06 August 2010

Safety's ugly head

Smoke alarms save lives. They tend to modestly crouch on ceilings, unnoticedly guarding the residents of the premises they inhabit. Only when danger looms large will they cry wolf. What an invention!

Upon closer scrutiny, many things that are so useful have their downsides. My smoke alarm is so sensitive I have triggered it many times already with just frying some potatoes. And yes that says more about the sensitivity of the smoke alarm than about my messy way of cooking. Anyway. That kind of incidents is a nuisance, but a modest one.

When I came home after the massive road trip I was tired. I wanted to sleep, and acted accordingly. And I was happily (?) dreaming of driving with Rob (just as the night before, and the night before that, and the night after) when at 3AM my smoke alarm concluded it had insufficient battery power. And most people know what a sleep-denying sound they tend to make then. Just my luck.

I had no spare battery at hand, so my best bet was to flip the switch that allowed electricity into the hallway, and remove the battery. As it is already a modest challenge at 3AM after a week like that. But it was made worse by the height of my ceiling and my lack of a ladder. So with my foggy head I clambered onto a stool. Not enough. I placed the stool on a side table. That worked. Then I tried to open the alarm to gain access to the battery compartment. That did not go equally well. I poked and pulled and pushed, but the only thing I achieved was ripping the whole thing out of the ceiling. I figured this was just too technical for me at this hour. I got out some ear plugs, felt sorry for myself, and went back to bed... why do these things time themselves like this?

The next day, after a coffee, I managed to get the battery out without much effort, and now the whole thing is back in place, with a brand new battery inside. Most likely it will last my time! Even though I realise I might have tempted the gods just now...

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