chirp. chirp.

All through the house not a creature was stirring,
Not even a mouse.

No one should be stirring!
It was 2:30 am.

Chirp. Chirp?

I don’t hear anything.
*keep listening*

Chirp. Chirp?
Where is it coming from?
*keep listening*

Chirp. Chirp.
Where is it coming from?

*turn on lights*

We spread out to listen.
The chirp. chirp. is not frequent.
The chirp. chirp. is separated from the next chirp. chirp. by at least 90 seconds.

90 seconds feels like 10 minutes at 2:36 in the morning.

We devise a plan.
When we hear the first chirp. we are going to run around to see if we can figure out it’s origin during the second chirp.

There is a lot of running and listening.
There is very little chirp. chirp. origination identification.

We run.

Chirp. Chirp.

We listen.

Chirp. Chirp.

After more running and more listening and more chirp. we finally narrowed it down to a smoke detector that we thought might be located near the middle of the house…

There is a smoke detector in the middle of the house in the stairwell!
Let’s sit down and listen.

Chirp. Chirp.

YEAH! Origination identification completed.

I will go get a nine volt battery to place in the complaining smoke detector…

I will go get a nine volt battery to place in the complaining smoke detector that is on the ceiling two stories up.

I think I will also get a ladder.

A tall ladder.

Chirp. Chirp.

That doesn’t look safe.

That doesn’t look tall enough.

Chirp. Chirp.

Let’s have a strategic planning session at 2:43 am!

It was like one of those corporate team building exercises. Without the corporation.

Go team Nirvana!

Get to the top of the 2 story ceiling and replace that nine volt battery in the complaining smoke detector and learn to trust each other…

Chirp. Chirp.

We planned.

Chirp. Chirp.

We built.

Chirp. Chirp.

We balanced.

Chirp. Chirp.

We overcame

It took 2 wooden boxes, a large left-over piece of plywood, a 10 foot ladder, Holly’s yoga balance 2 steps above ladder manufacturer’s warning, blog-Stedman’s strong grip and a 9 volt battery to overcome the complaining smoke detector obstacle.

Go team Nirvana!

Team Nirvana figured it out.

Team Nirvana deserves to go back to bed.

All through the house not a creature was stirring,
Not even a mouse.

No one should be stirring!
It was 3:24 am.

Did you hear a bang?
Do you hear a chirp. chirp?

Let’s go back to sleep!

The next morning I looked up and saw this:

That was 18 months ago.

I am not about to get out the corporate team building exercise for anything but a chirp. chirp.

Oh, and when I DO get out the corporate team building exercise for the chirp. chirp. please remind me to replace that burned out lightbulb…


  1. Well…I was going to suggest you come for a visit and demonstrate that corporate team building plan to us, and say, change the light-bulbs in our entry way chandelier during the demo. You can ALMOST reach it on a ladder leaning over the rail, up the first flight of stairs. Almost. But, the I got to the “8 months ago” part, and realized you probably wouldn’t be up for that. But still: way to go, yoga balance.

  2. I work as a safety engineer. I’m going to pretend like I didn’t just read this. =)

  3. Beth (A Mom's Life) says:

    This had me chuckling. And as I was reading I thought that I better warn you that once once battery starts chirping in a smoke detector, it’s only a matter of hours or days until they ALL start chirping.

    But it it’s been eight months, you probably already know this.

  4. Wow, that could have been bad, but you are waaay braver than I. I would have just tried to knock it off the wall with a broom until it died.

  5. Hilarious!! I had one go off in the middle of the night and of course the husband was out of town. In that instant a baseball works just as well. It just takes a couple of throws cuz who has good aim at 3am?

  6. HA Ha HA!!! Holly, that is too much. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve chased the chirp πŸ˜‰

    You crack me up darlin’. So… was Hubby trying to sneak peeks up the shorties?

  7. jill jill bo bill says:

    I am just impressed you had a nine volt battery. Great story!!

  8. MaNiC MoMMyΓ’β€žΒ’ says:

    Holy CHIRP CRAP! You should be one of those basketball coaches who diagrams the whole game because I completely understood that whole thing! LOL!

  9. Happy Campers says:

    Girl, you are NUTS. All you needed was a video camera & it's an episode of America's Funniest Home Videos in the making πŸ™‚

  10. Jennifer H says:

    Just last week, I almost lost life and limb going above the ladder’s manufacturer’s recommended safety level.

    I doubt either one of us would recommend it without reservation. πŸ™‚

    Still counting how many times I laughed out loud!

  11. kelliebean says:

    Oh, that picture of the arrows all over the place has me laughing so hard – but only cause I’ve been there done that.

    A smoke alarm in a place that you can’t get to without a ladder, 2 boxes and a board? Wouldn’t really call that master planning.

  12. LOL. Why they would put a smoke detector there…I won’t even ask.

    But I’m impressed with your improvisational skills…

  13. Holly, that is too funny! I hate that chirp in the middle of the night. And we’ve had them hanging down like that for years!

