In this house, we are not valiant soldiers in the war against the unalive. Around here, the battlefield is strewn with sleepy people.
I suppose it started on the mountain. After the astronomy lecture on Mt. Tamalpais, we took special care to pack all our stuff, rolling up the picnic blanket and tying it into its carrying strap, then diligently searching our area in our flashlight beams to make sure we got everything. Then we shouldered it all and hiked back to our car.
So we wished our friends a good night, and trekked back to the outdoor theater, carefully sweeping the path with our lights to see if the wayward object had dropped along the way.
No, we had to walk all the back to our picnic spot before finding it all alone in its carrying strap, waiting to be picked up. As if we hadn’t picked it up the first time.
Then… ah, then. We drove home, unpacked everything and found a serving spoon belonging to our friends. That spoon had spent the evening in the container of lovely green beans-tomatoes-caramelized-onions-fried-almonds that our friends brought to the picnic. At what point did it jump ship into our backpack?
But the battle was just beginning.
Due to the late nature of an astronomy lecture and stargazing, coupled with an hour-an-a-half drive home, these are always late nights for us. I’m trying to tell you that we were very tired. We needed a good night’s sleep. So after unpacking everything, and opening windows so the house would hopefully become cool enough for sleeping, we headed for bed.
They were waiting for that. But they didn’t attack immediately Inanimate objects can be very patient. Let the humans get a couple of hours of sleep, just enough to relax completely into dreams.
The BEEP! was loud and urgent. A smoke alarm. But only one beep, the one that says “my battery is dying! HELP!” Usually, these are only annoying, and not excessively loud. But not this one. This beep was a scream in the night. Not, mind you, the actual alarm warning us of danger. Just one beep that probably woke up the neighbors, too, considering our windows were open. It’s the kind of thing that has you out of bed before you even know you’re awake.
And of course, we have no idea which alarm it is, which means we have to stand there and wait the fifteen or so seconds until it beeps again. I knew it wasn’t the alarm in the office.
I knew this because we’d just changed the battery in that one on Tuesday. It’s like the March of Dead Smoke Alarm Batteries around here.
We found the attacking smoke alarm on the next VERY LOUD beep. The culprit was in the library. Fortunately, we have small ladder in the library for reaching high shelves, so it was just a matter of flipping it open, climbing up, removing the alarm, then taking out the battery and leaving the durn thing like that until morning. We heard a few more BEEPS before finishing this operation, but were soon back in bed.
They again waited until we were well into dreams before the second attack.
Honestly, when the second beep went off, I couldn’t believe it. Whose idea was this?
This IO (inanimate object) was sneakier. The beep was the more normal “I need my battery changed” beep, but we couldn’t find it. Not the library, that’s for sure. Or the office. Standing in the hallway proved that wasn’t it. Maybe downstairs. But no, it was fainter when I went down there.
It wasn’t the alarm in our bedroom. We’d have probably figured it out right away if that was the one. But where? We were literally going in circles.
You know how it is. Your circle gets smaller and smaller as you follow the beeps. We finally centered in on our dresser, where lo, it was NOT a smoke alarm. It was our CO2 detector. (Why yes. We do suffer from OCD, why do you ask?)
We were bumbling with exhaustion by this time, but eventually got the darn battery out. We also left that one for morning.
Today – they all get new batteries. Even the quiet ones. The IOs will have to try a different tactic tonight.