Last Monday, I’d placed a maintenance request with the front office of my apartment complex due to the smoke alarm in the bedroom beeping once a minute for an indeterminate amount of time in the night. I would have just removed it from the wall or removed the battery, if it was just that simple. First of all, how do people in apartments reach shit on the ceiling? I don’t have the means to store a ladder here! I have a step ladder that gets me about 2 feet off the ground. That’s it. When I was putting up decorative bead garland around the chandelier in the dining room, I stood on the dining table to get up that high. I also did that unsupervised when no one was home and used a meat fork to get to the highest part that I still couldn’t reach.
|Good idea to use near wires.|
Last night, about 3:30, the beeping started again. I put in earplugs but still couldn’t drown out the high-pitched beep-a-minute. I stormed out into the living room and glared at Mike and said “DO YOU HEAR THAT???” Now remember, it beeps once every sixty seconds, and I’m just pointing vaguely up in the air and there is no sound. I’m sure I look insane. Then I said “It’s the beeping, give it a minute” so he didn’t think I just woke up from some odd nightmare that I was convinced was real. At this point, I decided enough was enough. Hardwired or not, I was going to DO SOMETHING about this!
I don’t have a ladder to get me high enough though so I had to think… I can’t drag the dining room table in, that’s too big. But I could drag in the kitchen dining nook table! That would be just right! I could use the step stool to get onto the table and then take care of business.
|Also worthy to note that I built this set myself with real tools.|
As I’m in my pajamas with my hair all crazy, dragging a kitchen table into the bedroom at 3:30 AM, I felt a kinship to every Polish wonder in my family from my ancestors all the way to me. Suddenly there was this lightning bond to my dead grandfather that I never knew well, as I was about to mount a kitchen table in my bedroom, I couldn’t not think of the story of him throwing a hammer through a brand new television in a fit of rage because the damn thing didn’t work. They often don’t work when you don’t plug them in, is how the story goes. Michael is following behind me because I told him “I’m gonna need a spotter.” He’s trying to persuade me not to do this, by EVER SO POLITELY saying “I don’t know if that table is sturdy enough to hold you.” Back the fuck up. I’m in a craze in the middle of the night dragging around furniture, and questioning my weight vs. a table is your bright idea to dissuade me from the task at hand? NO SIR, I DON’T LIKE IT. My answer though was “I built this table myself, I know it is sturdy.”
Right about now I bet you’re thinking this story is going in the direction of me standing on the table and it collapsing under my fat ass. If that is what you thought, fuck you, because it didn’t happen. I’m not that fat and I pride myself upon my quality furniture workmanship.
Right before going to get up on the table, I figure I should take off my socks, so I don’t slip. Safety first. So there I am, standing upon the table, investigating this beeping monster. I twist it from the wall, and it hangs down from the ceiling by some red wires and some black wires. I’m living my fantasy of dismantling a bomb right in my own bedroom. I did this in our last apartment when the smoke detector was misfiring, standing on the dresser for height. It had been an easy enough operation of just disconnecting the wires from the detector, much like taking out a USB cord or internet cable of some sort. This time though, it wouldn’t budge. I couldn’t get it. I stood on that table and fucked with it for a couple minutes with no luck. Then I noticed it just stopped beeping. That was this thing’s M.O.; it would beep for a random amount of time, ONLY DURING THE NIGHT, and then just stop. So this time it beeped for about 20 minutes and then it was done so I just screwed it back into the ceiling. I put the table back into the kitchen, wiped my footprints off the tabletop and laid back down in bed.
I did not have a chance to fall back asleep. Mike had started snoring, my blood pressure and anger levels were through the roof. And at roughly 4:30 it started again. The beeping. This is when I just decided sleep was not happening anymore and I’d better just do some other shit. I cleaned up the rest of the house. I made myself some breakfast and watched some Ancient Aliens on the DVR. The beeping stopped at 7:30. I fell asleep around 9 AM for an hour or two. The night time activities made me irritable for the whole day. I was looking to pick a fight at Target.
After Mike and I ran some errands today and returned home, I declared that I was not going to stand for this shit anymore and that fucking beeping hell machine was coming off the wall one way or another. I gathered my materials: the step stool, the kitchen table and a long flat-head screwdriver. Mike called me a hard-headed Pollack, but I didn’t care. You know why? BECAUSE IT WORKED. I used the screwdriver to pry back this little plastic tab and that freed the wires from the hell machine. I saw that it was still flashing its test light, so I knew there was a battery in there somewhere. After jiggling it around a little bit, a magic door opened with a 9 volt, and I took it out and declared victory. Feeling smug, I walked away towards the bathroom to wash up, and then…. THEN….
I whipped around and said loudly at a seemingly inanimate object “OH NO YOU FUCKING DID NOT JUST DO THAT.” I was immediately reminded of that episode of The Twilight Zone where the dad took the batteries out of the stupid Talking Tina doll that he’d thrown away, and it’d returned, and it spoke from the garbage can “I’m Talking Tina, and I’m going to kill you!” I was just about to go get the hammer and smash it to death when it beeped three dying beep sounds and then it was over. I win… for now.
But so help me lord in heaven if that thing makes one more noise, I am putting on my shoes and jacket, taking it over to the main office, and though they are closed till 9AM tomorrow, I will just push that thing through the rent-drop mail slot in the main entrance.