  14. Elaine A. says:

    I thought you had another bird in the house there for a while. I thought “OH, this is gonna be fun!” ; ) And it was! Even though it wasn’t a bird…

  15. Valarie Lea says:

    Why does the smoke detector always run out of juice in the middle of the night, and why do the contractors always put the thing so high up on a wall or ceiling???

  16. Oh holy cow! You absolutely crack me up. Your ladder thing – nuh uh.

  17. franticallysimple says:

    I have also been woken by the dreaded chirp. But ours scares the dog and she barks. Which wakes up our daughter, the insomniac. Who then feels the need to turn on an audio book, loudly.
    Three hours later my over-tired snoring wakes up hubs and we begin again! Yay!
    PS: Thanks!

  18. your ladder thing made my heart race. oh your bravery….

  19. Jenn @ Juggling Life says:

    I knew it was a smoke detector from the very first chirp–I have been on that late night journey myself.

    You are one brave gal to climb that ladder.

  20. You are a woman who lives life on the edge!

  21. On a limb with Claudia says:

    OMG – you are hilarious. I love how Blog-Stedman just goes along with the hilarity. Of course, he got to gaze up your shortie for a long time….

  22. Corey~living and loving says:

    Thanks for the giggles. I sooooo love your drawings. You rock the creative blogginess. πŸ™‚
    Have a chirp free day.

  23. Threeundertwo says:

    I’m with Jill Jill – I’m impressed you had a 9 volt battery.

    At my house? I would have been whacking that thing with a long-handled mop until it looked like the picture. That would stop the chirping.

  24. That made my day. The pictures made it.

    My in-laws smoke alarm chirped for the whole 2 weeks we were in Ireland. We were in need of some “team building” to overcome that!

  25. AMomTwoBoys says:

    That’s why we will only ever live in a single story house.

    I sleep on the same side of the bed.

  26. Jenni Jiggety says:

    Classic! And you are brave! I would have sent him to the top!

  27. I’m impressed you had wooden boxes. When I first saw the drawing, I thought they were cardboard boxes. Which seemed very easily … crushable.

  28. Colleen - Mommy Always Wins says:

    Now why in the HELL would someone put a smoke detector way up there?!? Adding it to the list of things we do NOT want in our new house. {check!}

  29. Melizzard says:

    Umm yeah at my house we call that

    1-800 Call the freakin’ handyman!

  30. That is a really odd spot for a smoke detector.

  31. WeaselMomma says:

    I am so glad that you documented this, in case we would have needed it for a Darwin Award nomination.
    Luckily, that wasn’t needed. The mice aren’t stirring in our house either. Come check out what I mean.

  32. mommeeof9 says:

    It took a long time to find the last smoke alrarm that was chirping. It was in the cellar. I don’t remember putting that one in. It was over 10 years old, so I just put up one of the new ones we bought at costco. We have the ones with lights on them in the hallway and over the stair case. Of course they need 2 batteries each. Good thing we buy 9 volts at costco. πŸ™‚

  33. Pgoodness says:

    I adore your animated life posts!!! We’ve been through the CHIRP CHIRP thing as well in the wee hours of the night – I swear those builders don’t think about where they put those smoke alarms when they are putting them in!!

  34. Angie's Spot says:

    You have such a gift with these animated posts. I cry with laughter Every.Single.Time! Now, if you could just invent a ladder just for these type of situations, well, you could retire a millionaire! And hire someone else to take the death-defying risks. LOL!

  35. Trannyhead says:

    At least you actually replaced the battery. I’ve been known to just leave it dangling like it looked in your “that was 8 months ago photo.” You know, like a limp penis. I just take the battery out and am all “meh – who needs a smoke detector.”

  36. Threeboys1mommy says:

    Where was Team Nirvanas Superbowl commercial?

  37. MommyTime says:

    This reminds me of the shenanigans we tried with ladders that were too short when we were steaming the ugly wallpaper off the two-story-high walls above our staircase. We’d inherited the wallpaper and couldn’t stand it any more. That will make you do crazy things. Still, I could never write a post this good about it. I bow to cartoon Holly, even without her snakeskin boots.

  38. Ya shoulda bought the Little Giant ladder; I have one. I could’ve brought it over. But it’s really heavy. You would’ve had to help me bring it over so I could help you. πŸ™‚

  39. You are sooooo funny! I was in tears at, “There is very little chirp. chirp. origination identification.” – ACK! This was so fricken funny!

    See you, Holly – Kellan

  40. The Stiletto Mom says:

    BWAHAHAHAHA….have been there way too many times myself…only I am the one at the base of the ladder chanting “pleasedontfallpleasedontfall…”

    Also, you are a true artiste with those drawings.

  41. MoziEsmé says:

    I am way impressed with your ingenuity and bravery… Especially in the middle of the night. I think I would have thrown something at the thing to make it shut up.

  42. I can’t even climb up a step ladder in safe, non-death-inducing conditions, so I am now boggled by your courage.

  43. Ain’t gettin’ up on anything taller than a chair, nuh-uh, no way, no how. I bow to your bravery and your storyboarding skills.

