We just got back from a wonderful vacation.  Make that “fantastic.”  Or “best yet!”  Whichever of the many ways I could describe it, the point is that we loved it.  Who wouldn’t?  Perfect low 70s weather with sunshine almost every day.  Views of green and turquoise water so expressly beautiful that no camera could capture it.  Formed eons ago from the Appalachian Mountains that once were there instead of the Gulf Coast, the white sand on the beaches is so fine that it squeaks under our feet as if we were walking on cornstarch.  We delighted in watching pelicans at the harbor and in flight, laughed at the seagulls, took tons of pictures of beautiful herons, and were thrilled beyond belief to see dolphins (porpoises, really) swimming and jumping in the water.  All in all, it was perfect, especially since it was the first time that Dave and I had gotten away together for more than a couple of days without any family or friends around.

Now we’re home.  Ah, there’s no place like home, right?  And our beloved Iowa welcomed us home with moderate temperatures, only a bit of snow, and the promise of warmer weather soon.  Ralphie the dog greeted us in such a frantic way of multiple loving expressions to show he missed us that we both felt guilty.  My garden seemed to offer up a welcome with proof that Spring is just around the corner, evidenced by the many tips of tulip leaves peeping from the ground.

And our biggest welcome? A call from the water company warning us that our upcoming bill is three times the normal size because of the usage of 150,000 gallons of water.   ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND GALLONS! I figure that’s roughly enough to fill the Gulf Coast we just left.

WHA’ HAPPENED???  My brother had suggested that we turn off our water for the whole house.  We dutifully found where that was, but because we’re old enough to NOT comprehend certain plumbing issues, and we had waited until the 4 a.m. departure time to attempt this, we left the water on, prayed nothing would freeze, double-checked that every sink and toilet was not running, and promptly put our Iowa home out of our minds as we left.

Fortunately after a few days, my brother stopped by to water my plants.  He heard toilet water running, checked, and realized it had been draining for some time.  He then turned it off at the base of the stool – a very simple effort which we could have done, if we had thought about it, but naturally didn’t.  Sometimes, no matter how old and “wise” one is, there are always lessons to be learned.  And boy, did we learn the hard way.

Therefore, since spring break is almost officially here and hundreds of people will be leaving their homes to head on their vacation, I’m passing this warning on: TURN OFF YOUR WATER!  Failure to heed hard-learned advice can result in Karma getting you.

Hopefully when you get home, you won’t be hearing what we heard.  You see, it’s true: Money talks.  Especially as it says “Buh-bye!  Hope you REALLY enjoyed that vacation.”

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