Thursday, 19 April 2007

I need a man

Last night, just as I was about to go to bed, I remembered that there was a laundry basket half full of clean washing outside in the garden. I'd been hanging out the clothes while the children were eating their tea, but had been distracted.
I couldn't be bothered to hang the rest up, especially as it was sometime after 11:00pm, so I brought the basket inside so I could put contents in tumble dryer. (Not very environmentally friendly I know but...)

Having loaded the dryer and turned it on, there was a little voice in my head reminding me of how many domestic fires are started by tumble dryers.

Now I wouldn't have worried except that the kitchen lacked a smoke detector. Well actually it didn't really lack one, the one it had was just inoperable.

Our kitchen smoke detector was a pain. It would sound the alarm every morning when we made toast. It frequently found itself in a drawer. And that was the problem.

One day, when opening the drawer containing the smoke alarm, with a view to reinstalling it, I heard a clunk, thud, bash. The smoke alarm had fallen out of the back of the drawer and down the back of the kitchen units into the most inaccessible of inaccessible places.

So last night, when I wanted a smoke alarm to allow me some worry free sleep, I had a problem. My smoke alarm was out of bounds.

In the recesses of my mind though I remembered that we had a spare smoke alarm. (Who the hell has spare smoke alarms?)

I delved into the under stairs cupboard and retrieved a smoke alarm designed for halls. I figured for one night that it would suffice.

I opened it up and checked the batteries it needed. It looked like it needed AA batteries so I unearthed some that we semi used. Remember - I was looking for a one night solution.

Fitting the batteries was a struggle. I couldn't make them fit. I thought maybe I needed AAA batteries but they seemed too small. I read the instructions. What kind of appliance describes the brand and model of batteries without using the normal industry description? The batteries I needed were Duracell MN1604 or Ever Ready something else (I might be making these numbers up).

The batteries I had been using were some third brand so I went back to the battery drawer and found some Duracells. I could only find MN1602 but at least they were AA size. The AAA size had a completely different code so I figured I was on the right track.

I couldn't make them fit either. Even brute force wasn't working. I gave up and was in a big huff.

I went to turn the tumble dryer off, but something stopped me. I don't give up that easily.
The smoke alarm that was at the back of the cupboards wasn't lost forever, it must be retrievable, I thought.

I moved the fridge and delved under the cupboard. I found:
  • 1 smoke alarm - a little bashed
  • 1 teaspoon
  • 1 ten pence piece
  • 1 ball from a game called Stay Alive
  • 1 toy screw from Ethan's racing car
  • 1 AA battery

I started to fix the smoke alarm. It needed 'popping' back together and somehow it had lost two of it's batteries, assuming the one I found belonged to it.

I took the batteries from my first attempt and tried to install them. The alarm emitted a quiet but really annoying squeal.

I tried to stop the squeal by pressing the test button, by holding it horizontally, holding it vertically, shaking it, and eventually removing the batteries.

I tried putting the batteries back in again and had the same result.

Finally I tried the fresh Duracell batteries and the squealing stopped and I could put the alarm back on the fixing on the wall, where it belonged.

Great, I thought, I can finally go to bed.

It was at this point the tumble dryer cycle finished.


northernlight said...

You need a friendly fireman! In fact, it may have been the firemen that made you think about tumble driers and domestic fires.

Ann said...

It was a friendly firefighter who told me that many of the fires he attends are caused by tumble dryers.

He also says IKEA nightlights are another big cause.