08 June 2009

before you go away...

Here's a little story for you.
Imagine that its the Friday of a long-weekend and you're about to head off on a lovely extended weekend away. You load everything up in the car, hop in, and drive away. Off for a weekend of fun and frivolity with your spouse and kids.

Saturday morning, 5am: Your neighbours wake at 5am, woken by hearing a strange, piercing beeping. Every 45 seconds there's a beep. Count them... all... The neighbours think "We must buy a replacement battery today to put in the smoke alarm." However, when the neighbours get up later in the morning, they realise that its your smoke alarm's battery that is running low and needs replacing. The noise is coming from inside your house, yet they can still hear it loud and clear inside their house, with all the windows and doors shut. And its not a fibro house either - its double brick.

Throughout the day the smoke alarm battery continues to beep. The neighbours visualise sling shots and have very nasty, destructive thoughts. They try all sorts of things to block out the sound - using the cake mixer on high, putting the radio on, putting the dishwasher on, putting the washing machine on, and going OUT.

Saturday night, the neighbours move out to their back room and sleep on the fold out sofa bed - its quieter and they *nearly* can't hear the beeping.

Sunday morning, throughout the day etc, the beeping continues. Sunday night, the neighbours sleep on their lounge again.

The neighbours assume that you'll come home lateish in the day on Monday, at which time you'll replace the battery and peace will reign once again. The neighbours are wrong. You don't come home...
The thing about this story is that WE are the neighbours. And its now 8:30pm and our neighbours still haven't come home. I worked out last night that if they came home late today, we will have heard about 5000 beeps by the time they change the battery. Well, we've heard those 5000 beeps and they're still not home.

So, the moral of the story is: if you have a battery powered smoke alarm, please change your battery once a year. Pick a day and do it on that day every year. Maybe your birthday? Maybe on a specific public holiday? And if you don't change it once a year, PLEASE change it before you go away on holidays.

The thing is, this isn't even the first time its happened. Once before they went away and it did the same thing. We'll be sleeping on the lounge again tonight...

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