Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Diary of a Residency Widow: Who you gonna call?

Last night, at 1:45am I was woken by the shrill piercing sound of an alarm. Still grogy I fumbled with the buttons on my alarm clock thinking that had to be the source of the noise even though the sound wasn't right for my alarm clock. When that didn't stop the sound I fumbled around with anything else on my nightstand that my sleepy brain thought might be the source. Again nothing worked. By this time I was becoming more alert and my brain was trying to figure out what the sound could be.

What produces an ear splitting, heart pounding tone unexpectedly in the middle of the night? The smoke detector, I concluded. I didn't smell any smoke though so I assumed it was just a dying battery. I ran down the stairs and furiously tried to get the detector off the wall, knocking down our pull-up bar and freaking out the dog in the process. I took out the battery and...the sound continued.

Could it be the other smoke alarm I wondered? That thought confused me though as the other smoke alarm hadn't had power to it for over a year. Had something happened to the wiring that resurrected the hard wired deamon smoke detector from the dead? Frantic to try anything to get the alarm to stop I grabbed the mop, raced back up the stairs and proceeded to whack the ill placed detector, located above the second step before the landing just out of reach to normal human arms (Where's Inspector Gadget when you need him?), like a pinata until it crashed to the ground and...the sound continued.

Frustrated and with panic levels rising I decided that I needed to narrow down what area of the house the sound was coming from. I ran to the kitchen and rumaged through the drawer to find the keys to the lock on our breaker box, then one at a time I started flipping switches.
Upstairs? = not it
Downstairs? = not it
Kitchen? = not it
Lighting? = not it
Washer / Dryer? = not it
Smoke? = definitely not it

I was out of ideas, on the verge of crying and my house was still screaming. So I did what any other 28 year old married woman would do. I called my mommy. Normally I would have called my husband but at that time he would either A) be busy with patients or B) be trying to catch a few winks of sleep in his 30 hour shift. I didn't think it was fair to disrupt his sleep when really there wouldn't be anything he could do, and he didn't need to worry about me freaking out at home alone.

"Hello?" mom mumbled.
"Mom, I need help," I stumbled trying to hold it together and not freak her out. I gave her a quick rundown of what was happening. "Can you hear that?"
"Hear what?" she replied.
Surprised that she couldn't hear the chaos in my house I moved around a bit trying to find a better sound sample for her, and as I did something amazing happened. I narrowed in on the source of the noise. And the culprit was...

A $2 kitchen timer with a dying battery.

Who knew that much noise could come from something so small? Apparently the manufacturers felt that the demise of the timer's battery was an urgent matter worthy of a household emergency. Afterall HOW WILL WE KNOW WHEN THE COOKIES ARE DONE!?! Or how will we be able to time the dog's bathroom break? Here we've been spending time and energy educating people on the importance of checking their smoke detectors when kitchen timers was the real epidemic.

I thanked my mom for listening, appologized for waking her up, turned all the power back on, took Buster out to go to the bathroom as all the excitement got his bladder going, and then dragged myself back to bed about 20 minutes after the whole ordeal orginally began. It felt more like an hour.

This was the second time that day in which my parents had come to my rescue. Several hours earlier my dad came by my house to help me with our new washer. The installers had hooked the hoses up wrong and what should have been a cold water rinse was a hot water rinse and vice versa. I had spent an hour working through this on my own yet my girly arms couldn't move the machine nor could I get the couplings loosened. Thanks to a great dad we got it fixed and working properly.

I guess morally of the story is if you're going to be a residency widow it helps to have people you can lean on nearby... and don't forget to check your kitchen timers people!