Smoke alarms, 3 a.m. and a Safeway renovation

You ever have that kind of day where you drop everything you pick up, and say the wrong things at the wrong times, and get stuck crossways with the people you care most about in the world, and you stay up too late worrying about all the stuff you should have gotten done and all the things you should have said earlier if only you could have thought that fast at the time?

Yes, that's the day that leads into the night where you set the alarm for 5 a.m., drop off finally at 11 p.m., and are awakened at 1 a.m. by the unmistakeable shriek-chirp of a dying smoke alarm, and you can't make it stop, and you can't find the manual for the longest time, and then you do, and it tells you not one useful thing about the unending interconnectedness of all six smoke alarms, and you don't have any 9-volt batteries in the house anyway, so your long-suffering household-supplies procurement officer drives to Safeway at 1:30 a.m. to pay a fortune for batteries, hauls the tall ladder in from the garage and replaces all six batteries in all six alarms in all six ceilings, just in case, and then scopes out the mystery reset process and waits an additional six years until they all realign themselves with the stars and into full alert at 3:13 a.m.

You don't want to have that day -- or that night.

Not because of the smoke alarms. Because Safeway is renovating in the wee small hours, and the floors and walls were stripped so bare it was like that glitchy scene in "The Matrix." Horrors. Avoid.

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