If you invented the smoke detector—watch out asshole, I’m coming for you! Sure they save lives and keep our homes safe, but those motherfuckers are pure, concentrated evil. They cunningly wait until well after the last, “Can I have some water” and “I can’t fall asleep” has stopped. They make sure that you’ve crawled into your comfy bed and have fallen into the elusive REM sleep. And they choose a night where (miraculously) no one has woken up coughing up a lung or screaming bloody murder from a nightmare. No, they pick, what would otherwise be the holy grail of a good night’s sleep…and they pounce.
At first it’s a small, quick little beep. It wakes you from your sleep, your head pops up, and you listen intently… nothing, total silence. Convinced it was a dream, you gently lay your head back down with a mixture of annoyance at being woken up and relief that you aren’t going to have to go clean up vomit and …beep. Again. So short you could miss it, but definitely not something you can ignore. This is exactly how my Tuesday night began. Fearing I may be losing my mind, I woke my husband up to listen. By the time he was coherent, the damn thing had beeped five more times—apparently his ability to hear smoke detectors is about as astute as his ability to hear crying children. On the sixth beep, he turned on the light and our eyes locked: this shit is for real.
Creeping out of bed as if we were the next ninja warriors, we tiptoed towards the sound, careful not to wake the blissfully sleeping children. Halfway down the hall…beep! At the same time that I turned left, he turned right (this explains so much about our marriage). Beep. It was getting further away. We crashed into each other back in the hall and sprinted downstairs so we didn’t miss the next…beep. Ughhhh! Where was this satanic sound coming from?!?! If this bastard is going to wake us up from a unicorn of a nights sleep, pull a Nike and JUST DO IT. Beep like a beeping maniac. Start beeping and don’t stop until we find your beeping ass. This tiny little BS chirp, and then 90 seconds of radio silence is crazy making!
Twenty-five beeps and 75 rude cuss words later, the culprit had been identified. Well, well, well, you couldn’t outsmart two college grads, could you, little guy? We grabbed a chair and violently shoved it right under the spawn of the devil. The hubs jumped up and extended his arm…SIX. INCHES. TOO. SHORT. Damn you 9 foot ceilings! Before I could blink, he was in the garage, banging around trying to dislodge the ladder from the piles of bikes and sports equipment. I heard things falling and walls being scraped but I couldn’t stop staring at this circle of evil on the ceiling wishing it a slow and painful demise. Beep. I held the ladder while my husband climbed up and victoriously disconnected the battery. YESSSSSS! Score one for the good guys! Beep. WHAT. THE. F.??
My husband stared blankly at the battery in his hand. How was this possible? Beep. I could see the rage growing as he sprinted back up the ladder like a monkey on speed and pressed the reset button. BEEP, BEEP, BEEP…BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. Now every fucking smoke alarm in the house was BEEPING. And not just the chirpy little “come and find me and give me a new battery beeps” but angry, shrilling, DEFCON 5 beeps. I saw lights being flipped on at our neighbors and yet somehow, my children, who wake up when I turn a door handle (“What’s that? Mom, Dad, where are you? What are you doing? What’s that sound?”) were still miraculously asleep.
In pure desperation, my husband reached up and ripped the entire unit from the ceiling. Wires were dangling. Paint chips were falling. But there was silence. Blissful, beautiful, silence. We stood there for a minute before breaking out in a victory dance, high fives flying as if we alone had just defeated ISIS. You may have won the beeping battle, but we won the beeping war!!
As we crawled back into bed with smug satisfaction, I accidentally knocked over an empty cup on my nightstand trying to turn off the lamp. I reached over to pick it up and came face to face with a figure at the end of my bed, “Mom, I heard something fall. Did you hear that noise?”
About the author: Laurie Larsh is a freelance writer and mom of 9-year-old boy/girl twins. She attempts to survive ‘adulting’ by finding the humor in life.