There’s An Advisory in Effect

My humility is constantly being tested. You know what I mean? Sometimes I feel as if I’m St. Lawrence languishing on the barbeque, who is rumored to have said, “stick a fork in me I’m done.” 

I’m sure Larry is humored by my abduction of his metaphor, but a person can only take so much, after a week of stoking the fires under a marital conflict, I’m ready for a little rain.

As luck would have it there’s a wickedly delicious storm brewing up at the lake, all I can say is I’m ever so grateful for the water, for the needed hydration, for the dousing of willful flames ravaging both our land and our relationships.

The thing is water, weather, and women are tenacious entities, not to be reckoned with, but observed with reverence, some say with caution.

Now there’s a little something I want you all to keep in mind as you enter into this lively saga. 

I’m going to let the truth slip out for a wee bit of play, she’s the one everyone’s avoiding on the playground, poor thing is sitting on the end of a teetertotter hoping someone will join her. I see humor lurking around but he doesn’t weigh much, justice would be a much better leveler.

Life is full of surprises. Right? In my opinion, the unexpected can be challenging, occasionally savory, but the immeasurable worth of our sordid lives is truly the hidden gem in this earthly experience. And that’s the thing, we forget.

LAST WEEK, I repeat, “last week,” we paid the equivalent of a four-year college degree to have a new roof put on the lakehouse. You might think the timing was fortuitous and you would be dead wrong. It’s guaranteed for life, well at the very least for our lifetime, and possibly a good portion of our children’s. Do you see where this is going? Yeah, neither did I.

It’s the new funky type of roof, not that I know anything about roofing, but from my limited understanding, they applied a layer of foam to the existing roof (tar and gravel), followed by a plastic-like shield that is supposed to protect the foam. That is about as technical as I am able to be, as stated before, I am not a roofer. The lake house has a Mediterranean-style look to it, with the atypical flat roof, and red tiles framing the entire house.

Who in the hell decided to put a flat roof on a house in a region where it rains excessively? Idiot might not be the right word? Halfwit works, ignoramus, plonker, clodpole, but my favorite is chowderhead in honor of the fall. But let’s not resort to namecalling. It’s crass. 

For good reason, I was not going to come up to the lake this weekend, Larry made me mad (I’d tell you why but then you’d be spitting mad too ~ probably at me). So I started walking around with a fork so I could hold it up when he came by (if you hold it real close to your eye and squint it frames your view) and pretend he’s in jail. Bahaha. Give it try next time someone annoys you. You might stick one in your pocket when you go to the DMV. 

Anyhoo…after some intense graveling, I begrudgingly agreed to go, but I’m still spitting mad, and yes I brought my fork. 

Of course, we’re in a hurry, when are we not? We have to pick up the boat by 3:00 pm at the repair shop in Kelseyville, which is 3 hours away (it’s now 12:15 pm because the graveling took some time), and drop it at the lake house. Then we have to drive all the way back around the lake by 5:00 pm for a dinner party! Did I mention I haven’t showered for some time (try not to judge), I’ve been under duress, had no plans to socialize, and I’ll admit I’ve soured as if expired milk. 

We come skidding into the boat shop at 3:32 pm with a hitch that’s too high for the trailer and car to hook up (isn’t that always the case). When it rains, it pours. So Larry and the owner of the repair shop spend a quarter of an hour elevating the boat with various pieces of wood and jacks until the hitch finally slips into the thingamabob, while I file my nails, and calculate the declining window of time for my shower.

We head to Lucerne, but when you’re towing a boat you have to reduce your speed, and I feel as if we’re moving at a snail’s pace, and it doesn’t help the roads are now slippery as snot. 

After backing the boat into the parking area at the lake house, me standing in the rain guiding the entire operation, I yell, “I have to get in the shower!”

Larry, barely able to keep the smirk off his face says, “you’re standing in one.”

“Not funny, keep your day job.”

He sets the parking brake so he can unlock the front door for his perturbed wife and then go back to unhitch the boat as we’ll need the car to get to our dinner party. 

It’s as if I’m a sherpa trailing behind Larry, burdened with a stack of clothes, three pairs of shoes, my computer bag, and toilet paper (I have my priorities). He’s hauling a set of keys. 

That’s when we notice the front door is open! It stops us in our tracks. What the hell? We look at each other as our collective brains try to assess the situation. 

Larry says, “that’s not good.”

I say, “do you think we’ve been robbed?” All the while I’m thinking, damn, this is digging into my shower time.

“I don’t know, maybe Dante didn’t lock the door when he left? And the wind blew it open? Seems strange.”

