Things that go *beep* in the night.

Picture this: it’s three in the morning. You’ve been having a blissful dream, and the feeling lingers even though the dream itself does not. You turn over, smiling in your sleep, and relaxing more, because the a/c has kicked in and the drop in temperature is soothing. You’re halfway back to REM sleep when you’re jolted by the high-pitched *BEEP* of what you think is the smoke alarm. You try to ignore it – maybe it will go away, bumblebee fashion. It does not.

So of course you do what any sane woman who is wrapped in sleep and blankets would do, you roll over and nudge your husband. “Fuzzy,” you hiss. “It’s doing it again.”

“Oh,” he murmurs, clearly not awake, or cognizant of what you’re telling him.

You drift for a while, until- *BEEP* – it happens again. And the dog reacts, becoming agitated, and distressed. This time when you nudge your husband, it’s much more pointed. “Fuzzy, the beeping is happening. MAKE IT STOP.”

He grumbles, but leaves bed. You leave bed as well, small dog in tow, and spend some time in the bathroom. The beeping continues. It’s not a real alarm, more like a low-battery alert.

Your husband, meanwhile, is mucking about the house, playing with things. In the past, raising the temperature of the house has made the beeping stop. Or seemed to. But this night it does not, so now you’re HOT as well as frustrated by the persistant *beep* issuing forth every 30 seconds.

Your husband, calmly, goes to the one smoke detector he can easily reach, and attempts to duplicate the problem. First there is a loud klaxon, then, instead of just one beep, you have two. Offset. One about five seconds after the other. For the next ten minutes, you and your agitated dog are subjected to *BEEP* *beep* instead of merely *BEEP*. Fortunately, reseating the smoke alarm that was mucked with stops the second sound.

You go to your computer, to see if it really is the a/c causing the issue. Just in case. You manage to track down information on the thermostat, and reset it to temperatures you like, since, apparently, the two systems are not related, and any seeming relationship was just coincidental. At least, now, it’s getting cooler again. That helps.

When you leave your computer room, and padd back to the bedroom, you find your husband, naked except for athletic socks, standing on the stepstool. Well, no, actually, he’s standing on a case of (warm) orange soda that he’s put on the top step of the stepstool so that he can reach the smoke detector in the bedroom. He manages to remove it, and unplug the power cord tucked inside. For a moment you are both hopeful that this has solved the problem.

*BEEP*
Apparently not.

You are asked if it came from the smoke detector which you are now holding. You answer that it did seem closer, but that you’re not certain. You remove the backup battery, and wait. *BEEP*. Well, it’s not the smoke detector, after all.

You leave the room, and try to find more information. Or at least food, since now you’re hungry. While you nibble leftover baked rigatoni, your husband makes a bunch of clunk-clunk noises in the bedroom, and in the duct above the laundry center – he’s still wearing only athletic socks, and you have to stay out of the room to avoid giggling. He bangs his sore toe climbing down, and you have to comfort him.

Several minutes later, you realize the beeping has stopped. Your husband informs you that since it’s now seven, he may as well shower. When he’s done, he says, he’s going back to sleep for another hour or so. You decide going back to bed seems like a good option.

You drift while he showers. When he rejoins you in bed, you ask, “How’d you make it stop?”

“There’s a speaker on the wall – the plate we thought was the doorbell, except we don’t have a doorbell – I banged on it and shined the flashlight at it. And stuff.”

Several hours later, you find out from maintenance that the plate is a speaker attached to the smoke detection system, and that it was broadcasting a low battery signal from elsewhere. They promise to come by “before the end of the day” and fix it. They don’t show up, but the *beep* seems to be muted, despite the fact that you now have it so cold in the apartment that even you are claiming your feet are cold.

Typically, maintenance never shows up.
And you fear going to bed …fear things going *beep* in the night.

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Things that go *beep* in the night. by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

One thought on “Things that go *beep* in the night.

  1. Welp, actually the reason why we thought the silly thing of the AC & Alarm BEEP were related is because the fire system inspectors who came through the apartment like 1 week after we moved in said. “oh if you have an intermittant beep, its cause your AC is trying to cool more than it can.” AKA the you can only cool the inside by 20 degrees or so from the outside temperature.

    Which we kind of thought was odd since its rare for AC & Fire detectors to be tied together unless they are ‘really’ fancy all in one systems…where they’re monitoring the kitchen sink and all…

    Anyway thank god the *BEEP* has stopped (Knocking on wood).

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