A House, Some Lives, Some Things…and Trying to Make Sense of it All

dad army

My dad in the Army

A month of so ago, I wrote a post about getting ready for a yard sale to help clean out my mom’s house. She’s selling the house in which my brothers and I grew up and moving to a condo. And I promised a followup. Well here it is, but like so many things in life, it’s different than what I’d expected.

The yard sale was pretty good. If the goal was to get rid of unwanted things, then it was successful. It was also pretty crowded most of the time, which made the time pass quickly, and kept our emotions in check. But when it was over, I went inside the house and looked around a little. And that’s when I realized how much more there was to be cleared out.

The more turned out to be the tricky stuff, mainly because most of it had belonged to my dad, who died fourteen years ago. I’ve never written a proper tribute to my father, because I can never figure out where to start. For now, I’ll just say that he was a kind, generous, and thoughtful man, and the best dad I ever could’ve wished for. One thing about him that I’ve come to appreciate over the years was his ability to listen. He was also an exquisite storyteller. Ask anyone who knew Jerry Rowen and they’ll verify that he had a story about everything. 

Listening and telling stories, however, don’t require equipment. But most hobbies do, and my dad was extremely committed to three main hobbies: photography, ham radio, and flying.

After his family, photography was probably his favorite thing in the world. His “baby” was a Hasselblad camera that crops up in almost every memory I have of growing up. My dad was an outgoing person who smiled and laughed a lot, but he was essentially shy, so I think perhaps being the official photographer for family events gave him both something to do and kept him out of the spotlight. But even though he had a terrific camera that took great pictures, one was far from enough. He also had several 35mms, a Super 8 movie camera, and at least twenty other cameras from various periods of his life, all equipped with multiple lenses, filters, tripods, lights, and meters. Oh, and there was a darkroom in the basement, where he developed black & white film.

This is probably a good time to mention that my dad died quite suddenly of a brain aneurysm at age seventy-two, when he was still taking and developing pictures. Perhaps, if we’d made an effort to sell or give away all his equipment back then (2001) we would’ve found some eager takers, but now, in 2015, who still uses film?

Of course, since he spent so much time taking and producing prints–and slides, and movies–there are thousands of images in various formats in the house. It’s been interesting sorting through so many–some of friends and family members I know and love; some of people I never met; some of my parents when they were young; some of my dad in his Army days. I think the Army photos are the ones that make me most emotional, perhaps because one of my nephews recently joined the Army. Or maybe it’s because my own son is due to graduate high school in a few years, and the circle of life becomes clearer to me each day. In any case, seeing my dad looking so young, handsome, and eager to find out what life had in store for him is both amusing and painful.

ham carvings

My grandfather and father’s ham radio call signs, carved by someone

After photography, my dad loved ham radio, as did his father before him. My mom had the good sense to sell the radio he used on a daily basis shortly after his death, but like photography, ham radio is a hobby that requires and encourages a lot of equipment, and I can’t begin to describe how many dusty, unidentifiable gadgets we’ve found, and, in most cases, tossed out. None of us know what these things are, and most of them look like they’ve seen much better days. Not to mention that time is of the essence here, as my mom was recently injured–she’s been able to provide lots of guidance, but the physical part of the move is being handled by my two brothers and me–and the closing date on the house is in September. And nobody in my family has storage space for so much stuff. Still, it’s awfully hard to throw away things that I know meant so much to my dad. Of all the ham radio stuff, I’ve chosen to keep just a few small things, including a couple of carvings of my dad’s and grandfather’s call signs. I’m also working on a novel that features a character who’s a ham radio operator, and writing that has helped keep memories of my dad vivid in my mind.

tie pins

Fighter jet and Cessna tie pins

Finally, my father loved to fly. He could never afford his own airplane, but enjoyed renting Cessnas at the local airport, and taking his friends and kids up for rides. He also loved building model planes, reading about airplanes, and going to air shows to see the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels. Many of my childhood memories revolve around aircraft, but again, we simply can’t hang onto all of Dad’s airplane magazines, photos, models, and books. I did keep two tie clips of his, though, one of a Cessna, and one of a fighter jet.