    How would Foolery have fixed it? One rifle, two bullets. One for the chirp chirp, one for the contractor. Just kidding about the second bullet.

  44. WE have these same types of smoke detectors in our house. Annoying little devils!

  45. Elizabeth says:

    This is truly a reason to invest in hard wired smoke detectors. No more Chirp Chirp!
    Loved your method of “reaching the top”…even though safety planners are cringing! I do stuff like that too, my DH goes crazy.

  46. I heard the dreaded chirp-chirp while up nursing my newborn son in the middle of the night…nothing I did would make the chirping stop, and then the chirping turned to a scream. FYI: A CO detector is not muffled by being wrapped in a throw rug and put inside a portable cooler. My chivalrous husband told me how to fix it but did not offer to help me do so. Miraculously, the baby slept through it all :).

  47. Blog Stedman KNOWS that you would have haunted him for the rest of his days if he let go. Or, better yet, you would have used your secret Ninja powers to take him out. πŸ™‚

    Might I suggest getting that smoke detector hard-wired? Saves on acrobatics lessons.

  48. Angie Ledbetter says:

    My plan:
    A.) Pillow over head til morning
    B.) BB-gun to shoot out smoke detector.
    C.) Call repairman to come install a more conveniently located device.
    D.) Pat self on back. Order pizza.

  49. Anonymous says:

    You are so boring. It is more enjoyable watching P00P go down a toilet.

  50. ?georgie? says:

    this was almost like a scary movie LOL

  51. ?georgie? says:

    this was almost like a scary movie LOL

  52. Ron Davison says:

    You made me laugh out loud.
    We have a light fixture in a high-ceiling’ed segment of the house. It started out with 6 bulbs and now has 2 – which is enough to do its job. It has me worried though, because once we’re down to one bulb I’m going to have to sell the house and the market is really down now. I’m not sure what else to do, though.

  53. Mommy With a Penis says:

    One funny post. Probably because it sounds like the goings on in our house. Beep!

  54. Loved it! Wouldn’t it have been easier to move?

  55. ~ Straight Shooter ~ says:


  56. stephanie (bad mom) says:

    Bummer. But kudos to you for risking life & limb to fix the chirping; we staged an intervention when some neighbors let theirs go on for the ENTIRE SUMMER.

  57. OMG. Amazing. You and Stedman…what a team.

    I have a few chirping stories that are similar. Will tell you in person. It will be even better – trust me.

  58. Okay, I thought it was funny BEFORE I saw the “after photo” for the “BANG.” And then I spewed a lot of Dr. Pepper through my nose. πŸ™‚ You’re all that AND an artist, girlfriend. πŸ™‚

  59. Why do those #*@% things ONLY go “chirp chirp” in the middle of the night? Never. EVER. during the day??? NEVER!

    I would have ripped it out of the ceiling then and there so as to avoid the team building exercise in the future. But I have to hand it to Blog-Stedman, because Prince Charming would never have allowed me to do that on the ladder, ESPECIALLY the way it was held up. I’m impressed!

  60. Out-Numbered says:

    Sooooo Clever. I love it!

  61. LOL ha that is absolute hystericalness. and how come chrome doesn’t like that word?

  62. HAhahahahaha I love Holly’s animated life.

  63. Why is it that smoke detector batteries only go out at 2:40 am? I think that is repayment for not changing all the batteries when we spring forward and fall back.

  64. I’ve always wondered how people with those really high ceilings changed light bulbs and dusted & stuff.

  65. You should definitely take your team building exercises on the road!!

  66. Curse those high ceilings!! I have a ceiling fan that has broken bulbs stuck in the sockets but I can’t get to it without my own “team building exercise”. I need one of those cherry-picker machines that they use to fix power lines outside…

  67. Origination identification diagram two is my favorite. Because that actually illustrates the internal process I have going on AT ALL TIMES.

    How did you know? Can you see inside my head? Should I start wearing a metal colander?

    (It is possible that there should be fewer paranoia-inducing fruits and vegetables in my diet.)

    You should go to Your solutions seems perfectly practical when compared to some of theirs.

  68. Why is it always the one two stories up that you can’t reach that decides to go off at 2:30AM? This week it was the one in our 3-year old’s bedroom…not as funny since he woke up crying trying to figure out why the house was on fire and no one had come to rescue him! Poor little guy will probably now have a complex related to child neglect for the rest of his life and we didn’t even have a real fire!

  69. Would it KILL the builders to place those things right at the top of the stairs, where the landing would make using a ladder to reach them completely reasonable? At least your picture story will make me laugh when I have my own 2 am battle against “chirp chirp.” Also? I am super impressed that you even have a spare 9 volt in your house. We never do.

  70. This had me laughing out loud! I LOVE your illustrations πŸ™‚

  71. Dude, that is what guns are for in Texas.

    Chirp, chirp, BANG.

  72. Ha ha, I followed a chirp chirp until I found a cricket under the stove. I almost took that stove out of the wall to get that darn bug OUT of the house!

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