Let's be straight up honest here... The Lovely Steph Leann has sinus issues and allergies. As a result of such issues, she has a... what I mean is, sometimes when she's sleeping... that is, she... okay, she snores. I don't say that to embarass her, I don't say that to call her out, I don't say that to put her down or shame her. In fact, its really nothing more than sinus issues that she consistantly deals with, which is nothing to be ashamed of. Do I snore? Perhaps. She says I do, though I've never heard the proof, so who knows--regardless of whether I do or not, that's not important. The fact that she does is important to our little tale.
I have several decisions to make in the evening concerning bedtime... do I go to bed and go on to sleep before she does? If I have to open at Starbucks, requiring a 410a wake up time, then yeah, there's a good possibility of that, or at least go to bed when she does. Do I stay up, doing stuff I wanted to do, like watch something on DVR, or blog, or read or whatever, then go to bed later, hoping if she is wailing away, I can suffer through it? Maybe. If I have to open at The Happiest Place in the Mall the next day, then I might be up a little later, or if I have the day off, I might stay up way late, then just go to bed and pass out.
Our nights are always a little different. Sometimes I nudge her with my foot, other times I bump her a little to get her to turn over.
This past weekend, The Lovely Steph Leann was out of town. Its so weird how, when she's here, I have to deal with if and when she's going to be sawing logs, but when she's gone, the house feels a little lonely. She came back a little worse for the wear, and on Monday was just feeling terrible... so much so, she called into work. Won't get into details, but she just wasn't feeling up to par.
I had Monday off, save for a short meeting at Starbucks that I attended, so for me, it was a day of well intentioned, yet non-producing laziness that we all need every now and again. Heck, I don't think I even showered until like, 2 or 3, which is when I finally got something to eat. I had a hard enough time staying focused when I was in college... dear goodness, if there had been Facebook, Roller Coaster Tycoon, DirecTV, DVR or the expanse of the interweb then as there is now, I'm not sure I would gotten anything done--I'd have been that guy to work hard at getting straight 0's.
Tuesday, I had a full day... had to be at Starbucks for what's known as a "princess shift", that being a shift of only 3 or 4 hours. I was due in at 7, working til 11, then home to shower, grab lunch and head to The Happiest Place in the Mall by 130 to work until close. So Monday, I was relaxing, but mentally preparing for time constraints--and lack of breaktime--the next day. The Lovely Steph Leann spent time with her mom on Monday evening, feeling marginally better but oh so exhausted.
I knew she was tired. I knew the weekend away, though fun for her, had just zapped her of all energy. And I knew full well she needed as much uninterupted sleep as she could possibly get. So, even though both of our heads hit our respective pillows around 1130p Monday night, I knew there was a more than good chance of me moving to the futon later on in the evening.
Upstairs in The Cabana are three bedrooms. The master is close to the front of the home, the back bedroom is large and though right now is more of a "catch-all" room, we do have plans for it, and the middle we just call "the guest room". In this guest room is a high quality, fancy schmancy futon couch bed that, when the noise gets a little too much for me, I grab my pillow and my phone (making use of the alarm) and blanket and head there. This past Monday night, it was just like that. I sat up in bed, just grabbed my pillow and blanket and headed down the hall. Because she was tired, it was one of those nights that I just didn't feel right about nudging her, or trying to move her around to quiet her sinuses... it was better just to let her be. See, that's the kind of awesome hubby I am.
Once in the guest room, I folded down the futon to the bed, spread one of my mom's famous quilts over it, then lay down, pulling another of my mom's famous quilts over me. Planted my head down, and drifted right on off to sleep. It was about 12:15am. Had to be at work in just under 7 hours, meaning I had to get up around 6:15. Six hours sleep? Wonderful. I'll take it.
I opened my eyes, dazed, but not confused. There's only one sound that could be.
There's no mistaking that sound. Its a sound I can hear coming from the next house. Its a sound I heard many times in college cause we were all too broke to fix it.