Throughout this entire cleaning out process, I’ve told myself repeatedly that everything we’re getting rid of is only material, and that memories are in our hearts. But although I know that’s true, my heart’s been a bit more sensitive in recent weeks. I’m also a little concerned about falling to pieces when it comes time to say goodbye to the house. I have such clear memories of the day we moved into it. I was almost five at the time, and recall running up and down the stairs and around on the lawn, screaming that this was our NEW HOME. The good news is that the future owners are a young family, so it’s comforting to know that they’ll build their own memories there.

There’s that circle of life again. <sigh> I do hope the new family has as much fun at that address as we did.

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Catching a Breath

breathThe rain and thunderstorms this morning cooled things off, both literally and figuratively, and the breeze coming through the windows smells just a little like the ocean.

If you follow this blog, you may be aware that my life has been sort of stressful in recent weeks. My mom is selling the house she’s lived in for forty-six years, so we had a yard sale at the end of July to help clear out some stuff. It was a good idea and parts of it were fun, but it’s not easy to see items that symbolize years and years of memories sitting in your old driveway with price tags on them.

Then, the first week of August, our family and extended family took a trip to Bermuda, and while we were there, my mom fell and fractured her hip. Perhaps I’ll write more about that experience someday, but for now, let’s just say it was very sad on many different levels. Thankfully, Mom’s doing better, and should be released from rehab tomorrow, so we’re grateful for that.

Our family also had a rabies scare last week when a bat somehow got into the house and interacted (not by choice) with our cat and possibly our dog too. Again, though, we’re lucky because the bat ended up testing negative for rabies. Hence, our family and animals weren’t exposed to the deadly disease.

But wait, there’s more. Yesterday, the dog had a severe allergic reaction to something. All of a sudden, he seemed unable to stop scratching and biting himself all over. I gave him Benedryl, which helped some, but last night, things flared up again, and his nose actually broke out in hives. It was a rough night for him (and me), but with some more Benedryl, he eventually fell asleep. He woke up this morning looking and feeling much better, and he saw the vet, who instructed me to keep him on a strict Benedryl regime, at least until the end of pollen season.

And if that wasn’t enough, around 10:30 last night—right in the middle of the dog’s allergy attack—one of the burners in the basement blew a valve and started spraying water everywhere. Luckily, my husband was home by then—he’d just gotten back from a work trip in New York—and knew how to shut off the water, but not before the cellar got a bit flooded.

So now it’s Friday afternoon, and the house is amazingly quiet. The dog is calmly sleeping on the floor, and both kids are home at the same time. And here I am, drinking iced coffee, typing on the computer, and breathing slowly. If I shut my eyes, I can convince myself I’m in a beach cottage.

If only it could stay this way for a while! But in less than an hour, everyone will mobilize. The kids both have adventurous weekend plans, which should be fun for them, but will raise my anxiety level again. I wish I were a more laid back parent, but I’m not.

Then, tomorrow morning, I’ll be picking up my mom at rehab, and on Sunday, a whole bunch of family members will be making a concerted effort to get Mom’s house cleaned out for good. And in just a couple of weeks, school will start up. My son’s crew team has already been practicing for over a week, and fall racing season starts in late September.

Has it been a relaxing summer? Not so much. But this little moment—right now with the laptop and the iced coffee—encapsulates my vision of summer when I fantasize about it in the middle of winter. Which is why I’ve taken time to document it. If for no other reason, than to verify that such moments really do exist.

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Going Batty: A Rabies Story

sherlock the batkiller

What me? Torture a bat?

It’s 11:33 on Friday morning, and I’m waiting for the phone to ring. I’d be lying if I said the anxiety’s killing me, but also can’t deny that I really, really hope to hear some positive news.

Here’s the story, or as much of it as I know so far. The night before last, around 2 AM, our dog and cat started racing around the house. This isn’t entirely uncommon, as chasing each other is one of their games, and occasionally, they enjoy playing in the middle of the night. However, even from the quiet side of my bedroom door–and mind you, I was half asleep–the play sounded a little more raucous than normal. Then I heard something that sounded like a screech. Oh god, I thought. Did the dog hurt the cat?

I got up to investigate. The dog was sitting calmly outside my door, and the cat was in the living room, looking a bit smug, but peaceful. It struck me as a little weird that they were so still, when just seconds earlier they’d been tearing around, but hey, they’re animals.

So I went back to bed. But not fifteen minutes later, the wild rumpus started up again. Then, the dog started scratching on our bedroom door, which he does when he needs to go outside, or if he’s frightened by something like a thunderstorm.

