Saturday, April 19, 2008

Friday Night Fun

Last night, Lefty and I were sitting relaxing after a long week, watching a little mindless Food Network fun, and the smoke alarm went off. We, of course immediately pressed pause and went to check things out. (Not before Lefty looked at me and said "Is that the smoke alarm?" as if there would be some other high pitched electronic shrieking going on.)

Our smoke alarms are hard-wired into the house and work on a relay, so that if one goes off, they all join in. I'm sure this is an excellent safety feature but it makes it next to impossible to identify the culprit that was shrieking for about 5 seconds then stopping and then doing it again as soon as we had settled back onto the couch and rejoined Alton Brown's discussion of baby back ribs. This went on for a little while. Alton kept assuring me that I could cook ribs without smoking them. The alarms would shriek for a couple of seconds. Fun! I was tempted to just set the damn house on fire in the hopes of them working in reverse and stopping at the first sign of smoke.

We've had this problem before about 6 months ago. That time, the alarm would go off between 2:45 and 3:00 am. Just long enough for me to bolt upright in the bed and begin to plot our exit strategy. I would check on The Kid and sniff around the house for smoke. (Perimenopausal super smelling capabilities come in handy sometimes.) Convinced there was no fire, I'd go back to bed and it would happen again about an hour later. Fun! The electrician we called seemed dumbfounded by the eccentricities of our system. He changed the batteries and said he had "his fingers crossed" that he'd solved our problem. It happened again two nights later and then somehow the problem miraculously went away. Until last night…

So we unhooked all the detectors from the electrical system and took out the back up batteries. The Kid slept through it all. We went to bed and slept the restless sleep of those with no working smoke detectors which was a wee bit better than the sleep of those interrupted at 10 minute intervals by shrieking smoke alarms going off for no reason.

After a quick trip to the store this morning to stock up on 9 volt batteries, we've replaced them all and have reconnected the alarms – so far so good.


  1. It used to freak me out that my kids slept soundly through our fire alarms. That is deep sleep!

  2. Isn't it amazing what they'll sleep through?! I hope that litttle problem has worked itself out!

  3. what ingredient did alton brown use?

  4. Ribs and a homemade sauce. I think I would use a sweet barbecue sauce if I made some ribs. Would you eat them?