Thursday, August 25, 2005

Warning: read instruction manual; to order write to address on back

So there we were, enjoying a quiet evening at home, when we heard a beep. Of course our ears perked up, but it didn't happen again for a couple minutes. Then there it was again. BEEP! Just once.

"It's the smoke detector in the bedroom," Meg said, and she pulled a footstool over to reach the ceiling-mounted device. She fiddled with it for a moment and came to sit down. "The battery is running low," we agreed, "we'll get one and replace it tomorrow."
All is well.

About half an hour later it beeps again. This time I take a look. I drag over a chair to get a bit more height and attempt to open the device. This proves more difficult than I'd expected. Smoke detectors aren't the kind of things you just instinctively open--you have to try a couple things before you get it right. Pull on one edge, twist it, etc. But you've got it open after a minute.

Not so in this case.
I tried all the standard pulling and twisting techniques, but to no avail. I then proceeded to try popping the face directly off of its plastic clips by working all around the edges. It was pulling away where I was working at it, but no place seemed to be willing to release itself. I twisted the Test/Normal knob, pulled with more force than ought to be exerted and tried several times to push and twist it in various ways, but never got any closer to opening the smoke detector. I was at it for what I swear was 20 minutes. The funny/frustrating thing is what it says on the face of the smoke detector: "Warning: Read instruction manual; to order write to address on back." On the bright side, I somehow managed to make it stop making the irregular and infrequent beeps.

It was getting late, so we went to bed. After about ten minutes after the lights were out: BEEP! I felt myself shudder. "Maybe it'll be OK," I thought, "it's not that bad. It'll probably stop on its own. Or maybe I can ignore it and fall asleep." The funny thing about irregular and infrequent beeping noises, though, is that they're ten times more annoying than a regular fire alarm. So I get up, turn the lights on and go at it again. This time I pull open a gap big enough to slip my finger in. Thinking I might release a latch or something, I poke my finger in there. I must have touched off something on the circuit board, because the full-blown alarm starts going off. This of course ticks me off even more, but it gets a laugh out of Megan. Jiggling and poking a bit more gets the alarm to stop, but I still can't get the thing open. I prod and twist and pull nearly to the point of breaking the plastic, but it won't give. The beeping has stopped again, so what's there to do but go back to bed and hope for the best?

After a few minutes, though...
So I did what any red-blooded American would do. I got up and ripped the damn thing off the ceiling.
It beeps again. I yank the battery out.
It beeps again.
The schadenfreude of the situation makes Megan and I break out in laughter.
It beeps again. So I take the guts of the smoke detector into the living room, stuff them under the couch cushions and pile pillows and quilts over it.

I still don't know how you're supposed to open the thing.


Blogger Joe Dorn said...


Nice work on the updates, Hans. Always a good time reading what you have to say about things. Honestly, keep up the good work. I'd love to say that my blog has been recently updated, but alas; it has not.

Soon though. See you Saturday???

1:49 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home