Like so many couples our age, we would, from time to time, look at each other, all alone in our sumptuous Mediterranean villa, and say "What are we doing here? Why do we need this house. It's falling apart. It's costing us money. The kids are gone. They're not coming back. Let's get out.

And like so many couples our age faced with similar circumstances, we did nothing. By our inertia, we decided to wait it out until we had to go to assisted living.

And then came September 11. The world turned topsy turvy. Nothing was safe. Nothing was predictable. Rosh Hashana came, and the Landys, who lived in a particular apartment at Center Place downtown that we had always admired, said to us at our post-Tashlich bash, "We bought a house in Barrington. Do you want our apartment?"

We looked at each other and knew that the answer was yes...if not now, when?

We went over, took a look, and, as we have done with every house we have ever bought or rented, we signed on the dotted line. We donated the apartment to the Rhode Island Philharmonic for the use of its Associate Conductor, Francisco Noya, who stayed there during rehearsal nights. Thank you, John Barylick, for this idea. We listed the house with our friend, Carl Feldman of Coleman Realtors. Forty people showed up at the Open House, many of whom said, "We've always admired this house as we drove by, and we wan't to take this chance to see it. It wasn't the greatest time to sell a house--September 11 had people nervous and paralyzed, it was winter, when house sales are not at their peak, but we did get the offer and price we wanted, even if the buyers were a little difficult at the end, when they complained about lead paint (the house is 75 years old) and loose wiring (speaker wire), all of which was designed to gain a price reduction after they had made the deal. But we settled in the Spring to everyone's satisfaction, and they gave us plenty of time to get out, enough so that Carol could finish teaching for the year and make her pilgrimage to Israel.

 Cleaning out