The fire alarm batteries are dying.
I rolled out of bed off of the futon bed and stood up. Sigh. The Lovely Steph Leann and I have discussed this very scenario before--one day we'd have to replace these batteries, and I said, "We have no 9 volt batteries" and she would say, "We might. You will have to check." I never checked, but I knew the answer then, just like at 1:50am. We didn't have any.
Didn't stop me from going downstairs to check. I rummaged through the drawer that everyone has--the drawer of stuff that you don't know where to put it, and (chirp) stuff you don't need until you need it, at which time it somehow has magically disappeared to parts unknown, only to be found later when you either don't need it again or have replaced it and put the replacement back into that same drawer. That's a crazy run-on sentence, but everyone knows what I'm talking about.
I found a few candles, some matched, a couple (chirp) of cookie cutters, some AA batteries, a few AAA batteries, two D batteries, a single C battery (who needs only one C battery? In fact, what even uses C batteries anymore?) and a few other fun items. But no 9 volt batteries. Well, my solution? Take out the batteries on the fire alarms, both of them upstairs, and replace them later. I'll tell The Lovely Steph Leann and she won't let me forget, so it'll get done in a few days. Then I can sleep.
But... there's a problem with this plan. I'm a little shorter than I need to be for such a task. Somewhere, in the confines of The Cabana is a five foot step-stool ladder. Its somewhere. But I don't know where. Not too long ago, probably right after the 9 volt battery conversation, we had this exchange:
The Lovely Steph Leann: Where is the stepstool ladder?
Me: I dunno, haven't seen it. We probably need to find it.
The Lovely Steph Leann: Yeah, we do.
So now, at 2am in the morning, I have a crazy need for this particular stepstool. Back downstairs, through the kitchen, I open the (chirp) garage door and flip on the light. I'm tired, my vision is all jacked up, my throat is parched, I'm stumbling around even in the light, its not good times. Bad times.
I scan the garage, and don't see it. I check all the places that I've checked a few times before--the pantry, the small side porch, even (chirp) in the guest bathroom... like then, I find nothing. I make my way up the stairs, into the guest room, look around the walls--its like, five feet tall, so its not as if its hidden between a CD case and a dresser, for pete's sake. Nothing. I stick my head into the back bedroom and even though there are many boxes of things yet (chirp) unpacked, again, there's nothing of a ladder shape. I walk through to our little "bonus attic" room. Nothing. Except for a two foot tall Christmas Mickey Mouse that KT brought us a few years back (thanks KT!).
I stand at the end of the hallway, looking up at the fire alarm. How am I going to get (chirp) there? Not to mention that there's another fire alarm at the other end of the hallway, so I am not even sure which one is beeping. Thinking, racking my addled, tired brain, I look around for something. I grab the (chirp) rolling chair from the guest room out from the computer desk, and pull it into the hallway. I stand on it and realize I'm still at least a foot or two short. I roll it back, sighing. I need another chair to stand on... or... maybe two chairs... maybe if I stack chairs... no, the folding chairs we have won't stack like that (chirp) and they would all over and I'd break my fool neck and... but what if... what if I had more than two chairs? What if I... yeah... that might work...
I go back into the back bedroom and look around again, not for the ladder but this time for the folding chairs that we have in there... the five folding chairs we have in there. You know in the movies when someone is looking for something, and the camera scans the room and it goes by several things that they person isn't looking for, scans right by the thing that is being sought, stops and then snaps back to the thing needed? That's me with the chairs. And, within three minutes, I (chirp) come up with this:
Not a groundbreaking design, that of a chair pyramid, but for 2:20 in the morning, I can live with it. I climb atop the top chair, and reach up for the alarm. It screws out of the ceiling, attached by two wires--one red, one white, immediately making me think that if I cut the wrong one, the bomb goes off... actually, if I cut either, The Lovely Steph Leann goes off, and that might be worse. No battery compartment. I look it over, move it around, and find the battery door. I open it, and pull out the 9 volt. I carefully place it back in the ceiling, climb down, move the chairs one by one (so as not to clink and wake The Lovely Steph Leann) to the other end of the hall, the one by our bedroom door, climb up again and pull out the other battery.