“And I used to worry about snakes.”

He says, “run in and get started on your shower, I have to unhook the boat.”

“Are you out of your mind? I’m not going in there alone! What if Michael Myers is hiding in the closet and stabs me with a knife while you’re out here hiding behind the car. No, thank you.”

“Are you kidding?”

“Do I look like I’m kidding?”

He exhales loudly, as if he’s dealing with a juvenile delinquent recently paroled, and enters the house with a little hesitancy I might add. I follow with my fork. While he’s checking the rooms, I head out back to turn on the water, dumping my burdens in the living room while I wait for Larry to finish his thorough inspection. 

He yells from down the hall, “all clear, hurry up and get ready, we’re already late.”

“I have lots of surfaces to clean don’t rush me.”

“God forbid.”

I race into my room, turn on the shower, but when I test the temperature with my hand I realize the hot water heater has been off for weeks. Damn. I stick my head in the cool stream, wash my face and hair, then with unparalleled bravery, I step into the cold torrent, wetting my entire body in like 3 seconds, step out, soap down, rinse and get the hell out. It was grueling, to say the least, but I persevere.

I dry, dress, and groom in like 19 and a half minutes. Thank God I don’t wear make-up. 

We get back in the car and head to Kelseyville at warp speed. I’m just grateful I remembered to put on shoes and lipgloss.

We’re a half-hour late but at least we made it before dinner. Our friends are enjoying a cocktail around a generous island in the Lucido’s gourmet kitchen, the game is playing on the telly, and we are greeted with warmth and enthusiasm from Cheryl (I love her name), Dave, Amy, and Jim. I really needn’t bother to shower, no one in this crew cares if my hair is an oily mess, they just enjoy being together, breaking bread, sipping good wine. 

As Rachel Peric says being welcoming is an act of gratitude and courage. Every time Cheryl opens the door to her home or their winery, you quickly realize it’s an act of love, not performance or competition. Every time people gather around her table her goal seems to be about nourishment (of all kinds), although Amy cooked tonight it was not about proving, or impressing. It was a simple and delicious meal. That’s what I call hospitality.

On our way home the rain picks up, very sweetly at first, but you can’t help but notice the sky is packed with these voluptuous clouds that gradually grow heavier until it rains so hard it’s as if God were trying to fill the entire world. Steadily, rhythmically, evenly it falls over our troubled and shallow lake. 

“And the heavy, magical, relentless beat worms its way into every crevice of this old house,” as Halldór Laxness says, “embraced everything, both near and far, in its compass, like an unromantic story from life itself that has no rhythm and no crescendo, no climax, but which is nevertheless overwhelming in its scope, terrifying in its significance. And at the bottom of this unfathomed ocean of teeming rain sat the little house and its one neurotic woman.” Oh, that is perfect.

Exhausted we fall into bed with what sounds like white noise everywhere and I can’t say why but it’s comforting.

At some point in the middle of the night, the storm is in such a rage it awakens me, and I’m compelled to get up and check things out. As I walk through the dark house, with pounding rain, and howling wind, I can’t help but wonder if the guy who left the front door open is lingering somewhere? I mean it is October.

I stare out the huge picture window in the living room but all I see is darkness, and ominous shadows staring back at me, I get the shivers and go running back to my warm bed before the boogyman catches up to me. 

When it’s still dark I hear Larry fusing around in the closet and I’m trying to figure out what the hell he is doing getting up in the middle of the night? He calls Shaggy who’s sleeping on the floor by my side of the bed and they head out quietly closing the door behind them. I glance at the clock and realize it is after 6:00 but it’s so dark it seems as if it is still night. I snuggle back under my covers hoping I fall back asleep.

The next thing I know Larry comes back in the room and fuses around in his closet again, when he comes out he has his grungy work clothes on, as I struggle to remember what day it is? 

As I recall it’s still the weekend (every day’s a weekend when you’re retired), this is when I hear footprints on the roof? What the hell?

I crawl out of bed and spy my husband through the upper windows walking around the roof in the middle of a downpour. Seems a little strange?

When he comes back in the house he’s drenched and starts stripping down in the front room! It’s a little disturbing to have a naked man describing his morning perils before coffee. I try and stay focused on the issue. 

He says, “I’m sitting here reading the paper when I feel a drip on my hand. And I’m thinking what’s going on? When I look up I see the water streaming down this interior window.”

I look to where he’s pointing and indeed there is water rippling down the window as if a horizontal stream. “Where’s that coming from?”

“I went up to check out the new roof and it all looks good. I think the wind is blowing the rain into the upper windows and the seams are leaking.”

