Why is it always 3 a.m. when the smoke detector starts beeping for a battery change?

And it’s not like you can ignore it. The sound isn’t as skull-numbing as the actual alarm, but it’s shrill and persistent. It keeps going and going and going…like the battery bunny, only it wants its fix, damn it. You better give it to me or else.

Min goes under the bed to hide and I stumble into the hall where it’s shree-peeping. I lumber out to where the batteries are kept, rummage until I find the right ones, then shuffle over to the step ladder. If I’d been fully cognizant, I would have gone for the step ladder first and just pulled the old battery out to shut it up, but my mind isn’t really functioning. I climb up, yank the old battery out, put the new one in and the damned thing still peeps several more times, as if giving me one last neener-neener-neener before I can go back to bed.

I fall back into bed, Min comes out of hiding, and we drift off again, feeling virtuous for accomplishing a mission even in 3 a.m. sleep-bedraggled state.

Until 4:35 a.m. When the @##$$%^&&&^!! thing starts peeping again. Min goes back under the bed.

Okay, this time I’m just mad. I am not a pleasant person when sleep deprived. I get the step ladder, I crawl up it and yank that wanker right off the wall. I’m standing in the hall and I’ve got it in my hand and I’m thinking of chucking it out the front door onto the lawn when I hear the peeping again.

From overhead.

It’s the carbon monoxide monitor which resides about five feet away from the smoke detector. I stumble back to the battery stash, get another battery, get back on the step ladder and, see, this is where things go seriously into the hash. I’ve got enough brain cells firing that I remember there’s a certain trickiness to changing the battery on the carbon monoxide monitor. The smoke detectors are easy. You just click the door open and the battery is right there, but pull and prod and poke as much as I can, the CM monitor will not open.

It does not cease from peeping though. Fool, I’ve beaten you. Hahahaha. And, btw, neener-neener-neener.

So I rip it off the wall. This time I seriously am going to throw it onto the lawn because I know I haven’t got the brain power to deal with the bastard. A tiny bit of adultness still left in the raging plain of blankness that is my mind persuades me to unlock the garage side door and place it on the workbench where I won’t have to listen to it. I go back to bed. When my alarm goes off at 5:45 I hit it several times before I manage to get out of bed. In the shower, when sufficient quantities of water have revived at least some of my higher cognitive abilities, I remember that you don’t open the CM monitor. You slide it up off its track to take it off the wall, flip it over, slide the panel off the back to reveal the battery compartment, and uh…

In the sitting room, the closest room in the house to the garage, I can still hear that piercing peep, and when I open the front door it’s screaming like some demon bird to be fed. Min has gone back under the bed. I go outside, make my apologies to the monitor, and change its battery. The peeping ceases. I now have two monitors which will have to be reattached to the wall, and while I’m at it, I think I’ll change the batteries in the other smoke detectors. Just in case.

You know, they encourage us to use the battery operated detectors rather than the hardwired ones because if there’s a fire in your electrical system, they’ll never go off and you’ll die a horrible death. So batteries are the logical way to go. But at 3 a.m. in a sleep-bedraggled state, that logic is a very hard sell indeed.