Darn! He probably got himself so worked up that he needs to go to the bathroom. And it’s almost 3 AM. That’s what I was thinking as I opened the door, but the dog just stared at me, then turned to the cat in the living room. So I took a closer look at the cat. He still had that smug look on his face. But what was that dark thing next to him on the floor? A wing? Did a bird somehow get into the house? As I got closer, I heard some sad chirping, but that wing! It didn’t have feathers, and it was sort of scalloped, and…yes, it was a bat’s wing, attached to a very injured little bat. As I stared in horror, the cat leaned over and started licking it, torturing the poor creature that was already mortally wounded.

I wish I could tell you I was bold and calm, but I freaked out and immediately woke up my husband. And like the good husband he is, Mike got up, covered his hands in plastic bags, and used an old dishrag to pick up the bat and put it in the back yard. It was alive, but bats carry rabies and other diseases, and neither of us was comfortable keeping it in the house, especially since we have kids–not to mention the cat, who couldn’t understand why we’d be so cruel as to take away his plaything.

First thing in the morning, though, I went outside and checked on the little fellow. It looked awful but was still alive, so I called animal control and they came and took it to be rabies tested. Mercifully, they also euthanized it.

So what does this mean for my family and pets? Well, very little if the bat tests negative for rabies. But if it tests positive, we humans will need prophylactic rabies shots, and the animals (who were up to date on their vaccines and got additional rabies boosters yesterday) will need to be quarantined for 45 days. In other words, they can’t come into contact with unvaccinated humans during that period, or have any contact at all with other animals, even animals who have been vaccinated for rabies. The dog can be walked a couple of times a day, but people and other dogs can’t be allowed to touch him. Apparently, current rabies vaccines are excellent but not perfect, so any animal who’s been directly exposed to rabies presents a threat to the community.

And if this seems a little over the top, consider this: if a human or animal actually contracts rabies, they will die of it; it’s a fatal disease with no cure. So of course, if either my cat or dog were to come down with rabies symptoms during those 45 days, he’d have to be euthanized.

So wow. I learned a lot about rabies in a very short time. And yes, I’m really hoping the animal control person calls soon with good news about the bat.

If it’s bad news, though, we’ll get the shots, do the quarantine, and keep our fingers crossed that everyone else will remain healthy.

But for what it’s worth, here are a couple of tips that might help other people avoid this situation–or a worse one:

  1. Make sure there are no little openings into your home. Our house is over 200 years old, and yet, we’ve never had a bat during the fifteen years we’ve lived here. So why now? After all the drama was over yesterday, I checked our window screens and noticed that a few were loose. And the cat had opened a couple of them an inch or so (he often sits in the window, watching birds) and a bat doesn’t need a very big opening to enter your home.
  2. Be ABSOLUTELY certain that your pets are up to date on rabies vaccinations. The only reason our animals will “get lucky” with a 45-day quarantine (if the bat turns out to be rabies positive) is because their vaccinations are current. Animals without current rabies vaccinations need to be quarantined for six months (in Massachusetts anyway) if they’ve been exposed to a rabid animal.
  3. Be careful about leaving doors into your house open on summer evenings. According to the animal control officer, August is a big month for bats entering homes, and it’s also a big month for rabies. (Again, I’m talking about Massachusetts and the Northeast part of the US). The animal officer explained that as evening temperatures get cooler, bats are drawn to the warmth of peoples’ homes. Earlier in the evening of our bat episode, I was sweeping out my hallway, and left the door to the outside open for about ten minutes. It’s quite possible that the bat flew in right over my head and roosted somewhere for a while before catching the attention of our pets.

OK, well that’s it for now. C’mom, phone, ring!! I’d like to know what’s going on, one way or another. I’ll make sure to add an update to the comments section when we get some news. Until then, please keep your fingers crossed, and do your best to avoid bats and rabies.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Just half an hour after publishing this post, the animal officer called to say the bat was rabies negative. YAY!! I’m feeling very grateful right now. But we’ve all learned some valuable lessons, and I’ve temporarily duct taped the window screens so the cat can’t open them. We’ll be getting new ones soon. Thanks to all of you for reading, and may you always stay rabies-free.  xo, Mary



Posted in animals, cats, dogs, health, life, life events, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Packing for a Trip? Here’s One Good Reason for Travel Insurance

suitcasesIf you’re anything like me, you’re not in the habit of buying travel insurance. When you plan a trip, there are so many expenses anyway. Depending on where you’re going and what you hope to do while away, you’ll most likely be forking over plenty of cash for at least some of these things: accommodations, airfare, meals, vehicle rental, other forms of transportation, activities, special clothing/gear, beauty (you may want to have your hair or nails done, etc.) pet care (if you’re leaving your pet with a sitter), taxes, fees, parking, and shopping. So when you consider that additional expense of insurance, you may very well decide to take your chances. After all, you’re in generally good health, and if something goes wrong, you’ll just pay a little more. Right? Well…not always.