He walks me into the lanai where he has pushed all the furniture away from the center of the room because water is dripping from one of the light fixtures and a puddle is forming on the tiled floor. 

After a minute of gawking at all the water now trickling into the house I say, “I need coffee, you need clothes, and by the way, the dog is limping.” 

He looks down as if he’s just realizing he’s naked and as he’s walking down the hall to find some dry clothes he says, “I think Shaggy may have hurt his front paw jumping out of the car?”

I grab a cup of coffee, give Shaggy a little love, feel around his front legs for a throne or other injury, but the pursual doesn’t seem to bother him. I turn my attention to the rain and as if inspector Clouseau I start scanning the house for more leaks.

After brushing my teeth I hear something continue to drip after I turn off the water. This is when I realize the vent on the wall between the bed and bathroom is leaking and the rug is soaking wet. Why didn’t we notice this before?

I report to Larry, “there’s a leak in our room too.”

As we’re placing large plastic buckets all over the house, and concocting plans to stanch the leaks, we decide we need to pay a visit to the local hardware store for tape, sealant, and plastic. 

The better part of the day was spent with Larry on the roof taping up plastic screens to keep the water off the main windows, spraying sealant in the cracks, while I replaced the wet towels with dry ones and adjusted the various buckets to catch the worst of the drips.

So glad we just spent a fortune on a new roof, as they say, timing is everything.

The rain pelted the lake as if the sky was actually falling. It’s extraordinary. I’ve never seen it rain like this anywhere, anytime, or for this long. I think we got over ten inches of rain in one twenty-four-hour period. No wonder the poor house is waterlogged.

By the end of the day we were exhausted, we pop a bottle of wine, bake up some salmon for dinner, and hunker down for a movie. The presto log is still burning, the rain is still coming down, but my anger is beginning to dissipate. See, I can be generous, amiable, okay, civil on occasion.  

I woke to the sound of the rain during the night but in the morning the sun was out, everything looks hydrated and fresh, and I squeal over a flock of pelicans gathering in front of our house.

We need rain to saturate the parchedness of the land, as much as we need friction in our relationships to ignite emotion, after which, your love is refreshed in a way, our immeasurable worth restored…at least tentatively.

Larry says, “I think we need to leave this afternoon.”

“Why? I thought we were staying until Tuesday?”

“I have things to do,” I discern an annoying sharpness to his tone.

“I have writing to do,” I proclaim with as much indignation as possible.

He ignores my comment, and says, “You’ll need to drive my car so I can drive the mustang home. Leave around 2:00?”

“There’s a lot to do before we can get out of here.”

“I’m working.”

Okay, it’s now 3:40 pm, the cushions are stored, I’ve cleaned three bathrooms, straightened the entire house, scoured the kitchen, packed up all the food, watered the houseplants, helped Larry back the boat in the garage, loaded the car, and I’m still waiting for Mr. 2:00 pm’s departure. 

I say, “when are we leaving?” Admittedly annoyed.

“I don’t know, I’m busy, why don’t you just relax.” No, no, no.

“Did you just tell me to relax?” Feathers ruffled.

Time to get the fork! 

I’m Living in the Gap, watching the storm run out of rain, how are you doing?

Anecdotes:

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

― Vivian Greene

“Love like rain, can nourish from above, drenching couples with a soaking joy. But sometimes under the angry heat of life, love dries on the surface and must nourish from below, tending to its roots keeping itself alive.”

― Paulo Coelho

“The magic of purpose and of love in its purest form. Not television love, with its glare and hollow and sequined glint; not sex and allure, all high shoes and high drama, everything both too small and in too much excess, but just love. Love like rain, like the smell of a tangerine, like a surprise found in your pocket.”

― Deb Caletti

“The only noise now was the rain, pattering softly with the magnificent indifference of nature for the tangled passions of humans.”

― Sherwood Smith

33 Comments

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  1. Lovely post! As always. You write so beautifully. ❤ It is inspiring how you managed to get all that cleaning done despite the uncomfortable circumstances. I would have just sulked. Also, I am going to borrow your fork trick to put into jails all the people I get mad at! Got to bring one to work at least.😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Aaysid! You are so generous and kind! I’ll admit I did sulk while I tidied up the place because I was not pleased with the new travel arrangements! Regardless, it’s always nice to be home! And yes, the fork is a perfect workplace accessory and no one will know what you’re doing! Bahaha! Warmly, C

