Tag Archives: cranky

The Night of the Living Smoke Alarm

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.

Guard dog grade: F

Guard dog grade: F

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.

BEEP

“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.

Not actual Husband

Not actual Husband

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.

BEEP

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.

Actual photo of me

Actual photo of me

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.

A Killer New Home

This new house of mine is trying to kill me, but I’m being stoic about it.

I  kept it together, through weeks and weeks of screaming and fights with my contractor, to turn this:
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into this:
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(Okay, maybe not I’m not being exactly stoic, as there were a few  tears the day I almost got killed from the broken gas line and yes, maybe I did tell the contractor to get the @#!$ off my property, but the point is, I survived that part.)

And I kept it together through the weeks and weeks it took me to get from this:
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to this:
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But, the morning after my return from England, this new house tried, once again, to do me in.

I awoke early, put the teakettle on and stepped outside on the deck to let the dog out. Rubbing my arms in the cool air, I took a stroll down the stairs to check out the grass we’d planted before we left.  It only took one step for my feet to fly up in front of me and then I’m doing a Winnie The Pooh down the stairs, bump, bump, bump, on the back of my head.

As I lay on the wet ground, my first thought was, “Uh oh. I hit my head.” My second thought was…well, I don’t think there was a second thought, just tears and sobbing — the big kind, where you can’t catch your breath and snot runs uncontrollably out of your nose and you don’t care. With my head resting on a patch of newly grown grass, I watched my un-Lassie-like dog wander happily around the backyard ignoring my pleas for help. I decided, at that very moment, I hated this new house – every unfinished inch of it.

When the damp ground began to seep through my sweater I thought it was time to assess the damage I’d done. I sat up, patted the back of my head and peaked at my fingers. I let out a sigh of relief when they came away free of blood. Not sure if I could, or  should, stand up, I contemplated my next move. Rubbing at the ache in my posterior I discovered I had my cell phone in the back pocket of my jeans. I dialed our home number (yes, I still have a home phone.) When my husband, John, answered, I burst back into my  hiccupping sobs.

“What? What is it? Where are you? What’s going on?”

“Fell,” I bawled.

“Where?”

“Outside,” I snuffled.

“Front or back?”

“B-b-back.”

I’ve never been so happy to see his half-a-shaving-cream-covered face in my life. He helped me up and we worked our way back inside.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” he asked, stepping away from me to let our happy-go-lucky dog back into the house.

I ran into the guest bathroom and blubbered, “I’m fine,” before slamming the door.

I could go into great gushy details about how my husband coaxed me out and tucked me into bed with a nice hot cup of tea, but I won’t — because that’s not what happened. There is nothing more terrifying to my husband than a crying woman, so he returned to his sink to finish shaving.

A few minutes later, as I sat on the floor of the bathroom unrolling yards of toilet paper to keep up with my blubbering, I heard the whistle of the teakettle. Since I knew John would be protected from the kryptonite of my tears by the door, I continued with my mopping up efforts and the teapot screeched on.

Finally, Husband’s voice. “Teresa?”

Unable to answer, I blew my nose loudly.

A timid knock at the door and then he muttered, “Hey…ummmm…err…”

“Yes?” I asked, looking at the doorknob, willing it to turn.

“The teakettle is whistling.”

I will survive this new house, but right this moment, I’m not sure my husband will survive me.