Why Our Home Builders Are Secretly Laughing at Me

In the process of buying this house in October 2002, we were told that all the smoke detectors were hardwired in with the electrical system (I assume that’s the right explanation I’m giving) and that they had battery backups. Cool, we thought, those batteries will last a while. And they did.

Then they started dying. It all started one morning last summer when this chirping sound woke us up in the middle of the night. What the…? was the first reaction. There was a search for the culprit making this sound and disturbing our sleep. Domino whined and got into her “house.” (actually her doggie crate, but I think she’s more protective of that tiny space than she is of us.) Hubby figured out it was coming from the smoke detector in the hallway.

The thing was, we didn’t have the right battery to change it. I suggested taking the battery out, and he did so and came back to bed. A few minutes later, it chirped again. “You’ve gotta be freakin’ kidding me,” Hubby said.

Apparently, now the detector was pissed that we took the battery out of it all together and decided to continue interrupting our sleep. Hubby got up and took the detector off the mount in the ceiling, put it in the laundry room and came back to bed.

A few minutes later, the damn thing chirped again. I felt like I was in a Sunday paper comic strip. Hubby huffed out of bed, went in the laundry room and brought it to the bedroom door and looked at me and then look at it, appalled at the nerve of this circular disk of annoyance.

“Put it in the garage,” I said, and he followed my suggestion, and we slept soundly for the rest of the night.

The next day, Hubby replaced the batteries and did preliminary lamenting about when the batteries die in the smoke detector in our bedroom.

A couple of months later, again DURING THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, we heard another chirp. “How the hell does a battery go down that fast?” Hubby asked. Out of bed he went, but the chirp wasn’t coming from the hallway smoke detector. It came from the detector in the office. “We have a detector in the office?” I asked.

Apparently we have a smoke detector in every room but the bathrooms and the laundry room.

Fast forward to last night around 3 am, we are awakened by a chirp in the same room with us. At first, I roused with the now obligatory What the…? thought, actually even wondering if it was our alarm system. But after the second chirp, I realized that the dreaded moment had arrived — the batteries were dying in the bedroom smoke detector.

Our bedroom has a high, slanting ceiling, and where did our wonderful home builders put the detector in this room? Why in the least reachable place they could find — on the highest part of the ceiling over the door. So now we have to borrow my dad’s ladder. We haven’t bought one yet because we haven’t had need for one… until now.

It makes me wonder if there’s a little camera in these evil things recording our moves as we pace around looking for the source of that annoying chirping that feeds into some sort of monitoring system set up by our home builders for their entertainment the next morning. I can almost imagine them coming in with their commuter coffee mugs, finding the new surveillance, and laughing smugly at our overnight frustrations. They probably call in their coworkers from other offices to watch the footage with them. “Look at what these suckers did last night!”

It makes me hate them. Oh. So. Very. Much.


5 thoughts on “Why Our Home Builders Are Secretly Laughing at Me

Add yours

  1. That is so funny! We’ve had the exact same kind of nights with our smoke detectors. But the worst was our old cordless phone, which beeped when the power went off.

    We owned that phone through about eight power outages, and over the course of our relationship with it, we learned that the best place to put a chirping phone is in the refrigerator. When that phone died after five years, we gleefully replaced it.

    Anyway, recommending the fridge for next time — IF you can reach the culprit.



  2. The smoke detector is at the very highest point of the ceiling not because people are conspiring against you, but because, if there’s a fire, that’s where the damn smoke rises to, and collects.


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