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August 12, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Jolt and battery. Only the powerful.

NO permissions granted for thisblue sunset over water. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted.

As the sun slowly sinks in the west, it betrays no sign of impending chaos.©

Why is it that the powerful ones always choose 2 a.m.?

The dog scurries into the back closet instead of defensive mode. The cat? Well, the forehead punctures and a snarling imitation of Daniel Boone’s hat is predictable when the nightly zen cat coma is abruptly punctuated by high-pitched sounds.

Is there some sort of hard-wired mandate that forces them to blare dead battery announcements only at 2 a.m.?

Smoke alarms.

Out of whimsy, boredom, or spite, a smoke alarm will shrilly reject its’ power source battery and then, even worse, encourage all the other house smoke alarms to riot along just for the fun of it.

Must be really amusing to watch the sleepy humans run frantically around in the dark.

The Powerful aren’t like us.

Power lines and tower. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

Behold and beware, groundlings.©

They always crown the most powerful.

Then others line up like soldiers eternally at attention.

Anyone can tell the pin head among them.

Dunce hat or pointed individualism? (Often difficult to distinguish between those two.)

Row of power line towers.ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions grant

They are flatly kind. The crowd will tolerate odd headgear as long as he holds up his end of the load. If not, sparks will fly and he’ll be fried. The Way of the Powerful.©

Standing firmly linked together, the Powerful simply ignore the “Little People”.

Might as well be mindlessly scurrying ants to them.

Their heads in the clouds with thoughts far more electric than ours.

The powerful ones, both the towering giants and the smaller domesticated ones, live parallel lives alternating among people.

Rows of power lines and towers: the crowned one, pair of large bodyguards, and a page.

The powerful take the field: Crowned champion flanked by body guards, rows of supporters, and a page of would by his side. ©

But is this shrieking not sleeping smoke alarm, protesting its’ plastic life?

Wired for a more elevated existence.

Something more than guardian and watcher.

Hopefully the tribute offering of a new battery will be enough to soothe this unhappy smoke alarm back to its’ destiny in the background.

Here. I’ll open the blinds so you can see the sky and dream those electric dreams.

Grateful for those currently employed.

Phi, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

smoke alarm and battery ALL rights reserved. NO permissions granted. Copyrighted

Do not underestimate the Power of One. It can spark humans to run around like crazy if so amused. (and usually at 2 am)©



  1. easyweimaraner / Aug 12 2015 12:58 pm

    we removed our smoke alarms… it was haunted. it started in the middleof the night without a reason (except Casper the friendly ghost was there and smoked weed). it’s a shock to hear it and after the second time I jumped out of the bed like a rocket, I put them away… (and Casper had to look for another home)

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 12 2015 2:36 pm

      These even “hold” a bit of power in reserve so after you get the ladder, pull the screeching thing down, jerk out the battery – it still will scream for 5-10 minutes. Maddening. It was a choice of tossing it into the dryer or into the garage.
      And of course the cat blames us…glaring angrily.
      Thanks for chasing down the ruckus, Easy


  2. Beth / Aug 12 2015 1:41 pm

    Ours are on a similar 2am schedule and since we have several (some close together), it can be a challenge to figure out which one is having its particular fit. (The delays between beeps are long enough that one of us will be found standing bleary eyed in the hall trying to narrow down the culprit.) Hrmm… it may be time to purchase a bunch of 9V and refresh all the batteries to avoid that 2am wake-up call it has planned for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 12 2015 2:33 pm

      I thought we had a couple of weeks before meltdown. Always such fun.Best feed the beasts early. Thanks for charging in with a comment


  3. The Good Greatsby / Aug 12 2015 1:43 pm

    I’ve never trusted smoke alarms. They can’t help but be paranoid. They know if they do their jobs well we’ll race out of the house with our kids and pets but will be unlikely to try and save the smoke alarms.

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 12 2015 4:36 pm

      Smoke alarms appear to be well rounded, but in reality they are cracked. No doubt they fear abandonment and melting more than electric disarmament. Appreciate the smokey comment

      Liked by 1 person

  4. susielindau / Aug 12 2015 2:03 pm

    They are the worst. We have a system that has gone off in the night along with a speaker system, “Fire! Fire! Get out of the house IMMEDIATELY!” Try going back to sleep after that. I have no idea why it used to go off once in a while, except it was at a time when we had a banger. A ghost.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 12 2015 4:39 pm

      It was better when the alarms/systems weren’t all linked together. Far too easy for hackers now to cause sleep deprivation and nervous breakdowns? Who needs armies when you have the shrill ones! (Just how far can you toss them outside without hitting the neighbor’s house?) Thanks for the screaming comment.


