Thursday, October 24, 2013


What amazing timing to have decoded the cryptic "O-R-E-D-T-E-C-T" to spell "Detector;"
For last night, as I lay sleeping peacefully in my bed, one rang out into the night.

And not a mere chirp.
We're talking multiple beeps in a row over and over.

Immediately my heart was racing.

It was the carbon monoxide detector!

Or at least that's what I thought when I didn't smell smoke and didn't see flames.

I sprang up out of bed and ran in, only to have the beeping stop, and to see that it was shining a steady green light.

Well that was weird....

I went back into the room to see Justin's silhouette sitting up in bed.
"What was that?" He asked, sleepily.
"I think it was the carbon monoxide detector."
"It's not that."
"How do you know?"
"I don't smell anything," He said.
"Well that's the THING with carbon monoxide," I said. "It's odorless."
"We don't even have a carbon monoxide detector." He argued.
"Yes we do. It's in the hall."

I don't even know if he heard me.
He was back to snoring within three seconds and I just lay there worrying about the possibility that it had been, indeed, the carbon monoxide detector.

What should I do?
Should I crack a window?
Should I take the kids to the porch?
Should I call someone?
But then it hit me - Justin's snoring alone would be a good detector.
At the rapid and voracious rate that he was gulping in the air around him, he'd probably be the first to be poisoned by the gases.
If he stopped breathing, I'd make a run for it with the kids.

It had stopped chirping now and I nuzzled back into the covers just long enough to re-warm my spot, when there it was, chirping again.

Now, I already suffer from heart palpitations, and let me tell you - Being jarred awake by loud beeping that may or may not signal your impending death is really not a prescribed treatment for those puppies.

Now Justin and I were both in the hall.

It was 4:00am.

"It's not the carbon monoxide detector." He said with his eyes half closed.
"You didn't even think we HAD one." I retorted. "How could you have checked it, if you don't know where it is?"
"Well where is it?"
"It's right there." I pointed.
"OH. I forgot about that one."
"Well can you look at it?"

This is where he walked to the detector, reached up and FELT it.
In the dark of the hallway, he reached his exhausted hand up and FELT it.

Now, I am no expert on carbon monoxide detectors, but I'm pretty sure you can't tell if they are well functioning by feel,
so I pretended to trust his expertise, because that's what a good wife does, and secretly stood behind him and tried to make out the lights with my own 300/300 without-contacts vision.
I could barely tell there was a carbon monoxide detector, myself.

"Remember that little table-top stick-on detector that the firemen gave us a year ago?" I asked him.
"Well, do you know what happened to it?"
"I think it turned a funny color and I threw it away." He answered.
"It turned a funny color?! That's the detector. That's how you know. If it turns a different color that means there's carbon monoxide!"
"Well it just looked OLD to me."

Oh for the love of God.

The beeping had once again stopped, and I had already requested that Justin climb behind the dryer and shut off the valve,
so we shrugged our shoulders and went back to bed;
only to find that Tessa had somehow teleported herself from her bed into ours when we weren't looking.

Just materialized there like she was born of a vapor.

At that point, I gave up on sleeping all together, as sleeping with Tessa is about as peaceful and comfortable as sleeping with a rodeo bull.

We were back to laying down for, at most, two minutes.

"Do you think we should call someone?" I whispered in dark.

No response.

"Justin......Do you think we need to call the fire department and have them check the house? I mean, just to be safe?"


Oh gosh.
Was he......DEAD?!

Had I been right?
And I love being right, but not when it's regarding something that could lead me back to single-parenthood.
I cannot man this vessel alone.
Had he been the first to succumb?

*This is where I did a brief self check, as I have made myself well Internet-versed in the symptoms of gas poisoning.
And kidney failure.
And bot fly infestations.
And many many other odd illnesses, but that is a whole different blog altogether.*

Did I have a headache? No. Muscle weakness? None.
I was clear to proceed with confidence.

I was just about to shake Justin and check for a pulse, when the beeping resumed again, and we were both on our feet in seconds.
After 10 minutes of beep analysis, we realized it was not, in fact, the carbon monoxide detector;
but the smoke detector in our room.
This was decided by tilting our heads and roaming the hallway to stand by every smoke detector we have.
And there are lots of them.
You would think we would be overjoyed to have finally found the source, but we weren't, because that particular source was attached to a 10 foot ceiling and the ladder to reach it was in the garage downstairs.

The garage that houses the cat that tries to bolt for the indoors the second you open any door.
The cat that pees on things the second he steps inside.
Things that you are RENTING.
The cat you have to be a trained athlete to block.
An athlete you are not prepared to be in the 4:00 hour.

For the first time ever, I cursed our tall ceilings and Justin grumbled something I was probably lucky not to hear, and he headed down for the ladder.

When he returned, I asked if he'd gotten the batteries.
Nope. He'd forgotten those.
Nevermind. I'd get one.
Downstairs I trudged as he popped open the ladder with a loud clank, and I cursed HIM for probably waking the baby.

I returned upstairs, and now Chloe was in the hall.

"I can't sleep," she said.
"There's a weird beeping sound."

I told her to go crawl in bed on The Mattress.
"The Mattress" being an old crib mattress that used to be for one of the girls which we saved for the intention of making a bed for a child if they were sick and needed urgent middle-of-the-night care.
The Mattress which now almost permanently resides on the floor by my dresser and is used in events such as this one, which are almost never an emergency.
*See: Every single night.
I explained what was happening and that I was going to have to turn on the light so that we could change the battery in the detector.

The second the light enveloped the room, both girls started screaming and covering their eyes as if I'd hosed them in acid FROM said battery.

It was 4:30am.

Now they are wailing and I'm waving one hand wildly and whispering for them to be quiet or they'll wake their sister as I hold the bottom of the ladder with the other hand.
My waving is wiggling the ladder, and Justin is swaying and attempting to change the battery that is still well above his head with his very OWN 300/300 without-contact vision.

Again - 4:30am.

Finally the girls reduce their shrieking to just loud sniffly gulps and sideways squinty glances, and Justin snaps the new battery in place and closes the cover.
With force.
He descends the ladder and JUST gets it closed and put into the hallway when above our heads,
the chirping resumes.

I looked over at Justin and was worried for a second because I'd never seen THAT face before.
His mouth was weirdly and crookedly hanging open and he was staring at the wall that was four inches from his face.

This is when I watched Justin transform into a gorilla before my very eyes.
Gorilla climb.
Gorilla remove battery.
Gorilla eat battery whole.
Battery beep no more.

Lights out. CPAP on. Like it never happened.

Fifteen minutes later, and everyone was asleep.
Everyone but me.

I was laying in bed with eyes the size of the cat's who loves in the garage,
and let me tell you - Those things are huge.

My mind was racing.

I thought about emergency rescue.
I thought about gas poisoning.
I thought about an escape plan.

I thought about firemen.

For quite awhile.

I thought about our really old landlords who come to change the batteries every 6 months on a schedule and wondered why that battery had only lasted 5 months.
I thought about how they drive a Prius, then I thought about how quiet a Prius is.
I tried to let the thought of that silence lull my mind to sleep.
Two hours passed and so did many MANY other thoughts.

I had JUST finally drifted when there was

Except this time was my *beepity beeping* alarm.

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