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whatimeant2invent #2

A friggin’ smoke alarm that does anything but beep intermittently when the batteries run down.  Shoot silly string.  Pop out a little red flag that says, “Change the batteries, idiot!”  Send electric shocks down my spine.  Emit a strong smell of manure.  I do not care.  But someone please think of an alternative to that $%#@!@ beep.

And while you are pondering that conundrum, for the love of Wonderbutt, would someone tell me why the batteries always run down in the middle of the friggin’ night?

You can probably guess what fun and games we had in the Firepants household last night.

Especially if you have read about our golden retriever’s abhorrence of beeping sounds. She came by the nickname “Mrs. Pain in the Butt” quite honestly.

I’m pretty sure many of the readers out there have experienced the wonderful wake-up call of a battery operated smoke detector at 3 AM.  We’ve been through this before – with an electronic smoke detector, no less – so I was a bit surprised when Cap’n Firepants drowsily said, “What is that sound?”

“I’m guessing the smoke alarm batteries are dying,” I said.  He took a moment to process this, then slowly got up and opened the door to the hallway.  Every 30 seconds, the alarm chirped.

You might ask, “If you were so alert as to be able to immediately identify the noise, Mrs. Cap’n Firepants, why didn’t you get up to stop the noise?”

Because I can’t be trusted around noisy smoke alarms, that’s why.  I kill them.  I grab the nearest broom or mop and beat them to death.  And Cap’n Firepants is not particularly thrilled with this method.

After the Cap’n went out into the hall, Mrs. P.I.B. barreled through the baby gate barrier into our bedroom, panting from the exertion of panicking about the menacing beep.

It seemed to take the Cap’n forever to deal with the matter.  It turned out that he decided to actually change the batteries once he got it down – and the new batteries had the same effect as the old ones.  He gave up and came back to bed.

Realizing his favorite tormentee had scored a spot in the coveted master bedroom, Wonderbutt began to whine out in the hall.  After five minutes of that, I finally opened our door back up, moved the gate to our door, and brought Wonderbutt’s bed to the hallway side of the gate so he could at least have the illusion of being in the Forbidden Section.  He stayed for about three minutes, and went back out into the living room to his much beloved, and much abused, couch.

About 15 minutes later, the gate came tumbling down with a crash.  Dimples was trying to get into our room, and hadn’t seen the gate across the door.

“What’s wrong?” I said.

“I heard a beep,” she said, crawling into bed next to me.

“That was 20 minutes ago,” I said.

“I need my pillow,” she said, getting back up, falling over the gate again, and walking back to her bedroom.

10 minutes after she returned, the Cap’n got up to go sleep in the guest bedroom because she was “moving too much”.

I don’t know what time I got back to sleep, but the actual alarm that I set to wake me up went off far too early for my liking.

If that thing beeps again tonight, I cannot be held responsible for my actions.  What Phoebe did to her smoke alarm on Friends will look mild in comparison.

I Accept A Smidgen of Responsibility

Some might wonder how, with a dog like Wonderbutt, our saintly Golden Retriever could have been saddled with a nickname like Mrs. Pain in the Butt.

After all, she is the Lady to Wonderbutt’s Tramp, right?

Looks can be deceiving.

Mrs. P.I.B. has quite a few habits that have helped her to earn her nickname, despite her well-mannered appearance.

I alluded to one of them in yesterday’s post regarding my super duper cooking skills and the involvement of a smoke alarm.

The pacing and panting and major freak-out are not infrequent reactions on the part of Mrs. P.I.B.

I do have some sympathy, however, because I’m pretty sure her anxiety is all my fault.

Years ago, long before Wonderbutt, and months before the Smoke Alarm Incident, Mrs. P.I.B. was fairly well-adjusted.  One night, we went to bed as normal, only to be woken several times by a whining dog outside our door.  Mrs. P.I.B. does not sleep in our bedroom normally because she makes all kinds of noise while she is sleeping – from smacking her lips loudly to whining while she chases squirrels in her dreams.

When we opened the door that night, she was frantic, and tried to sweep past us into the room, but we wouldn’t let her, thinking it would set a precedent that we would have a hard time breaking.

It was not a fun night.

The next morning, I got up early, and went out to the kitchen to deal with our panic-stricken dog.  As I neared the kitchen, I heard a beeping sound.  I finally tracked it down to my cell phone.  Apparently, the battery had died.  It wasn’t completely dead, though.  It emitted its pre-flatline regular beep all night, which would probably be considered a particularly cruel form of torture for canines with sensitive ears.  As soon as I plugged the phone in to recharge, silencing the beep, Mrs. P.I.B. noticeably calmed down.  The mystery was solved.

But the fun was just beginning.  Starting with that incident, Mrs. P.I.B. became a nervous wreck whenever something beeped.  We were more conscientious about keeping our phones charged.  But, then we had a couple of thunderstorms that caused the electricity to go out, causing the various electronics to beep.  After that, Mrs. P.I.B. became deathly afraid of thunderstorms.  There doesn’t even have to be a beep anymore.  Now, as soon as the wind begins to signal an oncoming storm, Mrs. P.I.B. begins to cling to our heels.

I was watching the Friends episode the other night when Phoebe’s smoke alarm won’t die even after she: removes the battery, beats it with a hammer, and throws it down the garbage chute (hilarious episode, I highly recommend it!).  Mrs. P.I.B. ran into the room at the first screech of the smoke alarm on T.V.  She looked at me as though I were crazy to allow this to continue, couldn’t I hear that blasted sound?  I finally had to change the channel because I was afraid the dog would expire before the alarm did.

So, all of you Mrs. P.I.B. fans out there, let me assure you that she comes by her nickname honestly.  She’s got some other bad habits, too.  But a Lady has to have some secrets.

Nervous wreck of a dog that she is, she’s still just as lovable as Wonderbutt.

Mrs. P.I.B. in Her Carefree, Younger Days

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