paused his frantic running and came back for my face, digging under the covers with me and attempting to hide himself under me, trembling.

I refused to play the game.  "No, Dougal, no.  Just no.  I am NOT getting up right now to change the batteries on the detector.  No."  I pulled the covers over my head.




Fine.  I threw the covers off, picked Mr. McDougal up off the bed and set him on the floor where he immediately broke for the stairs. Grumbling the entire way, I marched down the stairs and let both dogs out before I grabbed a kitchen chair and headed for the stairs.

Me.  On a chair.  At the top of the stairs.  At 1 a.m.  If that doesn't sound like a recipe for disaster, I don't know what does.  I spent the next 30 minutes trying to figure out how to get the detector away from the ceiling, studying the wires holding the detector to the ceiling, reading the warnings about electrical shock, Googling "how to remove A/C connector from smoke detector" and cursing my aching neck, trembling arms and the people who invented smoke alarms.

I assume I have changed these batteries before.  But I obviously suffer from PTSD from the last time because I don't recall anything about the incident.  Sure, sure...I KNOW the rule about changing the batteries when you change the time, blah, blah, blah.  But does anyone actually FOLLOW that rule?  Or do they just wait until the damn thing starts chirping? 

After I finally managed to disconnect the alarm without falling off the chair or down the stairs, I took it downstairs to find a battery.  Since I'd already labeled a container with "Masking Tape and Batteries," I knew where to look.   I found the battery and managed to install it without Googling how to do so (trust me, it's an accomplishment).

I pushed the "test here" button and was immediately sorry because a) it didn't turn off until I figured out I need to push the "hush" button and b) SERIOUSLY, who invented these screechy things?

OK.  New battery installed.  I mentally patted myself on the back and made my way back to my chair to reinstall the detector.


OK.  Wait just a goldurned minute.  I CHANGED the battery.  I DID what I was supposed to do!  I did!  I quickly decided it was chirping because it longed for connection.  It just needed to be reunited with the wires supplying its little load of electrical joy.  So, I figured out how to reattach it to the ceiling and climbed back down off the ladder, looking up at my handiwork with pride.


OH MOTHER OF PEARL.  Furious, I stomped back up on the chair, pulled the thing back off the ceiling and finally managed, without frying myself, to remove the A/C connector once again.  I marched back down the stairs and let the dogs in.

The detector will be fine in the backyard until morning.

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