I was awakened at 12:30 to something beeping. As I sat up in a stupor, trying to figure out what that sound was, I realized there was also a child screaming in terror- "Moooooommmmmmmmmyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!" I got out of bed and walked out of our room to quickly realize that beeping was in Elias' room, and the child screaming was Elias. As I opened his door and turned on his light, the beeping suddenly stopped. Still not fully awake, I went over to his alarm clock to check and see if it could have accidentally been set to go off in the middle of the night. Even though I fully knew that was NOT the sound his alarm clock makes. Nope- still set for 8am. I then began to awaken and asked my crying curled-up-into-a-little-ball child, "Was that your smoke alarm???" He didn't know. But that HAD to be what it was, right? What else would possibly be so friggin' loud and obnoxious??! So I told him I needed to check the house. (meanwhile, Adaryll is still fast asleep)
I walked the entire house, sniffing deeply for any sign of smoke. I had a hard time discerning between real smoke and the bacon smell that was left over from dinner, but I didn't see any fire anywhere. When I went back to his room and sat in his chair to think, the alarm started again. Seriously, these things are like the loudest, highest pitch, ear-piecing sound I have ever heard. Elias begins to scream and cry again- I think he thinks the house must be burning down??? After a couple of minutes, it stops again. I realize I am not equipped to handle this on my own (ceilings are too high!), so I go get Adaryll.
We go together to Elias' room with a step ladder and proceed to try to disassemble/destroy the alarm. Meanwhile, it continues to alarm off and on as it darn well pleases. Finally, I give up and go downstairs to call the fire department and ask them how the heck to make it STOP!!!! Noone answers. (Obviously, I did NOT dial the emergency number!) So I call the police non-emergency number and tell them what's up, and they transfer me to the fire department. Pretty quickly, the guy on the phone asks me how many people are in the house and tells me that we all need to evacuate immediately. He says there is already a truck on the way. WHAT?! "No, no, no", I say. There is no fire! He then explains that there can be fire in the attic or inside a wall, and we would not even know it. So, I hand the phone to Adaryll and go wake Elena up to take everyone outside.
Minutes later, a GIANT fire truck, 4 fully decked-out firemen, and all their gear/tools arrive. They go into the house with heat detectors, axes, etc. And then ANOTHER GIANT firetruck arrives. They turned off the sirens at the neighborhood entrance, but the lights are enough to wake the dead. Needless to say, neighbors began to emerge to see what was going on. We told them it was nothing. And 15 minutes or so later, that was confirmed. A faulty alarm, they said. Still, the kids thought it was the coolest thing ever.
We came back in (an hour has passed now since the alarm first started), and we put the kids back to bed. Elias gets a pallet on our floor because I seriously think he may have a heart attack if this alarm wakes him again. Adaryll and I vacuum out that smoke alarm in case it has dust inside (which it thinks is smoke) making it go off. Finally, we head back to bed. Which is where I lay awake for the next TWO HOURS. ARGH!!!
Then- you will not believe this- the alarm in OUR room begins to "chirp". Are you kidding me?!?!?! I throw back the covers and wake up Adaryll to tell him our alarm needs a new battery. Seriously, is this really happening?! I go get the big ladder from the garage (our ceilings are even higher than Elias'), march it up the stairs, get a battery, and switch it out. (note: Elias slept through this whole drama)
We decided to take cookies to the firemen who came to our house, since we probably woke them up too. And I can't even fathom the amount of needless paperwork we created for them. Poor guys. So we went to Costco and bought cookies (because those of you who know me well know that had I actually baked cookies, there might have really been a need for the fire department). The kids carried the box of cookies in together, and they were invited in to see the trucks, tools, kitchen, bedrooms, etc. It was such a neat experience for them, and I am grateful for how friendly the firemen were. Overall, the while ordeal turned out to be a very positive thing for the kids. They got to experience real-life fire response in a completely safe environment. They got to see the guys in all their gear, which can look pretty scary, and realize that they are here to help us. Plus they got to do something nice for their local firemen. :)