The Great Fire Alarm Fiasco

If you ever thought the lives of Damon and Jo were completely seamless, I regret to inform you that is not the case. The month of January has seem numerous unfortunate events, like that tiny pebble that hit and cracked our rental car’s windshield (yes, rental car’s windshield), that time I got locked out of my own Apple ID account and had no access to my phone for a week, and then there was that beautiful moment when Jo and I unfortunately named a video of us splitting up and (happily) getting different apartments down the hall from each other, “We’re splitting up.” That one was really fun.
But then you have the apartments, themselves.
Over the past two weeks, while moving into my new apartment, I have encountered various difficulties that come with living over 2,000 miles from your father who takes things apart and puts them back together for fun. There’s the mounting of heavy objects on your wall for an aesthetic vision, the assembling cumbersome furniture, and then there’s the whole “who am I supposed to call when it’s 11PM and my fire alarm is shrieking and won’t. turn. off.”
My building manager, José, apparently.
Let me take a step back. The unfortunate events of my January 2017 began as such: I lay down to catch up on some Netflix, snuggled up with my fresh white linen sheets, eyes and body getting heavy, when a blaring fire alarm shrieks to the highest pitch one can hear. I run to the kitchen – maybe I did leave the gas on. I’m not the best cook, and I have done that before, so honestly, I could have caused this. But…nothing? I grab my stool and press the hush button. Phew. I google. Looks like the hush button works for eight minutes. It’s probably just the battery. I know that because the battery of our last fire alarm in our old building did the same [Watch: How to make Pão de Queijo]. K, great, but I just moved in, and whose first reaction is to buy a 9V battery for their fire alarm as a back up. Not anyone named Damon or Jo.
I take the battery out – yeah that should do the trick. I lie down, snuggle up, and press play on Netflix. The alarm shrieks and shreds my ear drum layers one by one. The alarm must also be a new model since in between blares, it exclaims “FIRE! FIRE!” and one special time, “CARBON MONOXIDE! CARBON MONOXIDE!” Yeah, that one was reassuring. 
Mind you, I just moved in last week, which means I’ve met a grand total of zero of my neighbors, but this, this will be how they meet me, unfortunately. 11pm on a Monday night to that guy down the hall who makes a lot of noise.
I text Jo. She doesn’t have a 9V battery, because…who does? I ask if she can come up to my apartment to press the hush button so I can sprint to the supermarket ten minutes away, so my neighbors don’t have to hear the obnoxious alarm until I come back. “No, I’m in the middle of building something.” Thanks Jo! I anxiously log on to PostMates – something I’ve never done before – and place my first order: a double-pack of 9V batteries. In twenty-five minutes, and three more rounds of fire alarms, my man Maury from PostMates arrives. I sprint downstairs and back upstairs, trying to time my departure and arrival in between the alarms, and phew. Finally. I find the circuit breaker in the hallway (something I didn’t even notice until this unfortunate event), I insert the battery, and then:


It didn’t work. NOW WHAT!? It’s now midnight. I just spent an unnecessary $20 on two 9V batteries, and I don’t realistically see myself pushing the hush button every eight minutes until the morning. Finally Jo texts me our building manager’s number, and I call hoping to hear a refreshed voice of someone who’s a night owl. Unfortunately, in the groggiest voice imaginable, José answers:


  • Hi. It’s Damon. I’m having an issue with my fire alarm that won’t stop acting like there’s a legit fire in my apartment.

Did you unplug it?

  • I took the battery out, but it’s hardwired to the wall.

Did you unplug the wires?

  • No, I didn’t want to get electrocuted.

Unplug the wires.

  • But?

And then in a now-or-never moment, I braced myself for what could possibly be me seeing the light at the end of a tunnel, and I ripped the wires out of the fire alarm to a quick high-pitched screech and then a dwindling sound of a fire alarm losing power. It was off.
That was the best sleep I got in January.

Have you ever had a fire alarm fiasco?

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