Monday, September 1, 2014

There's no place like home.

Coming home from vacation is often the worst part of the trip. You have to say goodbye to a dreamy destination (boo), pack (blah) and travel (ugh). Then it's back to normal life and business-as-usual (wah).

Actually, that last part isn't much of a problem. I'm usually pretty excited to get home and get things rolling again. I miss my home and pets and friends, can't wait to sleep in my own bed and have a strange urgency to unpack, get organized and PURGE (after living out of a suitcase, a whole house full of stuff seems like way too much of everything).

But this homecoming was a little bit different. We came home to a house that felt weird. Our dog had fleas while we were gone and while our house-sitter and bug guy did a bang up job taking care of everything, things were still a bit off. The beds didn't have sheets or blankets, toys and towels and pillows were bagged up all over the house, and everything made us feel itchy.

*not actual size* this is just how it feels...

I spent the first day home vacuuming and washing everything that would fit in the washing machine and dryer. Toward the end of the day, a couple neighbors and their kids stopped by and I was telling them my sob story ending with, "But don't worry - we're finally flea-free!"

My neighbor was petting Penny and right at that moment said, "Oh, look. Here's one!" Then she pulled a tiny black jumping bean off Penny's back and I started to itch all over again. You should have seen Penny's face - total shame spiral.

The next day I started from square one. While Penny was getting washed and combed, I washed and combed everything in the house. By the time Bill got home from work our house finally felt like ours. We all had clean sheets and pillows and things smelled and felt like normal again.

So the next day, we acted like life was normal again. We saw friends and went to the park, did regular laundry and finally went to get groceries. On our way, I suddenly noticed smoke coming from my engine. The temperature gauge was on H-O-T and I was half afraid my van would just stop working or explode. Fortunately we were almost the the grocery store so I just took it easy and coasted into the first parking spot I could find.

I called Bill (kind of my solution to everything...) and he said he'd leave work right away to come help. He also called our friends who lived right around the corner from the grocery store and by the time I got what we needed and came back outside, I had a whole crew of amazing people there to help me.

There really is no place like home.

I thought our awkward homecoming was finally taking a turn for the better. Sure, bad stuff was happening, but bad stuff happens to everyone. Not everyone can step back and marvel at the safety net of awesome people who are there to help when things go awry. I was almost glad my van blew a gasket - it gave me time to step back and count my blessings.

After a wonderful night with more amazing friends, we woke up feeling grateful and beyond happy to be home. And then, we found yet another flea on Penny's back.

And then another.

And another.

I ran to the vet to get the end all flea treatment (Comfortis if reading this is making you itch). When I got home Bill said, "I think I know why all this is happening." He was giving me that 'it's all your fault' look and I knew exactly what he meant.

I had accidentally brought home a piece of lava and a piece of coral from Hawaii and he was convinced we were now suffering from Pele's curse. I know what you're thinking. Accidentally? Sure... (Or maybe you're thinking, Pele's curse? What the what?!) But I promise I had no intention of taking anything from the island.

Bill had all kinds of rocks and crystals on his bedside table from a rock shop he stumbled across in Reno. (He had been reading about energy healing and was eager to try cleansing our chakras. Super cool, by the way.) When we were packing to go home I grabbed the lava and coral we brought home to admire and threw them in the suitcase with the rest of the rocks, not realizing they were meant to go back to the beach.

So now, apparently, we're cursed.

We've had the ongoing hex of fleas; an overheated car that needed a pipe replaced (mine); a flooded, moldy car (Bill's); and headaches all week (we think we got re-addicted to caffeine on our trip because when we came home and had tea in the morning instead of coffee, we got caffeine withdrawal headaches that just went away).


We also had a house-sitter and bug guy who were more than willing to help us out from afar, friends come to our rescue and help fix our car, TWO dinner invitations two nights in a row ("How lucky are we?" mused Liam), a sleepover, a girls' night, a fantastic first day of school for Finn, a new art and music class for both boys that they love (which means TWO WHOLE HOURS EVERY WEEK JUST FOR ME!!!), and a homeschool hangout that made me grateful for our school situation all over again.

If I had to bet, I'd say we're probably not cursed. But still, no reason to square off against a volcano goddess.

You win, Pele. Thanks for everything.

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