And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!

When your smoke detector goes off at 2:30 am, you wake up and pay attention.

In our apartment, I used to regularly set off the smoke detector. In the summer, it seemed to be triggered just by heat, and any amount of cooking in the oven would set it off. Just boiling water could do it. Seriously, I have never set anything on fire in the kitchen, but you wouldn’t know it based on that old smoke detector.

In our new house, the fire alarm has some newfangled feature where the one that is going off “calls” to the other ones so that they go off and warn us as well. We have one alarm downstairs and four upstairs – one in our bedroom, one in the hallway, and one in each of the other two bedrooms. That means that last night we had five alarms going off at once.

I was a bit drugged out on the NyQuil, so I wasn’t quite as alert as Mike. He ran downstairs to see what was happening. No smoke, no fire. No smoke next door. No fire anywhere we could see. No warm walls or floors or ceilings. And our detectors don’t detect carbon monoxide, so it wasn’t some dangerous gas. So we started unplugging them to get them to stop. And now we know how we can tell which one is the one that has actually been set off, and which ones are just responding. It was a valuable (if very loud) lesson, one that I hope we never have reason to use.

Just last week, Mike mentioned that he read somewhere that there are worse things than getting a wrong number at 4am. It could be a right number. I told him that I always figured that the main reason people got so angry about wrong numbers at that hour was because it frightened them, which in turn made them angry.

Last night I wasn’t really angry at the fluke. It was just one of those weird things that happens, and Mike and I were both just glad that our house wasn’t burning down. But it took us a long time to fall back to sleep. That’s not something you can get over very quickly. We lay there for a while in the dark just holding hands, thankful that we were safe, listening to the rhythm of each other’s breathing. Mike drifted to sleep a little before I did, and I slid closer to him and closed my eyes.

It’s not very fun to have the smoke detector go off for no reason at 2:30 am, but it’s better than the alternative.

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  1. By shingle Repair on 4/30/2017 at

    shingle Repair

    And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise! – Through a Glass, Darkly

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