  5. Carrie Rubin / Aug 12 2015 2:14 pm

    This happened to us last week at 3 am. It’s nearly impossible to find the responsible culprit since the beep sounds like it could be coming from any of them. Plus, it seems to be about 3 minutes between beeps. I wish the smoke detector would just make a steady stream of beeps so we could find the dang thing quicker! Argh.

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 12 2015 4:44 pm

      In the dark at that late hour, you stand there thinking, “Was it real or did I dream that?” That moment of uncertainty…you waver and head back to bed convinced it was all a bad…..then jolted again – but from where? It’s the Tell Tale Heart effect.
      Oddly when we checked the date on the battery, it’s been almost to the day one year from the last tribute. Wise to not anger the plastic ones…
      Thanks for plugging in a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ally Bean / Aug 12 2015 5:13 pm

    Our smoke alarms believe in girl power. They only go off when my husband is out of town. Like your alarms, they like to party in the middle of the night. I’m too old for their shenanigans anymore, so I tell them that if they don’t behave they’re going to find themselves in a box destined for Goodwill. That seems to have kept them quiet lately.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 12 2015 6:43 pm

      Remarkable. You’ve got power over the powerful. (They still are muttering no doubt – not wanting to be tossed into any situation of good will). You’ve managed to control their switch. Cool. Thanks for sharing the secret


  7. Paul / Aug 12 2015 6:49 pm

    Ha! I live in a renovated 100 year old building that has some nice features : 9 foot ceilings, brick walls so thick that when you close the outside door even a nuclear attack would be silent, a personal back door with a small deck and stairs, great old fancy hardwood moldings and floors, etc. And a building fire alarm that lets no person rest in peace. I too think there are ghosts – it will be quiet for a month and then three nights in a row it will go off – very loud and the big fire alarm bells. None of the pulls are activated and the reason remains a mystery. Thankfully, i have both a main hallway exit and a private back door – so I just stick my sniffer into the hallway and if no smoke is evident , climb back into bed with the sure knowledge that no matter which way the fire tries to attack me, I can escape. Occasionally (once) the manager was too slow on the phone and some very nice firemen appeared with all their equipment. We fed them cookies and sent them on their way.

    Some years ago my wife (at the time) and I were taking a leisurely vacation drive between Montreal and Quebec City – along the St. Lawrence (Ste. Laurent) River.- stopping to sample artisanal cheeses, beers and crafts. This is a very laid back and beautiful area with fishing villages and some farming communities. Very scenic. Then, out of nowhere came a row of the powerful ones marching across a field full of cows. In four rows they marched, oblivious to all around them. This struck me as very curious, for what cow-milker or barn light, or feed conveyor would use such vast amounts of power? Intrigued, I bartered with my wife for future gifts that remained unnamed in return for the authority to follow the powerful ones to see from whence they marched. And so we did – sneaking down side roads, flitting across fields (by catching them crossing the road on the other side), portaging over raging rivers (streams really but rivers sound very much more adventurous) and winding silently through small villages. And then they ended – in a large gated compound on the river shore, with barbed wire and armed guards and bullet proof glass. A Nuclear Reactor – sitting thrumming in a field surrounded by cows and feeding power to animate both Montreal and Quebec City. It was quite a sight to see – so of course, I argued that the un-named gifts also covered a tour and in we went, through more security than Fort Knox, including full body scanners, palm and iris readers, machine gun emplacements, 7 foot full height turnstiles, guard dogs ( mind you our guide was subjected to all of this identification and we were sniffed but then allowed in on his say so). And that is a story for another day.

    Suffice it to say that I now know where all those powerful ones go, ’cause I’ve followed them back to their lair and it be surrounded by fire breathing dragons and all manner of beasties. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 12 2015 7:42 pm

      HA! You spotted it. That army was in a corridor (along with the rail lines) that runs from massive generators to those hungry for power at a distance. We always wonder if you held up a light bulb, would it glow…that was done back in the environmentally/health conscience 70-80’s. There is leakage from the lines. Not my choice for farm or dwelling. Your tour there must have been fascinating. The designs of the towers are intriguing. SOme have arms like seagulls – some like cheerleaders holding pom poms. The ones into NASA complex which carry massive amounts of power were specially designed to withstand wind/hurricanes. I’ll have to get pictures. Never seen them anywhere else.
      What a classic building you have. Surroundings are so important as they do affect people. Sounds beautiful. We have taller ceilings in this house as it helps with cooling as well as how you feel. SO when those alarms go off…it’s a scramble to get the ladder as well as to find which one of the darn things is having a tantrum. Molly hates ladders as well as the sound – so it’s heading to the closet. The cat just glares – much annoyed.
      So happy you’ve found where all the dragons are….maybe a little one followed you home? We won’t tell. Thanks for the fiery comment

