Gadgets, Gizmos, and the Exasperating Mysteries of Life

I wondered if the smoke alarm’s tendency to chirp at 2:00 in the morning when the battery is old had anything to do with the temperature, so I read a few articles, and apparently I was right. The cooler temperatures in those pre-dawn hours affect the battery output, and if the battery is getting low, the smoke alarm chirps. I was excited at seeing this confirmation of my surmise until it occurred to me that this scenario did not fit with my 2:00 am chirping because I’d turned off the air conditioner, and the temperature at that time was the highest it had been for several hours. Since I know that high temperatures also affect batteries (my car battery went dead in July one year, which is how I found out), it’s possible the high temperature had an effect, but the house had been hotter earlier in the day.

So I’m back to thinking that the early morning chirping is one of those exasperating mysteries of life, like the annoyance of a cricket in the house, the irritation of mosquitoes in the bedroom, the disturbance of a dripping faucet, the nuisance of a running toilet valve.

One of the articles I read was really an ad for a smoke alarm that had a built-in 10-year battery, which is all fine and dandy, but what happens in ten years when the thing starts chirping at 2:00 am and a simple battery substitution doesn’t eliminate the noise? I’ll stick with what I have for now. Maybe the next time I need to replace the smoke alarms, the ten-year devices will last to my expiration date, and will annoy the folks who end up in the house. A present from me, so to speak.

Considering the success I had in changing all the batteries by myself, even to the point of dragging a ladder from the garage into the house, I thought I’d tackle another little project involving a gadget that I’ve been putting off — installing an automatic garage-door closer.

My door is equipped with a non-automatic closer — me! — but since I am preparing for my old age, and since I tend to be a bit absentminded at times, I figured an automatic closer would be nice. I followed all the steps of the instructions, even found the “learn” button on the opener and set up the ladder so I can reach it, but somehow, the closer and opener didn’t connect. I tried again, but got the same non-result, though the two gadgets are supposed to be compatible. Another exasperating mystery.

If I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong, and if The Bob ever declines enough that travel is again an option for more people, I’ll see if my brother can get the gizmo to work the next time he comes to visit. (The closer was his idea in the first place, so he should be able to.)

Meantime, I am trying to get in the habit of being patient and waiting until the door is completely closed before taking off. Considering that not everyone in the neighborhood is as honest as my immediate neighbors, I figure it’s best not to give the larcenous neighbors an opportunity to sneak in before the door is completely closed. (That’s one of the ways felonious folk break into people’s houses, and even though the garage isn’t connected to the house, I wouldn’t want anyone in my garage illegally anyway.)

Gadgets, gizmos, and the exasperating mysteries of life. What a day!


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

2 Responses to “Gadgets, Gizmos, and the Exasperating Mysteries of Life”

  1. Uthayanan Says:

    I feel automatic need electricity. Except my watch still working very well for more than 20 years.
    I hope you can get out of your car from the garage when there is no electricity.
    Please aware of dependence of everything in automatic.
    Not your car but latest cars and houses can control with internet or from
    distance by a person with bad intention.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I know what you mean about things being controlled from a distance — that’s why I kept my old car and bought an old house. I don’t want my life controlled any more than it is. As for the garage, you make a good point, but if the electricity goes out, I will take it as a sign not to drive.

      I hope you are doing well (or as well as possible).

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