Two Hours

So, yesterday afternoon just about kicked my butt.

It all started around 3:30.

Olivia had been home all day, which was not normal for a Monday, but because of a visiting team there was no school. So, I got to listen to “Is it the end of the work day yet?” every 30 minutes or so because I had told her she could, once again, watch Polar Express when the work day was done since I need my computer for work. So, all day I’d been saying, “No! Stop asking me!” I did try to do it with love :)

FINALLY, the work day was done. I had gotten her set up to watch a show, and was just about to get Alex some food so he stopped doing the baby whimper cry from his bouncy seat. Then my phone rang. It was an important call from Canada, but we had to cut it short with a promise to call back in a few minutes. Then Chris’ phone rang. While he’s away I’m manning both phones. He gets too many mission calls on his to just abandon it for the week. I answer his and it’s him. Now, you would think that he would call me on my phone, but that would mean he would have to remember the number… So, he calls me on his phone to tell me that he needs me to send some stuff by email to the US, and as I’m talking to him Canada calls back. I try to hang up on Chris and just miss the call from Canada. Both numbers registered as Unknown, so I can’t call either of them back. I find the number for Canada and return the call.

Alex is still whimpering. Olivia is watching her show. The smoke alarm starts going off.

I need to explain the smoke alarm.

Chris found these smoke alarms that screw into your light socket and charge off the power there. You then screw your light bulb into the smoke alarm. He was a bit paranoid about fire following the shop fire and the van fire, understandably. So, we have one in each house. Periodically they chirp, meaning you need to turn the light on for a while to charge them. The one in our house had been chirping randomly over the last few days.

As I got on the phone to Canada it started beeping non-stop. I made haste for our bedroom to continue the call where I could close the door. I finish up about 10 minutes later and head back out to the living room.

It’s still beeping.


Olivia is standing there covering her ears looking at me with begging eyes.

I look at the smoke alarm. I need to do something before my head explodes. I grab a chair. I unscrew the thing from the light socket. Cutting off the power supply will do the trick. As I hold it in my hand IT KEEPS BEEPING. I’m desperate. I unscrew the lightbulb. Why unscrewing the lightbulb would have any effect, I have no idea, but in that moment it made sense. IT KEEPS BEEPING!!! I am turning this thing over in my hands, poking and prodding it, desperately hoping that there is an off switch.

There isn’t.

As I’m holding this thing my brain shifts into a new level of desperate.

The smoke detector must die.

Hammer. I NEED a hammer.

I have no hammer.

I have a broom!

A plan formulates in my mind. I will throw it on the floor and beat it with a broom.

For one split second I think “Chris is going to be mad.” Then I think, “Chris isn’t here.”

As I turn to run to get the broom the beeping beast falls out of my hand and hits the floor.


And then Olivia and I stand there looking at it.

Well, that solved that problem.

I leave it and move on to the next thing – trying to get something pulled together for a print ad that Chris is going to have run in a newspaper in Wisconsin.

Now, to my husbands credit, he thinks I’m a superstar and I can just pull these things out of thin air. I mean, I already had it pretty much done. Except, that I needed to reformat it for print use. Which really means I have to redo the whole thing. And when did he need it? Then.

So I’m madly trying to get this done. Olivia is asking me if I’m done so she can go back to watching her movie. I ask her if she can go play outside. Oh yeah, somewhere in there I’ve managed to feed Alex so he stops whimpering. She agrees to go outside. Then she falls down the last step. Our steps are concrete. I go pick her up and carry her back upstairs. We wipe her up and realize there is minimal damage. The tears were the worst part of it. I get her giggling. We go back to our tasks.

I’m reworking things and Chris finally calls back with the remaining info I need. I forget to tell him about the smoke alarm.

I go back to work. Workers are returning from follow up and repair trips. I field all of that. Alex starts crying. I’m working and balancing him on my shoulder. I can’t type with one hand. I eventually get things close to finished. In my franticness to start working I forgot to plug my computer back in. It powers down because the battery is low. I sit there frantically watching as it powers down. I plug it in and power it back up wondering if I’ve lost all the work from the last hour.

It’s there. Thankfully.

I finish up and send it off. It was almost 6 pm and the closest I’d gotten to making anything that resembled dinner was taking the ground beef out of the freezer.

I then sent my husband an email to tell him that while I love him, I can’t do surprises this week while he’s away. It’s detrimental someone’s  health.

In this case it was the smoke alarm.


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About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

7 thoughts on “Two Hours

    • Yes, it is. When I was talking to Chris on the phone this morning and telling him the story we were both laughing so hard. I was actually wiping tears away.

  1. I laughed so hard I have tears running down my cheeks. Everyone at ball hockey is going to wondering why I was crying!

    Hang in there Leslie.

  2. I LOVE it! I was laughing with you, not at you :) No matter where you are in the world…we all have those days sometimes!

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