My grandmother has lived in a nursing home for six years. Ever since she moved, I have been responsible for her house. We mow the lawn, prune the hedges, remove the snow, clean the gutters and everything else that it needs. The house is located half an hour away from us, so sometimes this is a major headache, especially if the weather has been terrible. My husband is diligent about checking on the place, even when that means going there when the roads are bad. Friday night we had yet another inch and a half of rain in a matter of hours. So, he thought he'd better go check on the other house. I got a phone call from him right away, "You'd better come. We've got problems. Bring the shop vac. and every towel in the house." My heart sank. I loaded up the car and headed out. It took me forty minutes to get there this time through driving, blinding rain. There had been a leak in the upstairs bathroom which had taken out the entire living room ceiling beneath it. All the sodden plaster had fallen to the floor. The 150 year old birch floors we had painstakingly refinished a year ago were already buckling. My heart sank deeper. Toilet water was dripping and running from the ceiling and there was an inch of water across the floor. Mouse turds from decades ago floated merrily in the stream. It was a back breaking, disheartening evening of shoveling up mushy plaster and swabbing the curling floorboards. Even though it was pouring rain, we opened the windows because it was damper inside the house than out. I could almost smell the mold growing on the walls. Every book, the furniture (much of it dripping), the TV, everything had to be removed. Thoughts of Katrina went through my head. When we were as finished as we could be, I asked David, "Hey, since it's date night, how do you feel about Chinese take-out?" We really know how to have a great time. It keeps our marriage young.
Just before the phone rang, I had seen this young, Bald eagle land in a tree outside our living room. It was being harassed by Seagulls. I wasn't technically still in my bathrobe, but this was nonetheless, about as easy as it can get for a birding photographer. In case you think it's too easy for me, keep in mind that unbeknown to me, elsewhere, the sky was falling.