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.

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