Last week, my family embarked on a cruise from Boston to Bermuda (and back). It was a special vacation for us, as it included a number of relatives and friends, including my mom and mother-in-law. All told, there were eighteen people in our party, which was the largest group I’ve traveled with since college. Everyone was excited about getting away together and spending time with people we don’t see nearly enough. And, since the trip included three days in Bermuda, we decided to do some shore excursions there. All the ones we considered seemed safe for our crowd, and we certainly didn’t anticipate anything bad happening. When my husband and I were offered travel insurance for our family of four, we said no.

But you can already see where this post is going. One of the things we did on the island—with our entire party of eighteen—was go out on a small boat, and on the journey back to the cruise ship, my poor mom fell and ended up fracturing her hip. I won’t go into detail here, but you can imagine that it was a pretty grim situation. And although the fracture wasn’t particularly serious, Mom would clearly need surgery and rehab, and the orthopedic surgeon who treated her in Bermuda recommended that both of those be done in Boston. And, in her condition, she’d need to be transported on a flying ambulance.

I was afraid to even ask the cost of such a thing when Mom mentioned that she’d purchased travel insurance. Now, one thing many people don’t realize—I had no idea—is that travel insurance usually covers the cost of medical evacuation. Long story short, my mom was Lear-jetted back to Boston, where my brothers met her and assisted with her care and surgery. She’s now on her way to rehab, and shouldn’t have to pay a cent of the $25,000 flight fee.

So that’s my friendly advice for today. Will we go back to Bermuda with Mom soon? We all hope so. But not without travel insurance. Never again.

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Yard Sale Part 1: Selling Off the Memories

yard saleJust a short post today, as I get ready to help my mom prepare for her giant yard sale tomorrow. Thankfully, Mom is in good health and is downsizing from the three-bedroom home where my brothers and I grew up to a really lovely, much more modern condo. She’s not moving very far either, so she won’t have to say goodbye to any dear local friends. In fact, the condo is only about a mile from the old neighborhood, so even the neighbors she’s come to love and trust won’t be far from her. Oh, and many, many of her friends also live in the complex she’s moving into.

So this is—as much as any major move can be—a happy change in her life. A positive thing. And yet, there’s a sadness—often unspoken—about the whole thing too. The house she’s selling is the first and only one she ever bought with my dad, who died fourteen years ago. And although most of Dad’s clothing and personal items have been donated or given to people who wanted them, his gentle presence still inhabits the home, and whenever I go there, I sense it strongly, as well as his absence.

Today, then, my kids and I are headed up there to start going through the things she won’t be able to bring to the condo. Things that fall into the category of “not good or important enough to keep but not trash either.” We’ll put price tags on the dishes and drinking glasses we used as kids, old Halloween costumes, and the curtains and furniture that gave that home its character for so many years. My daughter asked if it’ll make me cry to do that, and I told her that I hope not. They’re all just things, after all, things that will most likely get used by other families much like ours. Memories are in your heart, I tell my kids, and my mom. And I firmly believe that. Possessions are nothing, in the scheme of things.

I’ve had yard sales before too. Several years ago–when we were certain we wouldn’t have any more babies–my husband and I hauled all but the most precious baby stuff out on the front lawn and spent a lovely day watching people younger than us find treasures in the items that we no longer had use for. We thought it might be hard seeing our old Pack ‘n’ Play get taken away by strangers, or our kids’ favorite ride-around toys and mobiles go off with other people, but in the end, it didn’t really bother us. Actually, it made us happy to see other people so happy to get what they wanted at bargain prices.

So I hope this sale will have the same vibe. The weather tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful, so that will help. But will I shed a tear or two when I see new people buying my dad’s old tools? Or his lawn mower? Will I cry when people walk off with boxes of my brother’s record albums, or the board games I used to play on the porch with friends on rainy days?

