I woke up at 3:30 this morning to the not-so-distant sound of a smoke alarm chirping somewhere in the house with its cheery message of doom for its battery.


I tried to ignore it.


Crap. I got up, thinking that it was the downstairs alarm, so I staggered to the hallway and listened.


Oh. Crap. It wasn’t downstairs. It was upstairs.

It was in The Kid’s room.

I was instantly assailed by visions of The Kid waking up, and me losing out on all hope of getting back to sleep. I cracked open the door to her room, mildly shocked to see that she was still asleep.


I cringed at the sound and muttered some choice invectives under my breath about the timing of the death of the battery. I slid into her room, and then climbed up onto only piece of furniture that could be easily and quietly moved to allow me to reach the alarm. Unfortunately it was one of those glider ottomans, so I began a balance routine that would have made a Cirque performer proud.


Scowl. Scowl. Balance and wobble. I reached up to the damn alarm and twisted it off the base, It came off obligingly… an inch. I muttered a few more choice invectives as I realized that the damn thing was wired into the house alarm system. (A system that we gave up on using a very long time ago.) So, I wobbled and balanced, and attempted to unplug the damn thing from the wall.


I could NOT get it unplugged. The Kid rolled over and I held my breath and froze, attempting to muffle the damn chirps of the alarm with the sheer power of my mind.


Could. Not. Get. It. Unplugged. I stepped down from the ottoman without doing a faceplant and returned to my bedroom. Could not find a flashlight anywhere. Managed to find a swiss army knife. Managed to find my phone. Returned to the kid’s room and to the wobbly ottoman and to the dangling, chirping alarm.


I pressed a button on my phone and held it between my teeth to give me some light. Pried the damn alarm away from the damn plug, which finally came free with a lovely sharp sound of cracking plastic.

Held breath. Looked at The Kid. Thanked the gods that she had picked tonight to sleep like the dead. Wobbled on the ottoman. Had a sudden flash of me falling off of the ottoman and impaling myself on my swiss army knife, all while husband is out of town. Wondered if The Kid would wake up if that happened. Was glad that I had my phone in my mouth because if I did fall off and impale myself I could probably still dial 911 with my tongue.


Climbed down from the ottoman. Managed to escape The Kid’s bedroom. Returned to my bedroom and turned on the light. Let out a silent scream as my retinas burned away. Attempted to remove the damn battery from the damn alarm. Used the swiss army knife some more. Cracked some more plastic. Finally removed the battery. Exhaled in relief.


Agh!!! What new hell is this?! I took the damn battery out!


I contemplated opening the window and chucking the thing into the street.


I then realized that the damn chirps were dying out. Damn capacitors.

It finally went completely silent. The Kid was still asleep. It was only 4am. My alarm was set for 5am.

Miraculously, I was able to get back to sleep.