For the first time in nearly four and a half years of marriage, Kate was glad to arrive back in Virginia after a long vacation. Not that Virginia was so wonderful...but traveling with a baby was much less restful than traveling without a baby. And the added benefits of bulky bouncers and various other baby accouterments were enough for her to feel some relief as they opened the door. Aunt had picked them up from the airport, as usual, and had once again surprised Kate with a ready-made meal for their dinner.
"You always do this!" Kate exclaimed when Aunt brought in a bag of food for them. "And it still always surprises me." She unpacked a delicious looking casserole, salad, some eggs and orange juice.
"That should keep you going until you can get to the store. I know that when you're gone a month, you don't come back to much."
"Mmmm! You're beautiful." Kate said, giving her another hug.
Kate felt tired and hungry and dirty and cold. And she knew beforehand that she would. But she also knew that this time, instead of arriving home at bedtime, they still had a few hours in the evening that they could use to get situated and cleaned up from their long overnight journey. She had purposely forgone a much-needed shower and opted to take a bath when they got to their place to warm up and get clean before going to bed.
Kate was also amazed to see that Teddy seemed even happier to be home than she was! Was it possible that he actually recognized his surroundings this early? It certainly seemed to be the case. She had laid him in his beloved bouncer and he was happily gurgling and smiling. Kate chuckled. At least one of us slept on those long flights! she thought.
While Kate was unpacking things in the kitchen, Mister had gone downstairs to check on things; and when Kate heard a sorrowful, "Oh no!" her heart sank and her eyes grew wide.
"What is it?" she called out, hoping it was just a large, disgusting insect.
Mister appeared back in the kitchen looking sober and discouraged. "There's water in the basement."
Water in the basement....Kate's pregnant brain must not have been working right. Is it some kind of code? Is water really so upsetting? Kate said the only reasonable thing.
"Not a lot, but it's leaking down from above, and there's a little standing water by the back wall."
All three ran downstairs. As she looked around, Kate felt defeated. They were home! And there was food... and time to enjoy it before bed. She sighed as she grabbed a mop and a bucket and let the beautiful vision of a relaxed first evening home vanish from her mind.
After Aunt left, Kate brought Teddy downstairs in his bouncer to watch the mopping and cleaning. Kate did feel a certain measure of thankfulness that they had turned the water off before they left and drained out a lot (though obviously not all) of the water. Otherwise, this disaster would be...more disastrous. She and Mister were eating between shifts of cleaning and phone calls. They were both tired beyond reasoning, so they decided to just clean up, set up fans, and let the room dry out. They'd worry about testing the water and trying to find the leak in the morning.
They crawled into bed early that evening, feeling wounded. Kate cuddled up to Mister and said, "You know, even without a bath. And no water. And a mess in the basement... It's still awfully nice to be home with you."