The beep was the battery dying in the smoke detector on the ceiling outside my bedroom. It came in three-minute intervals, about half an hour before my alarm was set to go off, which irritated me to no end.

The day started with a beep, a bang and a thud.


The beep was the battery dying in the smoke detector on the ceiling outside my bedroom. It came in three-minute intervals, about half an hour before my alarm was set to go off, which irritated me to no end. The bang was my daughter’s bedroom door as the dog ran out of her room and slammed the door into the wall on his way out. I knew exactly what the issue was: The beep sounded like the beep that comes from the dog’s collar when he gets too close to the electric fence outside. The dog thought the electric fence had made its way into the house, and he was freaking out.


Reluctantly I got out of bed, grabbed the toilet plunger and went out into the hall to swat the smoke detector off the ceiling and stop the beeping.


Still unable to reach the alarm, I grabbed the laundry basket and perched precariously on it while I swatted the alarm with the toilet plunger.


Suddenly, my son’s door flew open. He dashed out to see what all the commotion was and ran right into me, knocking me off the laundry basket.


That was the thud.


“What’s going on?” he asked.


“The smoke alarm went off, which freaked out the dog, and when I tried to get it down, you knocked me over.”


“Is there a fire?” he asked.


“What?”


“A fire? You said the smoke alarm went off.”


“No. It’s the stupid batteries,” I said, getting up off the floor. The smoke alarm continued to beep and I heard the dog whine from downstairs. I quickly got back on my laundry basket, whacked the smoke alarm, and sent it flying.


With the smoke alarm put out of its misery, the kids went back to bed and I turned my attention to the dog. We had run into this problem with the dog before. There was the time my son got a wristwatch with a stop watch function that beeped like the fence; a new digital toaster oven that beeped whenever the toast was done; and the occasional soundalike beep on the TV that would send the dog flying out of the room in a panic. I felt terrible for him whenever this happened, and cursed the people who designed the fence system with a warning sound that was so ridiculously common.


I went downstairs to find the dog and calm him down, but as I passed through the family room, my foot landed in something wet. I realized pretty quickly that the dog had left me a message in no uncertain terms with regard to how he felt about the beeping smoke alarm.


So far the morning had been a real joy. Cursing softly under my breath, I went to the sink and grabbed the silver bottle of carpet cleaner.


It wasn’t until I actually sprayed the stuff all over the wet spot that I realized I had grabbed the wrong bottle and spritzed stainless steel cleaner all over the carpet.


“Argh!” I yelled. The kids ran down the stairs to see why I was bellowing.


“What’s wrong?” they asked.


“That ... that … that bleeping smoke alarm!” I raged.


“You mean beeping,” said my daughter.


“No.” I sighed. “I had it right the first time.”


For more Lost in Suburbia, visit Tracy’s blog at www.lostinsuburbia.net.