Monday, April 30, 2007

How technodumb am I?

It just took me an hour to figure out how to change the farookin battery in the smoke detector. Now in my own defense, I'm really whipped. Or course my back was totally out when I got up and I had to work all day. Then I had to finish the cleaning at the old house so I could leave the last trash for the pick up tomorrow. Then I had to stop at the grocery store because I had no food.

So by the time I get home, I'm feeling pretty good about sitting out on my balcony having a beer and the cursed detector starts beeping. Now the agent I work with discussed the smoke detectors with me at great length when I signed the papers. It's a hard wired system and there's no way to turn it off if the backup battery goes dead. So you need to keep a 9volt battery around. The spiel was more to cover their liability. You know - if you rip it off the wall and if the place burns down, you're liable. I didn't pay that much attention to the instructions. I figured how hard can it be to change a battery?

So I took her advice and knew exactly where my batteries were. I even bought two of them in case they both go out at once. I feeling pretty nonchalant about the whole thing until I see that it's not so simple to get the door open for the battery. And then when I finally got it open the battery didn't want to come out. And it's this brittle plastic so you don't want to force anything.

Finally I had to unscrew the whole blessed thing, which wasn't as easy as it sounds and I was careful to notice which way the terminal were situated. It wasn't written on the panel. It was weird setup altogether because you had to fit a sqare battery into a curved hole and I can't get the new battery in properly. I could get it in well enough to close it but it didn't feel right.

So I inspect the terminals of the old and the new battery and discover they're different. My batteries are only four sided, so I'm thinking, I'll go get a new battery with the right shape. I can hear the damn thing beeping from my car. But I scored the right shape battery and I came home with new hope. Hope that was quickly dashed when it still didn't stop beeping.

I could get the battery in a little more easily, but it still didn't work. I'm thinking there's something wrong with the wiring and I'm tempted to just rip the cursed thing off the ceiling but I try pushing buttons instead. At one point I managed to set off the alarm. I hoped that would reset it or something, but no luck. It kept beeping. At this point I'm swearing rather loudly and then I hear my upstairs neighbor walking around. I'm pretty sure they heard me.

All this time, I was convinced I had remembered the right orientation for the battery and that it was just hard to get in because it was hard to get out. Finally in a last act of desperation, I tried it the other way. It worked. It effin' worked. It went in easy and it stopped beeping. I felt like an idiot but at least a victorious one. It worked.

Then I heard the other beep. Something else was still beeping and it wasn't the other smoke detector. I'm thinking great -- it's probably the stupid alarm system. I eyed the motion detector suspiciously. The system wasn't armed an it was staring back at me with that guilty red glare. But no, the beep was still coming from the bedroom.

So I'm madly searching for possible sources when it finally dawns on me -- and regular readers who remember my beeping stove story will appreciate this -- I left my cell phone home today. It was trying to tell me I had a bleeping message...


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