Our combo smoke and carbon monoxide detector in the basement beeped and blurted in the early Sunday morning hours. After much fuss and patience while the loud digital woman’s voice warned of FIRE. FIRE. FIRE. FIRE. FIRE., we nervously fumbled to remove her from the wall. We pulled out her batteries, took relief in some silence, and scurried to find some new double AAs lying around the house. To my surprise, we had a fresh pack and gave those a try. Still she blurted, belched and beeped her warning cries. We reread the owner’s manual that we had kept tacked up on the wall by her side-feeling proud of ourselves for the forethought years ago to keep it handy- and went through the suggested troubleshooting tips. Nothing. Reset. Nothing. Still she blurted and beeped in her obnoxious tones. It was becoming clear: we needed a new one. How does a combo smoke and carbon monoxide detector die? And how much time should one invest in trying to repair it when the said detector loudly bemoans her troubles in your face while trying to bring her back to life? We gave it about 40 minutes before we made the dreadful decision to go buy a new one and laid her to rest in the trash can, on top of the dryer lint. Rest in peace.
Of course with things like these, one can’t put it off. With the death of such an important fixture in your home, if you do delay, for even just one day, surely that will be the night your home catches on fire and to everyone’s dismay the morning headlines will read:
HOME FIRE TAKES THE LIVES OF TWO ADULT MALES AND THEIR PET FAMILY. FIREFIGHTERS FOUND THE HOME HAD NO SMOKE DETECTOR AND CALL THIS AN UNFORTUNATE REMINDER FOR ALL TO INSTALL AND MAINTAIN THEIR DETECTORS. DETECTORS SAVE LIVES.
We headed to Ace Hardware later that day to pick up a new lady friend.
As we left the hardware store, which is located in a strip mall, we noticed a new business a couple doors down. A cremation business. In a strip mall. We had to have a good laugh. After having spent some moments of our day with a morbid digital woman reminding us to avert possible perishable situations, we delighted in some morbid humor ourselves. “Hey, let’s stop in there to get Grandpa taken care of after we pick up a new rake. How convenient. You run in there, and I’ll go pick up dry cleaning. Meet you back here in ten.” It’s not really funny, on a normal day, to think of these things, I know. But it is, kind of. And if that makes me that much closer to the burning fires of hell, well, then I know where to go to get there faster.
Thankfully, our new combo detector is hanging up and showing us she’s working with her little green flashing light. No more blurting–and a bit of peace will help us rest through the nights.
We’re safe for now. But in the event that something should happen to one of us, it’s a blessing to know that cremation is right around the corner.