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Living With Gizmos

Story ID:9489
Written by:Kathe M. Campbell (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Only Here
Location:Butte Montana USA
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Living With Gizmos

Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014.

About the time one thinks they know their dwelling by heart, think again friend. It just ain't so.

Around mid afternoon a loud beeping commences every few seconds up in the loft in this log house. It usually means the smoke alarm gizmo needs a new battery. Very irritating as my dog's tail and ears droop half-mast while he catapults thru the doggy door lest he die. I try to coax him back inside with a treat, but he just sits out by the truck shaking and looking terrified.

I get a small step ladder inside to reach the beast that echoes loudly throughout the entire house. Why oh why had some idiot installed it so high? I dare not step up more than two rungs with only one arm and crippled feet, but can't reach the damn thing. I'd never manage getting a bigger ladder upstairs, so I find the long pole I sometimes use for window washing, attach the squeegee and pull the thing off the wall. It hits the floor with an ear-splitting squeal. The old battery is thrown out and I leave the unit sitting on an office shelf. Ah, done, and I'll just let someone else deal with it someday--maybe.

Outdoors to coax Cork back in and now 33 year-old Sweet Pea is issuing her little donkey whine for her daily 4:00 carrot time. I dump a few carrots in front of her on the deck, but Cork won't even touch his doggy treat and decides to pile down in a snow bank to shake and pant. Okay, so he'll come in at dinner time, but the noisy gizmo is on a beeping rampage as I enter the house. I'm sure Corky's ears are hearing it across the yard. I rush upstairs, grab the empty gizmo and sit down with my customary eventide chardonnay to think.

What the hell? This is so crazy. A naked smoke alarm beeping? Doesn't it ever get tired and just quit? And what's even scarier, the beeping stops when I sit at my desk in the loft. What's that all about? Sheesh---ghosts?

Allowing the ladder to slide down the stairs on it's own, I follow behind and realize the beeps seems louder mid stairway. Of course, that's it--the Rennei gas furnace located under the stairwell! How dumb can I be? It tells me the lint screens need cleaning. The lint filters are clean, but I vacuum them thoroughly, and beep-beep-beep... Okay, I'll just turn the Rennei completely off and use the fireplace Buck stove to keep warm until a service man can come Monday. The beeping seems even louder now. Time for more thinking and another chardonnay.

Now it's dark out, I'm half in the bag and my dog is nowhere to be found. To heck with the coward, let him be a sissy. I get out the Rennei furnace book and begin reading. Holy crap, unbelievable--there's nothing in there about beeps. I go to the laundry room, grab a flashlight, put on my 250 readers and collapse on the floor. Making out some miniature stuff on the outer side panel of the Rennei says nothing about beeps.

Now I'm crawling along the floor toward the recliner. I've worked up a big sweat hauling this 81 year-old tired carcass upright when I notice the stereo unit is blinking. It's cabinet is located only a few feet from the Rennei on an adjacent wall. The beeping is really strong now, and my heart begins to race. Hang on girl, somehow someone turned the stereo on and ??? I pull the cabinet away from the wall and WOW--BEEP-BEEP-BEEP!! Oh, thank God, I found it! I unplug the stereo and----beep-beep-beep...

This is ridiculous as I pour another drink, wipe my forehead and wonder what's going on in my house.

Shining the flashlight once again I see the corner of a white plastic box sticking out under the back side of the cabinet. It's a loner attached to nothing, and when I pick it up it begins shrill, earth-shattering squeals that probably arouse folks in the next county. I see skinny little wires and a funny looking battery that obviously doesn't like being disturbed. Is this nothing of a little plastic box the answer to my frustrations?

More sitting and sipping, more thinking. When was I in this spot last? Oh yeah, Monday when the power went off in the 60 mph. windstorm and I decided to do a thorough house dusting, What did my dust cloth move or touch? Maybe I caused static. Are there secret codes inside? A timer of some sort? Yikes, maybe a bomb! Why does it wait til Saturday to activate, beeping me and mine to near insanity? What the hell--this thing is going out the back door pronto!

I hit the back deck, place the gizmo upside down in a box and toss it in the corner of the metal WWII foot locker used to store 50 lbs. of bird seed. Now if the THING goes off it'll blow bird seed to kingdom come, but nary a soul will ever hear it again--maybe! Oh my God, I hope whatever it emits doesn't turn my flocks of feeder birds into some sort of pre-historic loonies.

I've had too much wine and it's time to warm up some leftover spaghetti. Cork shows up guardedly wiggling and whining as though his little soul has been reincarnated back to the real world. No shaking and he piles down exhausted for the night while I crash contentedly in front of the TV.

Sunday, 6:00 a.m. and it's still dark out, but I feel so relieved while fixing my cappuccino. Corky flies out the doggy door to do his thing and always returns in mere minutes, but not today. I call and call, but no dog, just a curious donkey and a neighbor with a flashlight way out at the gate, probably escorting Cork home. OMG, could that THING still be beeping on the deck inside the foot locker only a few feet from the doggy door? Yep, a stifling beep-beep-beep and it only takes me a nano.sec. to disarm the thing.

I think it's really dead. The kitties and Sweet Pea take it all in stride, and Cork shows up just after daylight. I'll save the parts and someday I'll ask someone smarter than me--maybe!

We are at peace and quiet this lovely, wintery Sunday afternoon on my 7,000 ft. mountain. There couldn't possibly be any more mysteries in this lovely log home that pops and I built some 35 years ago--maybe. The next time some stupid thing happens around here I'll recall how exasperated and dumb I felt trying to unravel the mystery. Like they say--you can't fix stupid.......but you can sure numb it with a two-by-four, and I hope we're done being clobbered!