There's always a sense of relief to turn the corner into our neighborhood and discover that our house has not burned to the ground during vacation. Expect the worst; hope for the best. One time I was driving home from work in Iowa City to our house out in the country in Sharon Center. I could see a huge fire about five miles from home and I was certain our house was burning. As I got closer I was relieved to see it was only a brush fire. Since that night, though, I fully expect to find a house burned to ashes every time I come home from a trip. We left the house in a hurry to get to Iowa Christmas morning and there was and is wrapping paper everywhere. I was sure that that, in combination with the dried-to-the-bone Christmas tree, would combine to produce a massive fire while I was gone. But it didn't and I'm very glad.
Speaking of fires, local reader, please feel free to drop your Christmas tree off at my house and we will have the mother of all bonfires this summer.