Eventually I resigned myself to a night of no sleep. I figured if I shut the hall door and slept on the couch in the lounge the beep would be less intrusive. I also decided to drown out the sound with an episode of Midsomer Murders on iView. I paused the show at some point to get a drink and that's when I noticed: miracle of miracles, the beeping had stopped! I could sleep, un-aurally-molested, in my bed! (Which I did. I'm no fool.)
I ended up spending today at home, doing some work from the comfort of the couch. (The other couch. Not the one I'd planned to sleep on. I have two couches. Just the two. I'm not building a Couch Empire here. I need you to be able to properly see this with your mind's eye.) At about 1pm I thought I heard a noise, but I ignored it. And then there it was again. The sodding beeping. I may have called the detector an unkind name. A phone call to the real estate agent brought an electrician running. He phoned me on his way to my place and I carefully explained to him all that I had done in an attempt to fix the problem, defending my status as a resourceful and independent single woman.
The electrician arrived and took a look at the detector. He was puzzled as everything seemed to be in order. Then it beeped again. There was a hint of defiance in the noise this time - I have a sense for these things. The electrician looked at his sidekick. "Where's that beep coming from?" "Er," I ventured, "from the smoke detector?" I confess I may have had my duh face on at this point. "No it isn't," he said. Then he and the sidekick looked down the hall and pointed at something on the ceiling I had failed to see in all my rampaging about the house the evening before, being resourceful and independent in a womanly and single way: a second smoke detector, purely battery-operated, with a dead battery - and trying to get anyone who would listen to pay attention.
"I feel like such an idiot!" I said. But I'd jumped the gun. The time to really feel like an idiot was when he presented me with the bill.