“Blip.” The sound of the dying battery in a smoke detector bugs me. I suppose that is what it’s meant to do-- bug me so badly that I’ll jump up to change the battery.

“Blip.” Today it happened. The kitchen smoke detector started telling me it was time-to-change-the-battery.

“Blip.” I grabbed the detector off the wall, laid it on the counter and started hunting for another battery.

“Blip.” Why did I leave the old battery in while I hunted for a new one? I took the old battery out, threw it in the trash and kept looking for a new one. I couldn’t find it, so I added ‘9 volt battery’ to the shopping list.

I had a lot of smoke detectors in my house, so I wasn’t worried about my house burning down undetected. I went back to the kitchen table to continue sewing.

“Blip.” WHAT? It has reserve power? None of the other detectors do. I tried pushing the ‘test’ button. Maybe it was stuck. Then I went back to sewing.


“Blip.” HUNH? Maybe it’s another detector? I stood beside the detector in the dining room. In fact, I took it down off the wall and held it in my hand. I was not going to miss the signal. 


“Blip.” No, the sound was still coming from the first detector. AUGHHH! Desperately, I decided a detector wouldn’t work if it was cold, so I opened my refrigerator freezer and threw the detector in. Satisfied, I settled back down at the sewing machine.


“Blip.” SERIOUSLY? There’s no way I would hear it that loudly from the freezer! I stood by the refrigerator, waiting…

“Blip.” It was coming from under the counter! That explained it; sometimes I put spare detectors in the cupboard. I opened the door, and shuffled through ‘stuff’’, but couldn’t find it. Getting down on my knees, I stuck my head into the cupboard. By this time I was pretty exasperated, and was determined to find the source of the signal.


“BLIP.” Okay, it’s in here somewhere. I moved things around, and finally found the guilty smoke detector, took the tired battery out, and threw it in the trash. 


Then I spotted the other battery I had originally thrown away, resting neatly on a pile of papers. Rescuing it, I pulled the innocent detector out of the freezer, put the battery back in, and pushed the ‘test’ button. BEEP, BEEP, BEEP! Oh good, it still worked. I hung it back up in the kitchen and settled down to my sewing again. Thankfully the mystery was solved, and I could finally sew in peace.


BEEP, BEEP, BEEP!! (Short pause) BEEP, BEEP, BEEP! The kitchen detector was so happy to be reunited with its battery that it was celebrating. I jumped up, and tried to un-stick the test button, but it was no use, the beeping wouldn’t stop. That detector lost its battery again. But it is not running on the strange ‘reserve power’ any more.

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