Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Late Night Beeping

Flashback to the night before Halloween, 1998.  My two year old son was on antibiotics because he had just been diagnosed with pneumonia and we couldn't figure out how he got so sick. Odd. I spent most of that night writing on my computer downstairs in our old farmhouse and actually fell asleep in front of it. Again, odd. Later, when I woke up, I dragged myself upstairs to check my son then I went to bed. Early Halloween morning, my wife woke me to tell me that our carbon monoxide detector beeped. I could barely get out of bed. I felt like I had the worst hangover ever. Responders found a crack in our furnace. We were slowly, silently being poisoned as our basement filled with odorless gas. No wonder my son was sick. I shudder to think....

Cut to last Saturday: our carbon monxide detector beeped at around 6:30 a.m. Immediately we were out of bed. We woke our children. We checked our pets. The windows were already open but we opened the doors too. Why would it beep though? We hadn't used our furnace for months. All it could be was the hot water heater, right? Everyone felt fine but we called a plumber who called the gas guy who called us. (I really admire people who do this for a living.) Both of them hurried over, checked our house from top to bottom. No carbon monoxide, no natural gas leak. We were advised to get a new carbon monoxide detector which we promptly did. The gas guy said call me at any time of the day or night if this happens again. He told us we can also call 911. (Again, admiration and respect. I wanted to hug the guy.)

Cut to Sunday night at 3:30 a.m. The carbon monoxide detector beeps. All precautions repeated. The new detector has a display indicating several things: the type of gas and the quanitity. It reads zero. Our kids and pets feel fine. Odd. Something doesn't make sense. We reset it but it still indicated zero. With the door open, I sat beside the detector and re-read the manual. I reset it again. I waited. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. 4:30 a.m. Nothing. I unplugged the detector, took it upstairs and plugged it in just above a furnace vent. It read zero. Nothing. Nothing. 5:00 a.m. Then suddenly: beep. Odd. The beeping wasn't coming from the detector! The beeping was still downstairs! Confused, I unplugged the detector and went downstairs to find the beeping and that's when it beeped again. Did it beep in my hand? Worried, my daughter got up again and wandered into the hallway.Was it the battery backup? WTH???!!! Was the house on fire? WTH???!!! I had to go wake my wife. She ran downstairs with me. Beep. What the hell is beeping???!!! We looked around. And then we looked up. The smoke detector read "low battery."

I guess anybody could forgive us for being gun-shy about carbon monoxide considering what we went through the first time. Still though, I'm a little embarrassed. I think I might keep this information from our plumber and the gas guy. If you're reading this though and you don't have a carbon monoxide detector, GET ONE NOW! It will save your life! And *avoiding eye-contact, chewing on lip* while your're at it, maybe, uh, check the, uh, batteries in your smoke detectors.

2 comments:

Missy said...

This is funny in a good way. I am going to check batteries now! Thanks!

dbs said...

@Missy Yes, I'm glad it turned out funny too. Keep safe.

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