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Kate Crimmins / Aug 12 2015 7:45 pm

    Our last midnight episode took 45 minutes. All the batteries were out of all of them. The next weekend we got a different kind of smoke alarm and we haven’t had a problem since and that’s 2 years ago. I remember it was awful. Every time I climbed back in bed it went off again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 12 2015 11:28 pm

      Once the darn things start with a tantrum – they will not shut up even if jerked off the ceiling, batteries pulled…you can “bleed” off the charge – which is twice a irritating and had the dog’s eyes wild. I was ready to hand grenade them into the street…Ok garage so the neighbors can sleep…not much of that went on here. I’ll put in new batteries all around, but going to read up on some newer ones. Thanks for sending an alarming comment

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kate Crimmins / Aug 13 2015 3:40 pm

        Best response was waking up to find the neighbor’s alarms scattered all over his lawn.

        Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 13 2015 3:55 pm

          We were almost to that point – they must be vampire smoke alarms that can scream even without batteries!


          • Kate Crimmins / Aug 13 2015 6:53 pm

            I know what you mean. We didn’t understand that either. We had all the batteries out and it was still going. I think my husband turned off the circuit breaker until morning. Or maybe he dismantled them. Of course then I worried there be a fire.

            Liked by 1 person

  9. heretherebespiders / Aug 12 2015 8:08 pm

    Never a panic here when one goes off – not by the ones with paws, anyway. I hate it worse than everyone! I might have gone with Volts and Jolts for a title – hee!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 12 2015 11:30 pm

      Oh, that would have been a great title…I’ll blame not seeing that on jarred nerves and lack of sleep. The cat, of course, glared and blamed staff for the whole disruption. Thanks for charging up the comment pile


  10. colonialist / Aug 12 2015 9:00 pm

    We don’t have fire alarms and no pylons to pile on the pressure. However, when the burglar alarm goes off it indicates fire – at anyone in the grounds who shouldn’t be. With the heaviest available artillery.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 12 2015 11:38 pm

      Burglar alarms here are useless if you aren’t home: 1. they go off accidentally so much, neighbors tend to ignore them and 2. the criminals know just how long it takes the cops to arrive and simply grab what they want and leave before anyone shows up. The best alert for us is Molly – and if the German is here, the pair pretty much deter anyone walking on the sidewalk, on the drive, most of the block… It all gives us time to determine what should greet anyone who thinks they can get past the teeth. Like Boy Scouts, best to be prepared. Thanks for plugging in a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Silver in the Barn / Aug 12 2015 10:59 pm

    Or in my house, I might add, whenever my husband goes out of town. It knows, Phil, it just knows!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 12 2015 11:39 pm

      It is one of the biggest mysteries in the universe…how do they know? Thanks for the electric giggle


  12. EllaDee / Aug 13 2015 4:23 am

    There are smoke alarms and then there are smoke alarms… our domestic alarm a sensitive creature that resides quietly on the living room ceiling kept warm by it’s covering of the G.O.’s beanie that stops it getting upset if we singe the toast, but after almost 4 years of coexisting it recently started to chirp at odd hours. We were puzzled because we thought it hooked to mains power and put the chirping down to power glitches, but after it continued for a couple of weeks I consulted a specialist and found we’d been quite amiss at replacing the battery. Sorted. It sleeps!
    But we have another beast that lurks in the lobby outside of door, between us and the lift and the garbage shute. One sniff of smoke from a cooking fire and its shrieks are heard throughout the building… “Emergency, emergency evacuate now” loud enough to summon a fire truck to two!
    I confess I have irked it once, much to the G.O.’s amusement, who suggested I’ll do anything to get a glimpse of a fireman!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 13 2015 2:25 pm

      They do seem to have a problem with toast…do they want some? The hat is a good idea: out of sight, out of mine, you toast cravers!
      I hate being in a giant hotel when the smoke alarms go off in the middle of the night. It always happens just before a big meeting the next morning. You can never go back to sleep after a sprint down the stairwell and an annoying wait while the fire chief clears the building….hotel could at least offer pillows and blankets ( and drinks) with the pool chairs. Thanks for clanging along with a comment


  13. marthaschaefer / Aug 13 2015 10:49 am

    How appropriate! Had this happen the other night but mine are hard-wired. When I finally got the blast thing disconnected, I was shocked to see it had an “expirations date” of 2012. Who knew?

