It was a rough night.
First, the stupid coffee shop gave me a real latte instead of a decaf. I lay in bed, staring at the ceiling until 1:00 am, vowing over and over to never to consume another latte if, The Sandman would just let me sleep.
Then, at 3:00 am, Lola, the seventy-pound chicken/dog, came galloping into the bedroom to try to squeeze her giant body behind the rickety bedside table I’ve been vowing to repair. I roll over in time to catch a lamp before it crashes to the floor.
“There’s a noise in the house,” Husband mutters sleepily and pulls the covers over his head
I don’t know how this ever happened, but in our marriage, I’m the one to go investigate noises. Actually I do know how it happened. One dark and stormy night I heard someone rooting around in the kitchen. I shook him awake and demanded that he go investigate. Instead he rolled over and started snoring. I discovered that the “someone” was a raccoon, but that’s another story.
“What noise?” I ask my now snoring husband.
Then I heard it, a high-pitched BEEP, followed by Lola flinging herself behind the bedside table.
“Hey!” I shook Husband awake, balancing the lamp in my arms. “It’s a smoke alarm.” I slid out of bed, put the lamp back on the table and wrestled into my sleeves-inside-out robe.
I walked down the hallway, listening.
“Which one is it?” Husband shouts from the bedroom.
“I don’t know!” I shout back.
He finally gets up and together we wander around the house, pausing under each smoke alarm until we hear the BEEP from the smoke alarm that we are not standing under.
Husband pinpoints the offender in the dining room but can’t reach it by standing on a chair, so (still in his underwear) out to the garage he goes to retrieve a ladder. He climbs up and takes the battery out. He climbs down and we stumble off to bed.
Cursing, Husband climbs back up the ladder to see if he can disconnect it from the electrical wires. He struggles for quite a while and I decide I can help by retrieving the flashlight from the laundry room closet. As soon as I open the door, Lola throws herself on to the bottom shelf of the metal cabinet I put in there. Obviously a three-foot tall dog is not going to fit on a one-foot tall shelf, but this doesn’t stop her from trying. The room is pitch black and she is pitch black and I’m flailing around holding the still-dark flashlight in one hand and trying to grab a body part of hers that will enable me to drag her away from the shelf with the other hand. Then there’s another BEEP, followed by a curse from Husband, followed by Lola redoubling her efforts.
Eventually I give up and return to the dining room, flipping every light switch along the way. I shine the flashlight at the offending smoke alarm and try to ignore the sound of Lola’s toenails frantically scraping the metal shelf.
Husband still can’t figure out the smoke alarm and asks me to think of where – anywhere – we’d have a nine volt battery we could use. Just as I’ve resigned myself that it will require a trip to an all-night store, I remember there’s a battery in the sprinkler system. Along the way to the garage, Husband stops long enough to drag Lola out of the laundry closet and shut the door.
We spend the next fifteen minutes with Husband at the top of the ladder, trying and failing to insert the battery into the smoke alarm, over and over again.
Meanwhile, Lola is darting from room to room, knocking into chairs, looking for a new place to hide.
At every BEEP I add my opinion.
BEEP “I’m pretty sure the battery goes the other way.”
BEEP “I’m very sure the battery goes the other way.”
BEEP “TRY IT THE OTHER WAY!”
I take a deep breath and turn my head away, vowing not to lose my temper again. I look at the bank of windows behind us and renew my vow from last week, to buy curtains this week.
Then, my focus changes and I see the scene that all my neighbors can see; Husband in his underwear, standing at the top of a ladder, with me shining a spotlight on him.