Saturday, February 9, 2013

Saturday encore ~ Problem-solving, alone and in the middle of nowhere

Has it really been a year since I changed the battery in the smoke detector? 
Guess it's time to move the scaffolding in place and put in a fresh one. 


 My problem originated last Sunday morning. The battery in the smoke detector near my office started chirping its "I'm-dead-change-me" alarm. No big deal. I hauled out my five-foot ladder and changed it. But then I got to thinking it was only a matter of time before the battery in the smoke detector in the living room would start chirping. That would be a big deal because it is 12 feet off the ground and I would have no way to change it.

So I pondered my dilemma all week, thinking there had to be a way to get up there without buying a taller ladder. I happened to be pondering while eating breakfast one morning and my solution stared right back at me - the sturdy dining room table. I could put the ladder on top of it to reach the ceiling! Whew. Now I could stop worrying. Whenever that alarm started chirping, I'd be ready.

But then I got to thinking it would be stupid to wait for it to start chirping to replace the battery, since that would probably happen in the middle of the night, and who wants to be executing this well-developed-yet-somewhat-dubious maneuver half asleep in her pajamas?

So Sunday afternoon, I took action. Step one: move the sturdy-but-insanely-heavy dining room table under the smoke detector.

I put a rug under one end, picked up the other end, and sort of lifted/pushed/slid it across the floor.

The table and the ladder were about the same width, so I put a wider piece of 1" particle board atop the table 
so the ladder wouldn't slip off the side. I was confident that my makeshift scaffolding would hold, 
but I put the telephone nearby just in case. Looking at this picture, I now realize that "nearby" 
should actually have been the floor. Oh, well. I can't think of everything.

The OSHA inspectors double-checked my worksite.

Smooch: Are you sure you know what you're doing?

Snapper: On the surface, this looks like it will work...

...but who will feed me if it doesn't?

Me: Thanks for your vote of confidence and concern for my welfare, Snapper.

After triple-checking that a fresh battery was in my pocket, up the ladder I went. 
Yes, I took my camera. How often do I get to see my house from this angle?
And if my plan did go south, I could document it.
(Admit it – that would be an interesting series of pictures.)

Me: Hey, Snapper! Smooch! Look up! 

They ignored me. 

Me: Daffodil, it's toasty warm up here. Why don't you join me?

She ignored me, too.

There are several lessons learned from this problem-solving adventure:
1. Measure twice, climb once.
2. Don't wait for the alarm to sound before planning an escape.
3. Dining room tables – they're not just for eating.
4. Don't build a house with an unreachable ceiling.
5. Don't expect your pets to call 911 if you're in trouble.
6. Living alone in the middle of nowhere is always an adventure. And I wouldn't have it any other way.


  1. your blog is MY adventure, and i always enjoy it. i have to say this one I said a few OMG OMC OMD...i have a suggestion for next time. call someone near by, while on the speaker phone with them, put phone in pocket of lay on table in a safer place ON speaker phone with someone. THEN if the unimaginable happens they will hear the crash, screams, howls, barks and meows if the ladder turns over/falls off the edge....then you can lay there for the hour it takes for someone to get to you.. i laughed my head off at the photo of the step ladder leading to the table and the table to the ceiling. LOVE LOVE this post

  2. And buy a taller ladder before it is time to switch out the battery again :)

  3. Good for you and I love the table. The boot rug had me a little confused at first glance, thinking the boots were somehow painted onto the leg of the table (pretty cool for a moment), but when I cleared the fog away from my lack-of-sleep-induced-eyesight I could tell it was a sweet-ass little rug of boots. How cool
    peace n abundance,

  4. Way braver than I am....i would have left my breakfast, or lunch on the floor from up on the top of the ladder....And, my cats would have climbed the ladder with me and probably pushed me off so they could have the great view...LOL
    Love from NC

  5. Having a phone with you was a good idea! You could dial 911 on the way down! :-}

  6. Whew! I'm glad it all went well. Well planned and well executed.

  7. Oh dear girl, I used to be like you. In my 30's I spent lots of time making plans of how I could do things by myself and solve household problems. Now I am 74 and ladders give me the willies, won't use them. Call a buddy for help when I need it. But how fun it is to check out your diagrams and predict your success at your ventures. Cheers!

  8. Why would they put that on that ceiling ? Just saying ...

    Glad you did ok. I'd have to call someone or just throw things at it til it stopped .. which knowing those things it would sing forever til I got someone to fix it.

    Love the photos of the 'gang' ignoring you though.

  9. Then again, maybe one of the carpenters/stucco people could do this for you while they are working on th addition!

  10. I appreciate your thinking on this one, but it scares me so badly. I think last year I suggested putting your phone in your pocket. I meant to suggest a helmet. This year I suggest you do it while Freddy and Larry are there. Or ask them to do it? Yikes!

  11. HOwdy Mates, we had a chuckle too over where you placed the phone. Well done on being inventive. Loved the photos from high up too! No worries, and love, Stella and Rory