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree. Your writing is so beautiful. I felt like I was by your side with the leaks. That’s something we’d experience in Palm Springs. The hot weather fried the roof and then when we got a huge rainfall with flash flooding, the vents leaked, the roof leaked and water seeped through the windows.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awe thank you E, I appreciate your encouragement! I didn’t think Palm Springs got so much rain? It’s a strange entity ~ water ~ ever so gently making it’s way into the cracks and broken seams of structures we thought were solid. Anger does the same thing to marriages. I was shocked by this recent storm, I’ve never seen it rain like that, it’s as if our collective California prayers had all been answered in one day. People, ease up on the rosaries! Hugs, C

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Our kids called to tell us about the storm. It sounded crazy. Interesting analogy with marriage. Palm Springs barely has any days of rain, but when we do get it, it can wash out roads and flood homes. Valentines Day 2019 the water seeped through our French doors and flooded the entire living room. The roof wasn’t doing much better.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Water is truly miraculous but extremely destructive! I would have freaked out if water were flooding into my living room! Let’s see, February 19th? We were on the cusp of the pandemic! When did you move to Arizona?

          Liked by 1 person

        2. We started a month before with a storage unit. I’d box things up like books and went every single day with a car load. Every day I’d go to our local charity thrift market. The hardest part was finding a new house in a hot market. We rented an Airbnb for a week and viewed at least 10 houses a day until we found one we both liked. Then back home to spend the remaining weeks packing. It was a ton of work.

          Liked by 2 people

        3. I can only imagine how much work that took to accomplish! But I have to say the images you have posted of your new home are fabulous, and the surrounding landscape is gorgeous! You landed well! C

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Cheryl, I got the best of chuckles by your statement “water, weather, and women are tenacious entities.” Yes, they are. But, we should be thankful for the latter. I am reminded of Cat Stevens/ Yusuf’ song “I’m looking for a hard headed woman.” If you listen to the words, said woman makes him better than he otherwise would be. I would call that tenacious. Sorry about the roof and its cost. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Overjoyed to have put a smile on your face Keith! I’m listening to your suggested Cat Steven’s song as I write, it’s perfect! I’ll play it for Larry tonight! Love the line, “if I meet a hard headed woman, the rest of my life will be blessed.” Amen, amen. Thanks so much for the comment my friend, warmly, C

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” – Amen!!! . . . and dancing in the rain when it’s pouring buckets ain’t easy 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Fred, thanks so much for the comment, love this, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” So applicable, even when it’s raining buckets! All my best, C

      Like

  5. Haha! You make a good case for not having a holiday home or lake house!
    We have three flat roofs. Garage/Shed/Kitchen extension. (Not our choice, done by the previous owner) A few years ago, we decided to have them re-roofed in sealed rubber, at considerable cost. But it was guaranteed for 25 years, and has never leaked.
    Trouble is, the company went bust two years after, so the guarantee is about as good as 4 sheets of toilet paper!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Pete, I see you are humored by my waterlogged lake house! It was a challenging weekend in many ways and I realized, like women, water is a substance not easily controlled! It was an unrelenting battle during the storm, but then the sun finally came out, the water dried up and the drips slowly disappeared. We’ll go back up in a few weeks, after everything has dried out, and apply a liberal amount of sealant to the problem areas. And I agree, the problem with “guaranteed for life” is only good for the viability of the company who offered the guarantee in the first place! And like you say, “worth about 4 sheets of toilet paper,” which actually has become quite valuable these days! Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. LA, you just may have zeroed in on the crux of the post LA, I should be living in a large stately mansion, with servants, corsets, and tea! Why am I running around catching the rain in large plastic buckets? That is not what I’m manifesting! Hugs, C

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Great writing as always neighbor. Wow. So much happens in your world to give you material to write about. Not exactly “Calamity Cheryl” but action-packed nonetheless.

    Finding meaning and making sense of our lives would be nice, but I’m a bit suspect as to that being our real purpose of going through it all. sigh. . .

    CT

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Chris, “not exactly calamity Cheryl” now that’s a great blog title! The thing is every time I sense of period of boredom about to descend on my life, something happens, and when I’m left to my own devices, I decide the “thing” must have an elusive purpose. I attach meaning to the “thing.” it’s a survival technique. I realize it’s not science, it really “calamity Cheryl,” trying to see the glass half full. If not randomly attaching meaning to life there would be nothing to write about and I would sit around all day in Yoga pants filing my nails. Hugs, C

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    1. I keep waiting for the slow down in life, I’m retired for goodness sake, but it refuses to happen. Or possibly it’s the way I walk through life constantly scanning for something to write about. And clearly I’m not picky! Love and hugs, C

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