Ah, the joys of home ownership

I am not, technically speaking, handy when it comes to home repairs. I can change lightbulbs. I can hang pictures. Move much beyond that and I am hopeless.

Which was why the chirping smoke alarm drove me so crazy.

On an infrequent and irregular basis, the smoke alarm in my upstairs hallway would chirp. I did what I could. I climbed the ladder, took out the old battery, took it to the store and bought a replacement. Then I climbed back up the ladder and installed it.

That night, the chirping came back.

Finally, I decided that perhaps smoke alarms could go bad. So I called an electrician and scheduled a house call.

Now, anyone who has ever actually secured the services of an electrician knows that they don’t come cheap. So, in one of those “While he’s here, he might as well” modes, I paid a visit to my local Lowe’s. Several hundred dollars later, I walked out with a variety of new lighting fixtures and switches. After all, I figured, it would be a shame to waste the electrician’s trip.

He arrived at the appointed hour and worked quickly. Still, the bill was about what you’d expect if you’ve had an electrician make a house call lately. But I was happy. I had dimmer switches, a new light fixture in my dining room. And best of all, the damn chirping had stopped.

Last night, I was awakened by an annoying noise. It appears to be the smoke alarm in the guest bedroom …

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