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We were sleeping peacefully last night when suddenly – 

WARNING! WARNING! Carbon monoxide level is zero…please evacuate the building…testing… testing.

I nudged H but he was sleeping the sleep of the dead. After a few more pokes he finally sat up and grabbed his flashlight. 

I grabbed my cell phone – it’s the first thing I thought of – and followed H and the flashlight beam down the dark hallway. The screeching warnings and beeping continued as he shined the light around the room. 

“I think it’s saying testing,” I said, as H shined the light on the small, but loud, piece of equipment attached to the wall at the end of the hall. The warning was coming to us from an irritating woman’s voice, alarming us of danger. 

He pried the detector off the wall while the noise continued and then we sat in the darkened living room as he tried to remove the batteries to shut that woman up, while I held the flashlight. I later wondered why we didn’t turn on a light! It was a carbon monoxide warning – not electrical. 

The high pitched shrieks continued to warn us to leave. My throat was itchy. My eyes were watering.  Was it only my imagination? Should we flee the premises?

After the smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector was finally dismantled, we headed back to bed. Leaving the window open all night gave us a better sense of security. 

The reason we have that piece of equipment is because years ago H’s mother had trouble with the heating unit and her neighbor found her barely conscious in the bedroom one morning. She made the front page of the newspaper the next day. That heating unit has been replaced. 

We may never know what caused the ruckus but it looks as though we are in the market for a new detector! 



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It’s been an interesting year trying to get into the swing of retirement with one of us retired and one not. Taking it easy after so many years of punching that time clock isn’t an easy task. My space was invaded and I had to learn to adjust with H underfoot everyday but he had to adjust to not having a schedule or routine to adhere to. Teaching private lessons three afternoons a week, and taking a theory class at the local college has kept him in the game….

Finding Myself Through Writing

You prepare for this milestone all your life, but when the day of retirement finally arrives, you are slammed in the face with the reality of it all. I know this is true because I’ve seen H moping about for the last few weeks as that date which seemed so far away last year is now on top of him.

He sits quietly, gazing off into space with something bigger on his mind. His thoughts, I’m sure, are on what he’s accomplished and the legacy he’s leaving behind. He’s given his love of music to so many over the years through his career of teaching and always hoping they carry it with them the rest of their lives.

There will be no more early morning or late afternoon rehearsals in his preparation for competitions or festivals with students itching to leave and their parents grumbling because he kept them waiting.

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