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Want to hear God laugh?


Will someone please explain to me why–and this is not a rhetorical question–smoke alarm batteries always fail in the middle of the night?

Yesterday morning I was snuggled in bed, dreaming I had a bag of delicious fruit-and-cheese-filled pastries, I’d baked, to get the attention of a handsome movie star. (Side-note: Although I am allergic to wheat, I am certain I could have eaten these with absolutely no ill-effects.) I was also certain that my delectables would seal the deal, and I would win his affections.

As if to put a punctuation mark on that thought, the smoke alarm outside the bedroom door went off!

I must have slipped back into dreamtime immediately, because I saw myself fetch my broom, turn it toward the ceiling, and with a swing that would do any polo-player proud, I whacked that little white dome clean off the ceiling. Trailing all of it’s wires like a tiny electronic octopus, it flew straight through the dining room window and out into the night!

I remember my satisfaction upon seeing the starburst-shaped hole in the window, the glowing full Moon right in front of me, and feeling the burst of fresh, cool air. I thought, “I’ll clean the glass in the morning. Now I can go back to sleep.”

Minutes later, on the second chirp, I put the pillow over my head. By the third chirp, my sweetheart, who can sleep through anything if he sleeps on his “good ear,” was also wide awake. I turned to him, “Do you think this will wake them?” as I pointed upstairs to our noisy neighbors. “I hope so,” he dead-panned.

Here it was, 4:30 am and maintenance didn’t open till 8:00. We rose, brewed some coffee, tried to replace the batteries ourselves and surprisingly, couldn’t. So we put in earplugs and sat at the kitchen table in our bathrobes, drinking coffee as if this were an everyday occurrence.

I was writing and enjoying my second cup of coffee, no longer grumbling, when the alarm inexplicably stopped chirping.

Wait… I think I just answered my own question… Smoke alarms go off in the middle of the night because God needs a good laugh!





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Donna O’Klock spent 35 years in the beauty business, talking, teaching, and learning. These days, she’d “rather write than talk. It’s better that way because I can edit.” She writes two blogs, and, and is the author of  Sick and Tired & Sexy: Living Beautifully with Chronic Illness.

Austin, Texas, has been her home since 1978, but she and her fiancé have downsized and are traveling the country in their RV.

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