Battery Life

This is a story that’s almost too embarrassing to tell. But I’m willing to open myself up to mockery and judgement in the interest of good storytelling.

A few nights ago I was really wound after work. I’m an occasional insomniac, and I know a sleepless night ahead when I see one so I took a couple Tylenol PMs and settled into bed with a good zombie book.  I was just nodding off when I heard an interrmittent Beep Beep Beep every 30 seconds coming from the hallway outside my door.

It was the carbon monoxide detector.

It was 12:15 a.m.

Now, this has happened before so I knew that it was most likely beeping because the battery was dead. A rational person might have taken the batteries out and gone back to bed.

I am not a rational person.

I am a obsessive person.

So instead I stumbled around my house in my Tylenol PM state looking for three double As. I didn’t find any so I put on my Uggs and a sweatshirt with my hot pink Skelanimal jammie pants and told a sleepy Dr. Rossman that I was going down to the mini mart.

“Of course you are,” he said.

I’d like to point out that ordinarily I have a strict No Pajamas in Public policy but given the late hour and my drowsy state I decided to make an exception. To go to a mini mart. In the middle of the night. For batteries.

So I got home with the batteries, replaced them and slid the cover back on.

It resumed beeping.

At this point I was so tired I was almost weepy. At 12:30 in the morning things don’t seem the same as they do in the light of day. I noticed the small print on the back of the detector that says “Seven years from initialization, unit will beep every 30 seconds to indicate unit should be replaced.” BUT in my overtired in the middle of the damn night state, I start questioning the meaning of the beep.

Is it really the battery?

Has it been seven years?

Is our house quietly filling with carbon monoxide while I consider these questions?

I could see the headlines, “Local Family Victims of Carbon Monoxide. Detector With Batteries Disengaged Found on Kitchen Table.”

These are the thoughts that go through my head, at 12:45 a.m., three hours after ingesting two Tylenol PM.

So I did what any semi-delusional, obsessive-compulsive would do. I changed into jeans and went to The Wal-Mart. In the middle of the night. For a new carbon monoxide detector.

Have you been to Wal-Mart in the middle of the night?

Oh. My.

So I’m in The Wal-Mart at now 1 a.m. and I decided to pick up a new smoke alarm while I’m there because I remember back to the night two years ago when BOTH the carbon monoxide detector and the fire alarm batteries died IN THE SAME NIGHT.

Anyway, it was about 1:30 a.m., on a school night mind you, when  I got back from The Wal-Mart with my  two new detectors and a 20-pack of AAs just for good measure.

I was telling my dad this story the next day and he said, “You did the right thing.”

I guess it runs in the family.

7 Responses to “Battery Life”

  1. Kimberly W. Says:

    I would have done the same thing. It is better to err on the side of caution than to not.

  2. Miriam Hughes Says:

    I would have removed the batteries, taken the thing off the ceiling and put it in the car and hoped I would remember it later before going to the mechanic to complain about the beeping in my car!

  3. Elaine Corwin Says:

    Agreed. The alternative in case you’re wrong is, you’re dead. Not a good option. Zombies aside of course.

  4. Marianne Says:

    I lived thru a similar event many many years ago.
    Now we have no less than 36 batteries and two back-up detectors.
    That beep, beep, beep can drive the dogs crazy. … except for Tucker….he runs and hides.

  5. Linda Kriss Says:

    Got a good chuckle out of this but you did the right thing. Better safe than day of the dead.

  6. Elizabeth Says:

    Walmart in the middle of the night is indeed a trip. We had a similar experience last winter –1:00 a.m. in a freezing cold ski cabin. It took 8 adults and 4 kids about 10 minutes to pinpoint the source of the beeping — eventually found it on the roof of a loft closet (imagine a box built into the second floor of of a big A-frame house), approximately 15 feet off the ground. Figuring out how to get up there was another issue… finding a ladder, tiptoeing on the bed of a sleeping toddler… good times.

  7. Rachael Rossman: Watercolor Portraits of Man and Beast » Habits Says:

    […] Have you ever been awakened by the warning beep on a carbon monoxide alarm only to find you have no … […]

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