Victory is mine.
I move the chairs back down the hall, leaving them opened against the wall. I'll deal with them later. Its 2:25am, I have to be at work in about 4 and a half hours, so if I get to sleep, thats 4 hours. I can live with that. I mean, I already had about 2 or so, and though interrupted sleep isn't ideal, its what I got.
I open my eyes and sit up. Seriously? Like, seriously? So, are modern day fire alarms set up now to keep chirping when the batteries are removed? Both fire alarms now emit a high pitched chirp, almost in unison. And what's worse is, they didn't start that "battery removed, replace it!" chirp when I pulled the battery out.. oh no, no no... they both waited until I was settled down again, with my eyes closed, then somehow coordinated an attack on my stamina.
Office Space printer style execution, with a bat in a field, while some gangsta sings, "Die mofo die mofo die!" in the background. Visions of just hitting both of them hard with a hammer, as they remained planted in the wall.
Exasperated, I open our bedroom door, change from PJ pants to some regular shorts, toss on a better t-shirt, and head downstairs. To the garage. To the car. And to Wal-greens. And into Wal-greens. And to the battery aisle. And to pick up a four pack of 9 volt batteries. And back to The Cabana. And back upstairs. And back up the pyramid of chairs. And out with the old, in with the new. And back down the (chirp) pyramid of chairs. And (chirp) moving the chairs back down the hall. And back up the pyramid of chairs. And out with the (chirp) old, in with the new. And back down the pyramid of the chairs. And moving the chairs back down the hall again, so when The Lovely Steph Leann comes out of the bedroom, she doesn't walk into a wall of folding chairs.
Blessed, sacred silence.
Its 4:45am. I have to be at work in a little more than 2 hours. Which means I can hopefully get about an hour, to an hour and a half of sleep. Maybe. Maybe I can sleep... maybe...
I just lay there, open my eyes. Not only are the fire alarms openly mocking me, but it woke me up 3 minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off. I get up, head to the bathroom and get ready for work. For what was supposed to be anywhere from five to seven hours of sleep before a full day turned into maybe, possibly three to four hours of sleep in 90 minute segments. And The Lovely Steph Leann slept through it all.
When I got home from The Happiest Place in the Mall, I was pretty doggone tired. But it was managable. The Lovely Steph Leann was on the couch and we discussed our days of work, and I shared with her my eventful overnight battle with the two fire alarms (chirp) upstairs. We both agreed that the ladder was in fact, somewhere in this house.
Remember when I told you that my internal camera did the movie thing where I scanned the chairs, went past them, and came right back? Well, in this same movie, as I stood in frustration with no ladder, walking out of the back bedroom, the camera would have then focused on the closet in the corner. Because (chirp) that's where the stepstool was. Then I had to figure out which alarm was chirping. I stood under one and waited for it... chirp... not that one. Went to the other, and waited for it... chirp... and not that one either? Did I buy dud batteries? Did I (chirp)... wait... is that coming from our bedroom? I stick my head in the door, look up an lo and behold, there's another fire alarm. I wait for it... chirp... not that one either, but does this mean there are more fire alarms? I go into the guest bedroom, look up and right on cue, CHIRP. Loud and clear.
I bring the ladder in, open it up, take two steps up and replace the battery. Silence. Silence. Silence.
And even though its blessedly quiet now, I check the back bedroom, and yep, there's a fire alarm in there too. Turns out there are five alarms upstairs. Five. I've only got one free battery. And a day later, its sitting on an upstairs ledge. I'm sure I'll replace the other alarms. Maybe before the chirping. Maybe.