I honestly don’t know. If you care, stay tuned for next week’s post…

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Dog and Cat are (slowly becoming) Friends

Spencer and Sherlock making friends

I thought the couch was canine territory…

Last month, I posted about losing our sweet cat, Jack, to cancer, just weeks after we’d adopted a new kitty named Sherlock to be his pal. Suffice to say, it was a sad and confusing time for all members of our family, both human and animal.

But today’s post is a happier one. Because the good news is that Sherlock and our dog, Spencer, are bonding in ways we never thought possible. You see, despite the fact that Spencer has lived with cats since he moved into our home two years ago and has always been respectful of their space, he never interacted much with them. Certain areas of the house were feline and certain ones were canine.

But Sherlock didn’t care for that arrangement. From the moment we introduced him to Spencer, he seemed to want the freedom to roam anywhere he liked, and he was constantly trying to play with (or at least antagonize) the poor dog. Honestly, it was hard to tell what was going on in his cat brain. He’d sit on a table or countertop, and when Spencer walked over to give him a sniff, Sherlock would strike out quite viciously with his claws. Then Spencer—who’s a formidable hunter outdoors—would run away. For a while, we were afraid Spencer would turn on Sherlock, so we humans kept a close eye on the two of them, and made sure to separate them whenever we left the house. But as the days passed, it became increasingly evident that the dog didn’t want to hurt the cat.

Current dog psychology informs us that dogs are pack animals, and apparently, Spencer has begun to view Sherlock as a member of the pack. Yes, he’ll chase the little fellow, but whenever Sherlock jumps onto the kitchen table, Spencer “gives up.” He’ll walk away “defeated,” but in fact, he and I both know that he can hop up on that table in a heartbeat if he wants to. I’ve caught him up there plenty of times, searching for crumbs or whatever tidbits we humans have left behind.


A mid-morning nap

Also encouraging is the way the animals have recently begun greeting each other with nose touches. And they’ve started sleeping together on the couch like a couple of people who’ve been married for a while (sharing a bed, but facing opposite directions).

Perhaps even more importantly, they’ve started causing trouble together. One day last week, when all the humans were out of the house, Sherlock climbed up into our pantry and knocked a large bag of dog treats onto the floor. Unfortunately, the bag hadn’t been sealed tightly, and when we arrived home, we found poor Spencer looking quite ill with the last of the treats dangling from his mouth. Then, as we tried to recall how full the bag had been and wondered if we should call the vet, he vomited—all over the living room rug of course—and was fine. (The rug’s OK too, thanks to a lot of scrubbing and a generous dousing with Nature’s Miracle.)

It was a good lesson for us (make sure to seal those bags carefully, and keep the pantry door closed!) but we also couldn’t help laughing a bit about how the cat had helped the dog with his ongoing quest for treats.

cat and dog back hallway

Finishing off the kibble in the back hallway

Then, just this morning, I heard some noise out in our back hallway—where we keep random stuff—and was surprised to discover that the cat had clawed a hole in a bag of dog food, and both animals were enjoying the kibble that had fallen to the floor. They weren’t squabbling over the food either. They were just snacking peacefully together; one piece of kibble for you, one for me. Again, I cleaned up the mess with some annoyance, but more amusement. I guess it’s time to find a new storage spot for the dog food.

But I’m proud of these crazy creatures. Here they are—a rescue dog who spent his formative months wandering the woods of South Carolina, and a cat who was recently surrendered to an animal hospital because his owner couldn’t care for him—learning to trust each other and even share food. It may sound corny, but it gives me faith in humanity. After all, if two animals with diverse and difficult histories can manage to coexist in peace, surely people can do so as well.

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Grateful for our New Faucet…and Water

faucetTrust me, I realize that the particulars of my kitchen sink are about as insignificant to most people as, well, the particulars of anyone’s kitchen sink. Hell, my kitchen sink doesn’t occupy much space in my mind either. When I stop to consider all the things in this world I’m grateful for, plumbing fixtures don’t usually come to mind…until recently.

Our faucet issues actually began during the spring, at the height of racing season. Our son just completed his first year of rowing for his school’s crew team, and let me just say that although crew has been amazing and transformative for him in so many ways, the team races during the fall and the spring, and also practices over the summer and winter. So the sport is extremely time consuming.

