Monday, September 11, 2006

Things that go beep in the night

I've mentioned my neurotic dog Thor before. The little guy has so many insecurities that he so bravely tries to overcome, sometimes it's hard not to laugh (or strangle him).

Take Saturday night for example -- or really, Sunday morning. Extremely early Sunday morning.

12:30 a.m.: Lights out. Dogs are safely tucked into their beds alongside our bed. (Yes, they do really sleep on their own dog beds.)

4 a.m.: Stir to the feeling of someone lightly jumping onto the bed. The dog is light on its feet -- it must be Thor. He curls up near our feet. Is it storming out? Thor is usually afraid of thunder storms. (Brilliant choice, naming our scardy-dog after a thunder god -- gives him a lot to aspire to.) Don't hear anything. Decide to humor Thor. Let him stay.

4:10 a.m.: Thor is laying on my feet. I wake up even more. Still no evidence of a thunder storm. Is someone breaking into the house? No. He and Loki would definitely bark at that. Loki seems undisturbed. Try to fall back asleep.

4:20 a.m.: Thor has his whole body pressed against mine. Really starting to wonder what's happening. Still try to sleep, though.

4:30 a.m.: One of us thinks we hear a quiet beep from downstairs. Is that a smoke detector? Thor sits on Dave's chest. Thor's panting shakes the whole bed. We laugh. I get up and take the dogs outside. I walk through the house looking for sources of this seemingly random beeping. Basement? Laundry room? Any of the half-dozen or so smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors in the house? No luck.

4:45 a.m.: Go back to bed. Dogs both settle back into their own beds. Fall asleep.

4:50 a.m.: Thor jumps back onto the bed. He will not listen to commands to get off. Lays by feet.

5 a.m.: Hear beep from downstairs. Thor sits on Dave's chest again. Dave extricates himself and convinces Thor to lay down. We try to ignore the shaking of the bed as Thor pants. I tell Dave that this is the price he pays for being bigger and stronger -- Thor turns to him as the ultimate protector.

5:10 a.m.: Hear another beep from downstairs. Thor sits on Dave's chest again.

5:30 a.m.: Dave gets aggravated. Goes through house disconnecting all smoke detectors and carbon-monoxide detectors (except for those in the bedroom). Each lets off a little dying beep as its source of power is disconnected. I pray nothing catches fire. Dave prays for a few hours of sleep.

6 a.m.: We still haven't fallen asleep. Thor will not get off the bed and is panting heavily. He wants to lay on Dave. Dave, in frustration, grabs an extra comforter and lays on the floor. Mumbles something about getting kicked out of bed by a neurotic dog. Thor stays on the bed but starts to settle down. Is that light coming in through the blinds?

7 a.m.: Dave crawls back into the bed. Thor goes to his bed. At last -- some rest.

But that's not all.

The next afternoon, each and every detector in the house gets a new battery. Each beeps as it comes back to life. Both dogs cower like we're beating them. Yes, it hurts our ears, too. Yes, we know you have more sensitive ears. We're sorry. We don't want any of us to catch fire. Here, have a bone to forget your anxiety.

12:30 a.m.: Lights out. Go to sleep.

3:30 a.m.: Stir to the feel of Thor jumping on the bed. He lays near my feet. The random beeping again? I see a flash of lightning through the window. No, it's a thunder storm. I groan and throw a pillow over my head.

3:45 a.m.: Thor gets off my legs and sits on Dave. We grumble, laugh, grumble, try to convince Thor to get off the bed. He's gone deaf and will have none of it.

4:30 a.m.: I wake to the sound of Dave telling Thor that the storm has passed and to get off the bed. Thor easily complies. We all go back to sleep.

Ugh. I'll bet you know what Dave and I are praying for tonight -- no thunder storms and no beeping smoke detectors! But the way the last few nights have gone, one of our neighbors will instead decide to set off 2 a.m. fireworks. As I'm sure you can guess, Thor loves fireworks, too.

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