Thanks to the Fire Department!

Thanks to the Fire Department! by Debra H. Goldstein

The Irondale Fire Department – four strong and a truck – just left my street. The four firefighters previously had been in my home. They weren’t there because of a fire. Rather, as a community service, they’d responded to my request for help with an upstairs beeping alarm.

As many of you know, I’m recovering well from back surgery, but I’m not quite at the point that I can scramble up ladders to change the batteries in smoke or carbon monoxide detectors. A friend had tried to help me determine which of the two was the beeper, but she not only couldn’t ascertain the culprit, but she wasn’t able to figure out how to open either of them. Not being able to maneuver the steps, I was no help to her.

At that moment, while the chirping continued, I remembered reading that the fire department would help in a situation like the one I found myself in. I called the non-emergency number and explained my situation. Once they learned I had the batteries necessary for replacement, they asked if right now was a good time for them to come out to help me.


They arrived. While two went upstairs to determine the problematic alarm, one carried in a small ladder, and one kept me company downstairs. They quickly resolved the chirp, then waived off my thanks for their help. To them, it was all in a day’s work. To me, it was lifesaving or should I say sanity saving after two days of chirping.

When they pulled away, two neighbors, fearing I had fallen, texted to see if I was okay. I replied that I was more than okay. My problem was solved, and I was feeling grateful.

I have the same feeling when I interact with other writers. Whether we brainstorm, listen to each other’s tales of woe about our writing, or lament about something that has broken in our home that has distracted us from writing, we come through for each other. For that I am grateful.

Have you had a situation where a community service, like that provided by the fire department, or a personal connection with another author, has made you feel grateful?

Beginning of the Year and I’m Already Tired

Beginning of the Year and I’m Already Tired by Debra H. Goldstein

It’s the beginning of 2024, and I’m already tired. How can that be? Aren’t we all supposed to feel invigorated and energetic when the calendar turns over? Theoretically, the old year is fading away and it’s a time of new beginnings, resolutions, and self-promises. But I’m tired.

Or, is it that I’m questioning what 2024 will bring? There’s a saying attributed to John Lennon, among others, that “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” With some book proposals out, short stories accepted but not yet published, I’m at a loss for my next project. One part of me wants to write something new, another to revise and update a book I wrote during NaNoWriMo years ago (it had good ideas, but wasn’t ready for prime time), and a third to simply sit back and see what happens. Unfortunately, the last option won’t produce anything for a future pipeline.

But does that matter?

My instinct as a Type-A goal-oriented person is to say “Yes, it matters!” Then, I think how nice it would be to simply glide on a cloud and let things happen. Can I do it? Although I’d love to, I’m honest. The answer is “No.” Stay tuned and together we’ll see what transpires in 2024. Maybe I’m not as tired as I thought. Are you?