Friday, August 20, 2004

See, now, THAT'S a loud light

Like, totally exciting day here at Casa Ronniecat, where at 7:30 there was a knock at the door (Husband could hear it, I couldn't) and I answered it (Husband was naked, I wasn't) and it was a delivery guy with a BIG box which I rushed upstairs 'cause I knew it was my DEAF KIT!

Husband is an Ebay god, with over 430 "feedbacks" from successful transactions and not one negative one. He buys and sells everything from rare books to albums (remember vinyl, children?) to electronic studio equipment. Since I lost my hearing, he's proven to be a brilliant miner of materials to aid our life at prices that make my few deaf friends twist their faces in envious disgust, so I've finally just stopped talking about it. Even by his standards, though, finding this "Deaf Kit" was a coup of another colour.

When you check into a hotel, you can ask for a "Deaf Kit" and they will supply you with a suitcase full of stuff to transform your hotel room into a safe and adapted deaf environment. Ours is such a kit, a hardbody case containing a TTY (teletypewriter to connect with the telephone), a "door knock alert" unit which actually attaches to the door, a smoke detector/fire alarm, a bed shaker, and a central "alert unit" and alarm clock that essentially keeps track of all of the above and lets you know what's going on. (For instance, if someone knocks on the door, a light flashes on the unit reading "Door Knock"; if the phone is ringing, it's "Phone Ringing".) In fact, it contains the same items as pictured in this picture, some identical (TTY, smoke detector, door knocker), others similar but different.

It was such an embarrassment of goodies that we haven't had time to even begin playing with it, as we had to get to work. But we did grab the easiest item to test, the smoke detector.

The smoke detector looks like a regular square smoke detector with a bar light which has "F I R E" written along it attached at one end (it's to the right, above the alarm-clock/control unit in that picture; it uses the standard nine-volt battery to run the detector and an electrical plug to run the light. Husband stuck in a 9-V, plugged it in to the wall, and hit the 'test' switch.

I wasn't sure what happened next. Husband made a face; the cats bolted for the stairs; but nothing was happening, lights-wise. "Is it making a noise?" I asked. Husband looked at me with a positively plaintive look that can only come of one who is hearing an excruciatingly loud noise in the presence of another who asks such a question, but before he could answer, the light started.

They always describe these smoke alarms for the deaf as having a "flashing light". And I'm always thinking to myself, "Dude, a 'flashing light' is *not* going to wake me up." It's one of the things that's worried me ever since I lost my hearing.

Maybe what the ad copy should says is "Great Blinding Goddamned Frightening Retina-Searing Flashing Light of Death". 'Cause if I had known that, it woulda made me feel better.

It's like a photographer's strobe, only many many times brighter. It flashes about once every second and a half; enough to be annoying to a sleeper, but too slowly to disorient.

Brother, if that thing goes off, it's gonna wake me up.

Can't wait to try out all my other new tools tomorrow!

(What's that? What did he get the kit for on Ebay?

I'm not talking about it.)



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