The busiest time of all, though, is spring racing season. Most regattas last two days (Saturday and Sunday) and often involve traveling to and arriving at a designated riverbank right around sunrise. Now, the kids have lots of jobs during regattas: they unload the boats from the trailer, and rig them for racing. Then they row (of course!) then de-rig and reload the boats at the end of the day. They also need to rest and eat well, so as to maximize on their performance. Meanwhile the parents set up and maintain a food tent that serves hot and cold food throughout the regatta. This involves cooking, cleaning, hauling stuff, running to the local grocery store when necessary, and making sure the kids stay hydrated. And regattas often go until dusk. Meaning that by the time Monday rolls around, everyone’s often exhausted.

But I digress. My point is that our kitchen faucet started acting flukey during spring racing season, so nobody felt the need or energy to deal with it. It was an old faucet, controlled by a lever that rotated on a ball joint; you moved the lever up to turn the water on, down to shut it off, to the left for hot water, and to the right for cold. But at some point in April or May, we started to notice that the control was getting wacky. At first, the only weird part was that the water wouldn’t shut off when the lever was placed in the downward position. Instead, you had to move it around in various different directions until the flow stopped. But that was OK. It was just a little more challenging. No big deal. Guests found it puzzling, but some member of our family was always available to help shut it off.

Racing season ended, and we found ourselves immersed in a string of graduations, birthdays, final exams, end-of-year parties, vacation plans, summer camp plans, and a whole bunch of other things. Calling a plumber wasn’t tops on our minds. Sure, we’d begun to notice that the “hot” and “cold” controls on the faucet were getting messed up too, but again, we weren’t really concerned. Sometimes moving the lever to the left would result in hot water coming out, while other times, it would be cold. So we’d move it to the right for hot. Or down a bit. Or up.

“Mom, are we ever getting this faucet fixed?” asked my daughter one day in June as she attempted to fill a water bottle with cold water.

“Yes!” I told her. “When we have time.”

Ironically, though, as the days passed, we all spent more and more time dealing with the faucet. Cooking became more challenging, as was washing and rinsing dishes. Tending to the animals in the morning took longer than normal, as no dog or cat wants to drink warm water. (“Hang on a minute, guys. I’ll fill your bowl as soon as this faucet decides to spit out some cold!”) Not to mention that we were wasting more and more water each day.

But as June melted into July, my husband’s work got busier and busier, and with the kids out of school, suddenly my schedule was completely different. I was trying to find writing time—yes, someday I’ll finish making revisions on my new novel—while also trying to get a handle on summer.

Then, last Sunday, after being out all day, the family got home and my daughter went to the sink to wash her hands. But what came out wasn’t just hot or cold water—it was spray. Whatever had been “going” in the faucet over the past few months had completely “gone,” and there was no control at all. A trickle still flowed from the faucet, but the majority of the water was spraying wildly from the base of the faucet, soaking the floor, countertops, and, everyone in the room.

So on Monday morning, I finally called our wonderful plumber, Charlie. And within two hours, we had a brand new, extremely efficient faucet in place of the old one. The following day, I woke up a little late and rushed to the kitchen to feed the animals and get breakfast started for the kids, one of whom needed to leave for camp in less than an hour. And it was amazing. There was no wrestling with the faucet, no question of what temperature of water might emerge from it. Gone also was the challenge of wondering how long it’d take to turn the thing off. Having it work so perfectly made me feel terribly guilty about all the water we’d wasted over the past few months.

Is there a lesson in this? Well, I guess if your faucet isn’t working properly, it makes sense to get it fixed sooner rather than later, as it’s probably not going to fix itself. But this little kitchen experience also helped me remember how lucky I am to live in a home with running water, and where help for most problems is just a phone call away. It’s made me think of people in parts of the world where water needs to be hauled, and where clean water simply isn’t available. And as we reminded our kids during our little water crisis: just be thankful that there are other faucets in the house. And a toilet. Because millions of people on this earth don’t have toilets either.

Finally, I discovered that March 22 is World Water Day, an annual event organized by the UN to raise awareness of the water crisis facing our planet. If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to check out their website here.

This is the first in a series of blog posts about being grateful for the little–and big– things in life. Guest bloggers are welcome: if you’re interested, please contact me at mary@pocomotech.com

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