Sunday, September 7, 2014

Things That Chirp In The Night...

Awhile ago, my mother called me at work with a problem.

"Julie, I have a problem.  There is a sound in my house, and I haven't been able to sleep the last two days."

"What kind of sound?"

My mother went on to explain that it sounded like a cricket, but she wasn't sure, because the "grilos (crickets) in Terceira (Azores) sounded different."  I joked with her and pointed out, that all crickets "spoke" the same language of course, but my mother didn't think it was funny at least.  She wasn't able to sleep and she was exhausted.

She tried everything.  She looked all over the house looking for this "bicho" (bug) but was not successful.  She checked the windows, the door ways, the vents in the heater, and the attic.  She turned on the vacuum cleaner some nights hoping to scare off the little critter, but with little success.  According to her, it would stop for a few minutes, and as soon as she put the vacuum away, it would start again.  The sound proceeded to taunt her throughout the evening.  Even with the pillow over her head, did not prevent the sound from keeping her awake.  She was always afraid that she would awake with a cricket next to her pillow.  It was driving her crazy, and praying on her rosary was the only thing she could do to help her sleep a few hours.

I went over to her house that day to check it out, and honestly, I heard nothing.  She told me, "It only comes out at night, right when I fall asleep.  It knows."

Lovely.  Was my mother going completely crazy?  "It knows."  I questioned my mother's sanity for a moment, and wondered if I should just spend the night to hear this "cricket" for myself.  I continued to reassure her that it was probably just a cricket, and it couldn't hurt her, but that really didn't ease her concern.  She was afraid it was something else, perhaps "something more dangerous." She went on to say that she would ask my older brother to check it out, because in her words, it was more of a job for "a man" and I let go the responsibility cheerfully.  In the meantime, she would continue to sleep with a flashlight and her "nervous pills" close by along with her white crackers, and 7UP.

A few nights later, my dog, Max started to bark for no known reason.  It was then I heard a sound coming from the hallway.  It was a small little beep sound.  Hmm..I wondered, what could that be?  I thought it might be one of the older kids who just got home, or my youngest was still awake and playing  a video game.  I got up from bed to investigate.

At first, I didn't know what it was or where it was coming from.  I checked the bedrooms, and all the kids were home and asleep.  I just happened to look up, when I heard the sound, and saw a green light coming from the the fire alarm detector.  Of course, Max was following me through the house and helping with my "investigation" barking nonstop each time the thing beeped, which alerted my husband, who proceeded to take it down  from the ceiling.

My husband reassured me that it was probably a dying battery that was setting it off, but of course we checked the house for smoke, and fortunately didn't find any.  It was after we went back to bed I realized that the beeping sound could be the same chirping sound that was keeping my mother up all night for the last week.

The next day I called my mother and asked her how she slept last night.  She told me that my brother did not find where the sound was coming from and she had another sleepless night.  I told her about what happened to us the night before, and she didn't seem to believe, it was coming from her fire alarm, but was hopeful that it was.

"Ah Julie, nao e possivel….mas vem ca e ver!"

 In other words, Julie it's not possible, but come and see!

I drove over to investigate.  The last thing I wanted was my mother climbing on a chair and trying to take the alarm down by herself, and break a hip.  When I arrived, my mother followed me into the hallway near the kitchen where her alarm was on the ceiling.  She already had the chair sitting directly underneath the alarm.  I got there just in time.

"It's not making any noise now!"  my mother explained.  "It only comes out at night!"

I got on the chair and twisted the alarm off and pressed the button.


I looked down at my mother.

"Is that the sound you have been hearing?"

My mother crossed herself and smiled.  I proceeded to pop in a new battery in the alarm, and twisted it back into the ceiling.

It was kind of strange that the batteries in my own fire alarm happened to get weak the same time my mother's, but somethings in life are just unexplainable.  Operation "cricket" was successful and my mother finally enjoyed a restful sleep, and was able to put away the vacuum cleaner and flashlight, and that is all that mattered.

1 comment:

Jeanie said...

I had this problem many years ago now. I laughed when I realised what it was but it was a real mystery at the time. I thought there was a bird trapped indoors somewhere. Glad you solved the puzzle before there was any harm done.