CPAP machine? Yep. Prescriptions? Yep. Sunglasses? Yep. Phone chargers? Yep. Rubber boots? Yep. Winter coat? Yep. Got everything? Yep. Glenn turned off as many breakers as possible in the electrical panel to save 10 cents worth of hydro. He did not turn off breakers for the TV/PVR, the fridge and the air conditioner and believed everything was hunky dory. And with that, we jumped in our loaded down RAV4 and struck out for our house in West Head (Lockeport), Nova Scotia for a couple of months.Fast forward to July 15th. Our son Jeremy and his family stopped by our Bobcaygeon home to drop off our grandkitty, Tino, and to spend the night. They planned to leave for West Head the following morning. Jeremy turned on the necessary electrical breakers on and one he should not have because it connected the security alarm. A siren began wailing and amber security lights outside the house were flashing to alert anyone passing by to call 911.

And where was I while this chaos was unfolding? I was sleeping soundly in West Head.  At 11:45 pm,  I awoke to the sound of the downstairs phone ringing. Oh, let it ring. It rang again and I ignored it. Thinking it may have been one of my children, I called them from my cellphone. Yes, it was Jeremy, but what was the background cacophony?

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“Mom, what’s the code for the alarm system?”
“I have no idea. We have never used it. In fact, we keep the breaker switch OFF. You must have flipped the breaker by accident.”

Then, I did what every mother would do — I turned the situation over to Glenn. Thank goodness for dads. Glenn didn’t know the code either, but he knew which breaker it used. With Glenn’s coaching, all went silent. No more sirens, no more flashing lights.

But the adventure had only just begun. Jeremy, Dana and Greta were unaware of another surprise lying in wait.  Relieved their crisis had ended, they ventured into the house.

Eeeeeeew! A disgusting odour met their nostrils? Could it be a dead mouse? The stench intensified by the second. Eyes watering and gagging, they had to get to the bottom of it. Detective Dana opened the refrigerator and what to her watering eyes did appear? Definitely NOT, a miniature sleigh, eight tiny reindeer, and a man in a red suit.Dana discovered a fridge overflowing with rotten, mouldy food in various degrees of decomposition. And the freezer drawer at the bottom? Even worse. The meat had thawed weeks ago and had turned to mush. Gobs of mould were growing on everything. Rotten meat of any kind has a sickening smell unlike any other. They closed the fridge, opened all the windows and went to bed.

The following day, our daughter, Allison, came over to deal with the fridge and freezer. She filled bag after bag with the disgusting contents, washed the interior with a cleaning solution and propped the doors open. A million thank yous, Allison and helpers Isaac and Maddie.Would we ever be able to use the fridge again? The revolting smell had saturated the plastic interior. I consulted my good friend, Dr. Google, about the matter and found a host of suggestions. Kitty litter, baking soda, coffee grounds, bowls of vinegar, activated charcoal, to name a few. Glenn washed it out again and spread baking soda on a cookie sheet. It has been over a week and the odor is barely detectable. What will happen when we remove the soda? I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

And then there is the story of my neglected flowerbeds sporting weeds taller than I am. I admit I did not prepare my flower beds as I should have last fall. The irises, hostas, coneflowers, sedum, phlox and day lilies should have been divided into quarters or eighths. The dead globe cedars (mosquito factories) should have been removed completely. I would wait until spring. One small problem —  our spring was too wet to garden before leaving for Nova Scotia. I asked around for names of people who would rehabilitate my needy plants. I found someone who came highly recommended. I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing my gardens were in good hands.

You can imagine my dismay when I came home to a an overgrown jungle of plants. Nothing had been touched. My heart sank; my beautiful home looked as if it had been abandoned.

The following morning, Glenn and I tackled the weeds, divided the perennials, and rearranged the plants. Next, we will order a truck full of mulch. The flower beds are quite attractive, if I do say so myself — much like the couple who lives in the house.Stinky fridges and jungle-like flower beds are not enough to keep us from making the familiar pilgrimage to West Head in late October. Will we do anything differently? Yessiree. We will empty the fridge and freezer, unplug it, and prop the doors open. Glenn will do something to the Alarm Breaker so no one can switch it on. I will prepare my flowers for winter. We will have someone walk through the house regularly.

Yes, I realize it is like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

Ummmmmm. Perhaps we should shingle the roof before leaving next time. Just sayin’.

  • PS: No maggots. Just used the word to make you say, “Eeeeeeeewwwwwww!”