Thursday, February 14, 2013

Beep. Beep. Beep.

It was the beep heard round the world.

I walked into the house one afternoon after picking up my 7-year-old son from school. The large but lovable golden retriever showed her enthusiasm at our arrival. Hopping around on four clumsy paws. Tail wagging. Whining like she hadn’t seen a human since the Ice Age.

Or breakfast.

Meanwhile, the cat sauntered in. Howled her disdain at being awoken from her nap. Turned her back, flicked her tail, headed to her food bowl and shot death rays into the empty abyss. Then turned her glare at me.

The normal routine.

So after all of this, including the hustle and bustle of a second grader dropping his backpack, coat, gloves, hat, lunchbox and half his clothes in a messy trail leading from the kitchen, down the hallway, up the stairs, around the corner and into his room it really wasn’t much of a surprise that I didn’t notice something amiss much sooner.

Then, after quiet settled over the house once more, I heard it.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Three little tones, soft as a whisper, fluttered through the air.

I cocked my head to the side in the universal move to hear something more clearly. ...Not sure who started that.

Adam? Eve? Some early human caveman detecting the approach of a saber-toothed tiger?
...I’m not sure that worked out well.

In any case, I cocked my head...and...nothing.

OK. Let’s just chalk it up to my imagination. Or cold medicine. Wouldn’t be the first time.
Just as I took a step into the kitchen, I heard it again.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Hmm.... Then inspiration struck: the smoke detector battery. That’s the sound it makes when it needs to be changed.

Problem solved, Columbo.

Now the trick was finding out which one of the house’s detectors had gone rouge. I sauntered over to the smoke detector in the main floor hallway. I looked up. Hands on hips, I waited.

And I waited.

And then I waited some more.

Kinda like labor, which took 24 hours, one epidural and 33 death curses aimed at my husband’s manhood.

Finally, just as I began to turn away, I heard it again.

A faint beep from upstairs.

Aha! Gotcha!

I threw open the hallway closet, grabbed the stepladder and raced up the stairs. I set up the ladder, climbed aboard and reached up to remove the detector’s small plastic cover. Just as my fingers reached the latch, I heard beep. beep. beep.

From downstairs.

WHAT THE ----?

I whipped my head around, dangerously rocking the stepladder, which stood a mere 24 inches high. Which suddenly felt like 90 feet when it succumbed to gravity and finally keeled over to dump my stunned self onto the hard floor below.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

SON OF A -----!

I crawled over, clutching one arm to my side since I was sure I’d bruised at least three ribs along with my ego, and snagged the ladder with my other hand.

I stumbled down the stairs, the ladder slamming hard against each step, slid around the corner and down the hallway.

Just to hear the #*&! beep from upstairs again.

Now they’re just messing with me.

I took a moment to regroup. Because, you know, I was thisclose to a stroke, and I wasn’t sure if my medical insurance covers that.

So I took a deep breath, found my happy place and quietly headed back upstairs. Perhaps in stealth mode I could sneak up on the stupid piece of crap.

I gently set the ladder back down, clumsily climbed the steps and reached up. I pulled back the cover and immediately noticed the battery wasn’t completely plugged in.

Instead of wondering how in the heck the battery suddenly became disconnected all on its own, I chose to take the “Glass is half full” approach.

I merely shrugged, pushed the battery back in, closed the cover and pressed the TEST button.

It was like heavy metal music to my ears. A nice healthy beep echoed through the house, and all was right with the world.

I smiled, climbed down from the ladder and waltzed downstairs, triumphant in my victory. 
Just as I reached the kitchen, I heard a noise from the basement....

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

There isn't always room

After 24 hours with the stomach flu, I was moderately impressed that our 7-year-old son managed to hit the puke bucket every single time.

"But it's not every day you see someone puke JELL-O," he observed forlornly.

Proving, that no matter what the commercials claim, there isn't always room for JELL-O.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

S'now problem

If the X Games has taught us anything, it’s that even snowmobiles can do 360-degree flips in the air.

Without bursting into flame.

Who knew?

Try that on the interstate during a blizzard and suddenly it’s “frowned upon” by local law enforcement.

...We gotta get a snowmobile.


My 7-year-old son watched the snowmobilers streak down the modified ski jump, take off high into the air, flip near the top of the arc in their flight, perform a full layout then land with a hard bounce on the icy packed slope.

A fist pump from the athlete answers cheers from the crowd below, who wave brightly colored flags and sport large foam fingers, an ode to craziness everywhere.

“Don’t even think about,” I warned my son.

“Too late,” he answered, eyes glued to the television. “I’m already lining up my sponsors.”
God help us all.


For two solid days, he’d been taking in all the X Games action. Two days of extreme winter sport action involving snowboarding, skiing and snowmobile racing. Two days of cornrowed, tattooed daredevils sporting nose rings who gracefully flew through the sky as if they had wings.

And those were just the girls.

“Hey, Mom!” my son called out from his spot in front of the television. “I know what kind of Valentine’s Day box I want to make.”

OK. Shift in focus here.

Try to keep up.

It’s safe to say that while girls still have cooties, this second grader thinks Valentine’s Day rocks. 

But only because of the class party, candy, games, candy, making a special box for Valentines and more candy.

Give him a couple more years and even chocolate won’t keep the night terrors away.

“And what kind of box is that?” I asked, silently praying it didn’t involve high-end explosives or a live chicken.

Because we’ve been there, done that.

“A snowboarder!” he answered with excitement.

Whew. That rules out barnyard animals and a visit from Homeland Security.

We’re good.


Oh. Wow.

It went bad fast.

“What in the heck are you doing in here?” my husband asked, walking into the office an hour later.

I sat on the floor with a large piece of foam board in front of me. Small pieces of white fluff covered my shirt, and I clutched an X-acto knife in one fist.

And I was thisclose to a stroke.

“SONOFAB----!” I screamed in frustration.

And upon that explicative, I lost further ability to speak.

So it was up to my son to answer the question. “She’s trying to cut out a snowboarder for the top of my Valentine’s Day box,” he said. “’s not going so well.”

I rolled my eyes.


My husband asked me, “What’s the problem?”

I tossed the slim knife into a nearby plant and answered, “That stupid thing. It’s not big enough to cut the foam board. The blade keeps breaking off and the board won’t cut and the stuff is shedding everywhere!” I paused. “Stupid piece of ----.” 

I suddenly found a large hand firmly placed over my mouth and heard a “small ears” whispered into my ear.

I rolled my eyes.


Then I heard a chuckle. My husband asked, “Did you try a box cutter?”

“We have one of those?” I asked, my frustration at the puny knife all but forgotten in the face of the chance to use a real-life box cutter.

Potential ER visit aside, it does have its uses.


An hour later, my son was the proud owner of one X Games snowboarder Valentine’s Day box with snowflake covered tissue paper and one awesome snowboard.

Complete with sponsorships he had colored in cute little magic marker.

But upon further inspection....

“Uh, kiddo,” I started, pointing at one colorful label. “You’re too young to have Coors as a sponsor, and I’m pretty sure it’s gonna guarantee a visit to the principal’s office.”

Without missing a beat, he said, “OK. But can I get a nose ring instead?”

God help us all.

Please note: This column was written prior to the death of Caleb Moore, a young man who died from injuries sustained from a snowmobile accident in the X Games in 2013. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family. May he now soar with the angels.