NOT Linda.

Greetings! I’m Janice Johnson. Thanks for joining the fun here on Maladjusted Mondays. This series is a collection of scathing exposés in which I rat out my uncooperative appliances. (Thanks to Linda for hosting me!) I originally published these posts on my blog, Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story, where I do occasionally write about something besides my appliances. You can visit me there any time by clicking here.

And now for the eighth post in the series, which first appeared on my blog January 30, 2017.

The Myth of Scheduled Office Hours at Home (The Smoke Alarm)

Last Monday I told Brent, “I’ve got my Aquatics class at the gym tomorrow morning. Then I’m going to spend the rest of the day writing.”

“Okay, but also call the dentist about that swelling,” he advised. I rubbed my tender jaw and agreed.

Tuesday morning, once fully awake, I started noticing an odd chirp! coming from upstairs. Up I went to investigate.


It was coming from my office.

Great. The smoke alarm battery must be down. I’d change it after my class.

First, after the gym and breakfast, I ignored the chirp! long enough to call the dentist. When I explained about the sore, swollen area below a recent filling, the receptionist told me, “Come to the office in about an hour and let Dr. S. check it.”

“Okay,” I sighed.


The next few hours were a blur of chores; going to the dentist; learning I need a root canal; running a few errands since I was in the area anyway; calling around to figure out which specialist might be in our network; filling a prescription for antibiotics; and finally making an appointment–from my car–with the specialist, while waiting for the prescription.

Home at last.


Time to do something about that smoke alarm.

Found the 9-volt batteries, lugged a ladder upstairs, changed the battery. Whew!


Really? Now what?

Texted our builder. At his advice, I checked the other smoke alarms and risked life and limb to change batteries in two of them.


Unplugged the unit in my office and removed the battery in an effort to silence the Zombie Smoke Alarm That Wouldn’t Die.


I mean, really.... what more could I have done??
I mean, really…. what more could I have done??

While it was unplugged anyway, vacuumed the alarm in case dust was causing the signal.


Texted builder: “Still chirping.”

He replied: “Throw it in the pool.”

We arranged for the electrician to come the next morning. Maybe the unit itself was defective. For overnight, I’d just close the office door and hope the stupid thing didn’t keep us awake.

My office hours were almost over and I hadn’t typed one single word. I sat down to the computer, and…


… got up and left the room.

When Brent came home, he went upstairs to see for himself.


“If everything is unplugged, what’s making the sound?” he asked sensibly.

I shrugged. “It’s coming from the ceiling. Must be in the wiring or something.”

Brent stood on the ladder for a few minutes.


He looked toward the top of my bookcase a few feet away. “I think it’s…”

And at that exact moment I remembered the carbon monoxide / explosive gas monitor he’d bought when we smelled gas around my little office fireplace. I’d plugged it in behind my desk and set the unit out of sight on top of the bookcase, as high as possible per instructions.

Brent reached behind the life-size silk magnolia blossom I’d put on the top shelf, and pulled out the offending monitor.

“Well, the gas got fixed weeks ago,” I explained, “so when I got under the desk to plug in Dad’s lamp, I just unplugged the gas monitor.”

“Aaaaand, it’s been on battery backup,” he said. “Until the battery died overnight.”


First we removed the dead battery from the Mystery Monitor.

Then I texted our builder: “Cancel the electrician; Brent figured it out. I’ll explain later if you promise not to laugh.”

Silence, believe me, is golden.

Maybe tomorrow I can have scheduled office hours at home.

I wonder what will happen…….

Thanks for reading!


2 thoughts on “Maladjusted Mondays, Week 8

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