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Yesterday was a long day. Mostly I mean that from the perspective of exhaustion, not frustration. I awoke just past midnight with the moon pouring through my southerly bedroom window and smiled at her beauty. Even though I felt fresh I knew that arising at so early an hour was anathema to my best interests so I lay abed, trying to force myself to sleep. I finally gave up around 12:30 and started a pot of coffee.

In a state of transition from one home to another I have been living alone for five weeks, separated from my beloved by 1,400 miles and need not fear that I will annoy or disturb anyone by awakening at odd hours. After all, ain’t nobody here but just us chickens.

I got up, did some writing and a little house cleaning and before I knew it the birds were chirping and the view out of my north facing home-office window was filled with a heavy, thick fog.

Semi-retired, I like to stay busy. I did a few strength and stretching exercises, went for a short, high intensity run. (1.25 miles at 9:45. At 54 I have learned to accept the limits of my aging body. I’ll use running for heart pounding aerobic workouts and cycle for longer periods, usually around an hour, at a more leisurely pace.) My community pool has lap swim from 11:45 to 12:45 and I planned to go swim 22 laps which is 1,100 yards. I call this a kilometer but it is slightly more. Pools in the US are mostly in yards, not meters. I improvise, adapt and overcome.

“Planned” was the operative word in the previous paragraph. Did you see the word “semi” in front of retired up there? I thought my work schedule was 3:00 to 8:30 but it was 1:00 to 8:30. Fortunately my OCD made me re-check my hours and I discovered that I was scheduled for work two hours earlier than I thought. What’s a boy to do? See ultimate sentence of previous paragraph.

I did the obscene and drove my CO belching Ford to the pool. The pool that is two miles from my home. Bike would have been better but I had plans.

I cut the swim down to 11 laps or 500 meters, popped out of the pool, got in the car and scurried home. IF I got home and ready to go and was out the door by 12:10 I could cycle six miles to work and still eat lunch once I got there. Fat chance. I did cycle to work. I took the direct, 1.66 mile route figuring that I’d enjoy a leisurely six mile ride home at the end of my shift.

The third sentence of this story reads, “I awoke just past midnight…” Midnight to 8:30 is twenty and one half hours. I am not a youngster and at the end of my shift I rode home the direct, 1.66 mile route. I was tired. I was hungry. All I wanted was to call my beloved one time zone and 1/17th of the world away and say goodnight to her before eating dinner and going to sleep. Opening my door I heard that most unwelcome of sounds the slow, intermittent beep, beep of a smoke detector in need of a battery.

“Crap!” said I. My house has nine smoke detectors. Six of them are on the second floor and the bleeping beep, beep was coming from the second floor. Have you ever played the low battery in your smoke detector game? I don’t recommend it.

I walked from detector to detector listening for the beep. Waiting. Hunting. “It must be this one!” I said of the master bedroom. I climbed on a stool, removed the detector, slipped in a new battery and…. “Beep, beep, beep.”

Shampoo directions say, “Lather, rinse, repeat.” I did, and I did, and, well, I did. I was in a lather as I removed detector after detector and replaced the batteries. How many nine volt batteries are in your house right now? I did not have six.

Finally I gave up. Sweaty, tired, hungry, frustrated I called my ever loving and complained. I wanted her to reach through the phone and fix my problem. She is quite resourceful but was not up to the task. I bid her goodnight, ate some crackers with humus and went back to the semper fi: “Innovate, Adapt, Overcome.” I closed the damn bedroom doors, went down to the basement and slept on the floor. Hey, it’s carpeted and at least it was quiet.

This morning I got up at my usual temperate hour of just past three and through two floors and closed doors I could here it: Beep, beep, beep. Sighing, I resigned myself to an early morning shopping spree. I work from nine to six today (What? You think EVERY day is a holiday for me?) and figured I’d get my grocery shopping done, pick up some batteries and still have time for that leisurely one hour ride to work.

Upstairs I went and once there I removed all six MF-ing detectors, took out the batteries and said, “Ha! I dare you to beep now!”

Beep, beep, beep.

Did you know that my CO2 detector has a battery back up too?

Erich Maria Remarque, I can verify that all is now quiet on the western front.