For the past few weeks, we have been getting stern emails from our home owners’ association in AZ. Your yard looks like crap, they said (in so many words). We have standards, they reminded us. Next thing you know, you’re going to park a rusty ’74 Ford Pinto in your front yard and set a ratty couch on your porch, they opined.
Well, perhaps the emails weren’t that stern, but when we pulled up to our driveway, our yard looked sad enough to make Bill swallow hard and say yoiks. Just as I suspected, Bill carried in our suitcases and other stuff and within 15 minutes, he was at work in the yard…..
My brother keeps track of our house during our absence. He stops by every couple of weeks, flushes the toilets, checks for running water and signs of pests, gets our mail, and removes the impassioned pleas for us to become Jehovah’s Witnesses from our door. But even with his much-appreciated help, whichever one of us is the first to open up the house after the long, hot summer closes our eyes and holds our breath as we unlock the door and step in.
This year, sometime in late June, I got a phone call from our AZ neighbor, a very sweet elderly woman named Patsy. Since Patsy and I are friendly but not BFFs, seeing her name come up on my caller ID made me swallow hard and go yoiks. And for good reason, as it turned out. Our drip system was spewing water like Old Faithful. Jen’s son-in-law Mark was good enough to fix that for us that time. Still, Arizona summers are long and hot, making problems inevitable. Hence, the front yard that looked like a post apocalyptic nightmare.
The inside of the house usually fares a bit better, and this year was no exception. We had, of course, the normal smells that come from stale air mixed with sewer gas. But we were scorpion free, and unlike a couple of years ago, there was no signs of termites. Unfortunately, there was also no signs of a working modem. We turn off our wifi in the summer and turn it back on when we return in the fall. Since we are as reliant on technology as the next guy, a trip to Best Buy to replace the dead modem was necessary.
Luckily, that also created the opportunity to eat an early dinner at Fuddruckers. After two days on the road dining primarily on Red Vines and Slim Jims, even restaurant food seemed like a home cooked meal.
By the time we settled in to watch the football game, we had working wifi, our suitcases were unpacked, and we were ready to tackle the rest of the chores.
Today, we will get settled in for our two-week stay. I will make a trip to the grocery store so that we have something other than beer in our fridge and Oreos in our pantry. I will even get a bag of candy in case the neighborhood kids decide to drop by, thinking our house is haunted from the looks of the front yard.