We are now learning that the mold removal companies are part of a racket – we could have figured this out – it is just like healthcare; as long as insurance companies pay, and not the home owner, who cares about the cost. The insurance adjuster will come and determine whether the sky is the limit or whether we are staying closer to the, moldy, ground.

Summer has returned, and with it the monarch butterflies that are fattening themselves up for their long trip to Brazil – it is hard to imagine these tiny fragile creatures being able to travel that far. They are attracted by the butterfly bush (buddleia) which Tessa planted during our absence. It’s beautiful and the butterflies think so too.

I took advantage of the warm weather to give all the plants that have summered outside a good wash, get rid of dead leaves, remove the bugs, clean the pots and, if needed, cut back the root balls so there is room for water and soil in the pot again. The next challenge is shoe-horning them all into our house near windows. Now, with the gigantic couch in our living room there is little space for large plants. A few plants died since we left for Kabul – this may have been a good thing. Where are we going to put all these plants?

In the evening Tessa joined us and we drove to Portsmouth to celebrate David’s 60th and see his kids, our kids’ friends. David is from the same year I was born in 1951 – a good year. David used to be Axel’s night nurse during the first week after his release from the hospital – on Thursday. We’d sit and talk until it was bedtime and then we had bagels and lox in the morning – a nice ritual. David always came with his little dog She-ra, an animated little creature that terrorized the local chipmunk population. I learned this evening that She-ra is no longer of this world.

In the meantime the chipmunks and squirrels have also recovered from Tessa and Steve’s two dogs and are reclaiming the yard, hiding nuts everywhere, in the ground, in the potted plants and between the sill of the house and its insulation.

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October 2011
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