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 13 2015 2:28 pm

      It’s a plot! Who can read that tiny raised plastic lettering anyway? Very odd – I thought Oct was designated as “national change the smoke alarm batteries month”…oh, it’s the pumpkins. The smoke alarms must have gotten confused when the pumpkins showed up at the store. Thanks for sending a wired comment

      Liked by 1 person

      • Paul / Aug 14 2015 3:20 am

        Ha! Raised plastic lettering. There are a whole slew of odd things that have expiry dates stamped that way. Those plastic “hard hats” (actually bump hats) have expiry dates as well. When I got ejected from a fuel distribution center for having an expired hard hat, I researched it. Apparently the plastic loses its strength when exposed top UV radiation, so the expiry date is calculated assuming the hat is in sunshine 12 hours a day until minimum strength is reached. Ha! There seem to be bumps on my head as well- it is possible that my head will expire – I have to get someone to check it. Ha!


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 14 2015 1:09 pm

          Expired hat? Wo would have known? (Although it makes sense with the UV rays…which also render solar panels less and less efficient until useless over the years. But no one talks about that expensive problem) Wonder if the hats last less in places with longer days or areas closer to the sun/equator….do hats get a pass and live past their expiration date in Alaska? Paul you’ve now officially a whistle blower…no not a musician. (are you?) Take care of that cranium – bumps are just extra brainpower making room!

          Liked by 1 person

  14. Robin / Aug 13 2015 11:31 am

    lol! I wonder if they are all somehow set to go off at once? Ours startled us in the middle of the night recently. I wonder the same thing you do: Why 2AM???? Stunning sunset and enjoyed the marching giants.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 13 2015 2:33 pm

      Builders now seem to put in systems that are linked so if one screams, the others wake up and scream, too. Supposed to be a safety thing….but it’s really annoying trying to figure out which one of the little guardians is having the problem.
      Perhaps this one is crying out of despair as it can’t see out the window and enjoy the sky, too. With the temps so high, the blinds are shut and the rooms cave-like. Do smoke alarms get cabin fever? A few more weeks…we keep telling Molly, a few more weeks and we can go outside. Thanks for sounding along with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  15. PiedType / Aug 14 2015 3:51 am

    I’ve ranted more than once about smoke alarms. 2 am sounds about right, and mine seem to favor October. I’ve also learned the hard way to check the carbon monoxide alarm at the same time, because one can be mistaken for the other.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 14 2015 12:58 pm

      The carbon monoxide alarm met Mr Hammer one October. Thanks for cracking up with the alarmed crowd


  16. Erik / Aug 14 2015 6:20 pm

    Enjoyed both the post and the comments here. I’m always a fan of personification. Some of my favorite reads by fellow writers in college are still fondly remembered. One was about the adventures of two Cheerios who fell out of the box in the grocery store when a snotty-nosed kid dug into it. The other was about a wedding dress and a tuxedo who were in love, but placed at opposite ends of the closet after the Big Day. One fateful day, they were finally reunited and placed one atop the other on the bed (not knowing that they would soon be donated and likely parted forever thereafter). Just the thought of that one still makes the eyes sting.

    Nice treatment and, as ever, I love your sense of imagination. Being able to see beyond the mundane and write about it, as well, makes such “annoyances” bearable, I’m sure; they are just more fodder for the creative mind.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 14 2015 7:32 pm

      Oh, the thread-crossed wedding attire.A tale woven with woe. Appreciate you hanging that in among the comment.Thanks for the kind words.Hope an enjoyable script is being written for your weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Kourtney Heintz / Aug 16 2015 1:39 am

    The worst is when the power goes out and every carbon monoxide alarm runs out of battery power in our house. The screech and freak the goldens out. 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 17 2015 4:09 pm

      We switched those power surge sensitive ones out a bit ago. It’s bad enough dealing with the power off, but to have all that racket going on too is just too much. Nothing like being locked inside by a storm with no where to escape to….The car. I’m not above sitting in the garage. Molly agrees. Thanks for screaming along


  18. jmmcdowell / Aug 18 2015 11:57 pm

    I swear the smoke alarms are designed to finish devouring a battery’s power in the dead of night. It always happens that way! Always! We’ll see how they and the carbon monoxide detectors hold up in this new house. Hopefully better than the ones in the old townhouse did. Tracking down the culprits is exhausting.

    I have to smile at one incident at my mother-in-law’s house, though. A smoke detector was chirping away when we arrived, and she couldn’t find it. My husband changed every battery in every detector in every room. And one still chirped. Then, we happened to be standing by a kitchen cabinet when it happened again. The guilty party had been replaced and was sitting on a shelf—and she had never removed the battery or thrown it away!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 19 2015 12:14 am

      Sitting on the shelf – hiding on purpose or complaining about being neglected? Luck was the only reason you found it. That one is certainly worth a smile or two.Thanks for adding a chirpy comment


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